Ursula: A Halloween Costume Restrospective


I knew from the start that this costume would be a challenge–less of a challenge than I knew would be inherent in my first idea, the Borg Queen, but a challenge nonetheless. Missing eight days in the middle of the month was a much larger setback than anticipated, and in the feverish last-minute final construction, I swore more than I ever have in my entire life. Here’s what happened, and what went wrong:

I constructed the costume from pretty pretty pretty thin cheap fabric, which I intended to coat in liquid latex in order to give the whole thing a shiny, wet sea-creature look, and save an asston of money in the process by not buying the shiny-wet-look-10x-the-money-per-yard fabric in the first place. Until it was coated in the latex, I couldn’t sew the complex pieces together to get any idea of what the first fitting would be like. This turned out to be one of the biggest problems–when I finally got everything together, the top bit, by nature of the strapless costume design, had to be quite tight in order to keep from falling down and exposing myself to everyone. To this very moment, I would swear to you that I made it (with a pattern, no less!) to my measurements, but when I put it on, it was a goddamned tent. You can bet *that* was a moment for some expletives.

Liquid latex is blended with ammonia to keep it from solidifying in the container, so I took the first piece out onto my back porch in order to have plenty of fresh air to breathe; unfortunately, since I could only work on the costume in the evenings, it was too cool out for the latex to cure. With my rambunctious dog, my only other option for latex was to lay dropcloths in my room and shut the door behind me, lest he track latex everywhere or shake fur into the mixture. This meant that every time I painted latex onto cloth, my lungs were burning, and it STILL took hours to cure, much, much longer than anticipated, so I could only work on small sections of the costume at a time, and everything had to be picked up and moved so I could actually use the room to sleep in, thus the window of time I could actually work on the costume was quite small.


Until it was entirely coated in latex, I couldn’t buff anything out with the silicone compound, so everything was sticking to itself in a most horrific manner. This was a HUGE problem. Because I don’t have a dedicated project studio and the costume bits needed to be moved around to accomodate actually LIVING in my home, no matter how careful I was, pieces would crease or fold in on themselves and one of two things would happen: Either the latex would mar when I pulled it apart, or I absolutely could not pull it apart, no matter how much I tried. This was extremely frustrating because I wanted the whole thing to look very smooth, and as creased and bunched as it got, particularly around the tops of the tentacles, it made the waistline look rotten.

I had wanted to arrange the tentacle skirt in such a way that my legs appeared to be the front two tentacles, instead of being awkward legs in the middle of a bunch of tentacles. This idea involved the procurement of super-shiny leggings from American Apparel. As it turns out, the fine folks at American Apparel have decided people my size are too fat to wear their shiny leggings, and that my money is not as good as money spent by people a size slimmer. So here’s a great big fuck you to American Apparel! For a moment, I thought I’d try it with black pantyhose, but the tentacles were cut very high in anticipation of full-coverage leggings, and had I worn pantyhose, there would currently be pictures of my junk on the internet. I know my friends love me, but probably not enough to have to look at my barely-covered ass. So again, at the very last minute, I had to change things up and I wore black pants underneath my skirt.

The tentacles were a nightmare. I’d sewn rebar tie wire to the backside, but sewing was not enough to keep the wire in place, so I had to glue the wire on with more liquid latex, which added multiple days of work that I could ill-afford. Once the topside was entirely coated in latex, then I sewed on the shiny purple undersides, and when I went to stuff the tentacles, I learned why I shouldn’t have skimped on fabric–a good portion of the seams popped immediately, and the purple fabric developed runs all over. !*^&#$ As an additional frustration, once I’d stuffed the tentacles tightly enough for the latex tops to be smooth, they were too heavy and full to be bendable, so all of the time I’d spent on wire-work was wasted.


Once everything was coated in latex, my sewing machine refused to work on it any more. It wouldn’t feed anything through, so the majority of everything at the end was sewn with a giant needle and cursing that would make a sailor blush.

I determined early that I would not be able to color my skin purple without an assistant and an airbrush, so that was right out. I determined much too late (after I’d already ratted and styled my hair) that the white spray does NOT make my dark hair look white, but instead makes it look old and grey. This was, of course, also after I had spent a loooooong time doing elaborate eye makeup, so I ended up having to do a really awkward wash-out hunched under the bathtub faucet. (Of course I had to do elaborate eye makeup–Ursula’s character was based on Glenn Milstead, better known as Divine, whom I ADORE.) Pictures don’t even begin to capture it, but it was a dark, dark base and crease with reflective teal glitter pressed into the center of the lid, so it looked like flashing fish-scales when I blinked.


The trident I made by melting and shaping a plastic pitchfork over a candle to give it the proper shape and then spraypainting it gold. It’s all right as far as a prop goes, but it’s nowhere near on the level of my Wonka cane, which I was particularly proud of last year.

Here’s the thing, though: For all of the problems, people REALLY responded to this costume. Everyone who saw it recognized it, even with the fundamental changes I’d had to make in terms of skin and hair color. More people recognized this costume than recognized Willy Wonka, which I felt was FAR more screen-accurate. I hesitate to call this costume a very successful one, but I would say that I learned more in constructing this one than I have in any previous costuming attempt, which is always the goal.

Other things I learned:

*Having a skirt made of giant, floor length, thick tentacles makes it awfully difficult to sit down.

*Having a skirt made of giant, floor length, thick tentacles makes it an adventure to drive, with half of them shoved back between the driver & passenger seats, and half of them stacked up and crammed into the narrow gap between the driver’s seat and the door frame; it’s like being hugged to death by tentacles.

*When making a costume in which it’s difficult to get into and out of the car, it’s really much smarter to buy gas EARLIER in the day instead of struggling with it in front of people.

*If you’re wearing a skirt made of giant, floor length, thick tentacles, expect people to treat you like you’re wearing a skirt full of penises and act accordingly.

356_34465593939_4157_n I’m not sure what this picture says about Captain Hammer.

*Four am karaoke is really the best way to end any Halloween party.


What were YOU for Halloween? I DEMAND PICTURES.

65 Comments Ursula: A Halloween Costume Restrospective

  1. scearley November 6, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    That’s a-freakin-mazing. Especially with the latex.

    ….expect people to treat you like you’re wearing a skirt full of penises….

    Next year’s costume: PLANNED

    Oh, and American Apparrel? Run by a guy who gets sued for sexual harrassment every week. Almost literally.

    1. admin November 6, 2008 at 11:48 pm


      I’m not surprised about the American Apparel dude. All their ads creep me out in a way I can’t really explain. I think it’s because all of the girls look like the photographer is paying them directly in crack rocks.

      1. scearley November 7, 2008 at 1:24 am

        Not only was the costume awesome but you look A+ HOT

        1. admin November 7, 2008 at 1:41 am

          Awkwardness be damned, I’m wearing that costume everywhere. πŸ˜€

      2. fete_pindon November 10, 2008 at 4:34 pm

        i have had major dramas with AA over the screen printing years. their sizes are ridiculously small compared to european manufacturers.

        ergo, we are fat. you are not.

        1. admin November 10, 2008 at 11:51 pm

          I’ve got no problem copping to my size, I’m certainly not slender. I just take issue that their cut-off point is size 12. I mean, c’mon now, really? The average US woman is a 12/14 and they’d rather not sell to that market?

  2. pretzelcoatl November 6, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    I still think it’s awesome that two of my LJ friends decided to dress up as one of the coolest Disney villains. It turned out awesomely.

    (And I love the Aang costume by your friend.)

    I was traveling and didn’t have any holiday plans, so I didn’t dress as anything. πŸ™

    1. admin November 6, 2008 at 11:54 pm

      Any pictures up of your other LJ friend’s Ursula? I’d love to see it. πŸ™‚

      Aang and Toph won this year’s costume contest at casa de !

        1. admin November 7, 2008 at 1:13 am

          Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun! <3

  3. variax November 6, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    “What were YOU for Halloween? I DEMAND PICTURES.”
    Asleep. I don’t know that a mere picture could do justice to my somnolescence; not only is it too dark for photography, but the full experience has an auditory component that is not to be missed.

    1. kindofstrange November 6, 2008 at 11:55 pm

      Not just asleep.

      Asleep in a delicious Fallout III coma!

    2. admin November 6, 2008 at 11:55 pm

      If you had video of yourself sleeping, that might indicate that you’ve got yourself a stalker. πŸ˜€

  4. shadowstitch November 7, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Well I think it turned out quite well, and even if it’s not EXACTLY what you wanted, I find I always learn more from my mistakes than I do from my successes.

    …and I make a LOT of mistakes.

    1. admin November 7, 2008 at 1:20 am

      It’s like GI Joe–knowing is half the battle, for next time. πŸ™‚

  5. mschilepepper November 7, 2008 at 1:18 am

    I think you mean “Captain Hummer”.

    I didn’t do jack for Halloween, I just stayed home and handed out candy to the few ToTers who came. Was also helping my folks get ready to leave the next morning for MN.

    I completely forgot I have a perfectly good toga I could’ve worn. Dammit!

    1. admin November 7, 2008 at 1:21 am


      We only got a couple of trick or treaters, who showed up while I was makeuping in my bathrobe. I think I may have accidentally flashed one of them and become That Neighbor.

  6. agentdanak November 7, 2008 at 2:17 am

    as always, there are no photographs of me (that i know of), but you got to see my crazy costume in person.

    and, of course, i wore something else entirely on halloween (as, um, i was at work, with creepy little childrens).

    1. admin November 7, 2008 at 4:25 pm

      I loved your costume, particularly the glowy hair bits. πŸ™‚

      What did you wear to work? My office doesn’t celebrate.

      1. agentdanak November 7, 2008 at 5:38 pm

        jeans, and a shirt with a purple corset top.

        blue/white in my hair and really super pale makeup. and that glowing hair thing.

        pretty much just dead/frozen, no real costume πŸ˜›

        1. admin November 7, 2008 at 6:03 pm

          If you ever decide to do frozen again, Josh’s frozen makeup tutorial is one of the best I’ve seen. πŸ™‚

          1. agentdanak November 8, 2008 at 5:14 am

            i will watch this as soon as i am able. i had tons of frost white eye shimmer that i put all over, with purple and blue high/lowlights. and a little bit of glitter.

          2. admin November 8, 2008 at 9:18 pm

            I think his most inspired bit was stippling on little clumps of sugar onto his face for snow. Loooooove. I was actually considering trying this look for your party!

          3. admin November 24, 2008 at 6:55 pm


            But ha, those guys are trying to sell a 3 year old car for more than sticker on a brand new car–good luck.

          4. agentdanak November 24, 2008 at 8:36 pm

            oh that’s ass. i didn’t bother to read the ad myself; someone posted it on a work email list. bah them.

          5. storm_dancer November 8, 2008 at 3:38 pm

            HEY I watched that guy’s Maleficent tutorial!! I didn’t end up using it because I needed it to be more costumey, but it was a really well done tutorial!

          6. admin November 8, 2008 at 9:16 pm

            I love that guy so much–I happened upon him when I was searching youtube for Ursula clips because I really didn’t have a huge desire to pop in my little mermaid VHS tape and get ‘Under the Sea’ stuck in my head for another whole week. All of his makeup tutorials are amazing, and they’re really inspiring me to be more ‘out there’ with makeup regularly.

  7. storm_dancer November 7, 2008 at 2:31 am

    You looked gorgeous and did a fantastic job. Clearly you were simply young Ursula.

    1. admin November 7, 2008 at 4:25 pm

      aww, thanks! <3 Did I tell you how much I loved your costume? Because I LOVED YOUR COSTUME.

      1. storm_dancer November 8, 2008 at 3:36 pm

        THANK YOU. I wish we had been at the same party, my girl Mallary was Cruella DeVille.

        1. admin November 8, 2008 at 9:19 pm

          Afterward, we could have had a hot Disney villainess mud-wrestling party! <3

  8. smacksaw November 7, 2008 at 4:04 am


    I guess it sorta looks like Ursula Andress…LOLWTFBBQ?

    I seriously hope there’s no permanent dain brammage from the latex-a-makin’

    1. admin November 7, 2008 at 4:29 pm

      Re: Nice!

      Haha I couldn’t ever pull off Ursula Andress!

      I didn’t, you know, feel my brain getting damaged but now I have a scapegoat. I was in and out of the room pretty quickly, as I’m pretty fond of my brain AND my lungs.

  9. anerda November 7, 2008 at 4:43 am

    Ahoy there! I’m a friend of ‘s and I love your costume. Let’s be friends.

    1. admin November 7, 2008 at 4:33 pm

      Ahoy! Friended. πŸ™‚

  10. kindofstrange November 6, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    Closest I got this year. I spent most of my costuming efforts on Burning Man, it seems.

    1. admin November 6, 2008 at 11:58 pm

      I think the way you modded that gun is *really* awesome.

    1. admin November 7, 2008 at 12:20 am

      I think the way that album is set up, it doesn’t allow hotlinking.

      You, miss, are ONE HOT PIRATE.

  11. fete_pindon November 7, 2008 at 10:59 am

    you fucking ROCK.

    *not worthy*

    1. admin November 7, 2008 at 4:35 pm


      I still owe you a t-shirt and a cthulhu candle–do you want me to wait to send them until you’re settled in Oz so it’s two less things to move? πŸ™‚

      1. fete_pindon November 10, 2008 at 11:03 am

        cool! that would be a good idea, yes. i shall furnish you with details via PM when we arrive next year.


  12. watchout5 November 7, 2008 at 3:02 am

    A pirate, I’m way too stoned to find pictures right now

    1. admin November 7, 2008 at 4:26 pm

      Did you end up going with the hat or hatless?

      1. watchout5 November 7, 2008 at 4:47 pm

        hatless just the red and black tie looking thing. I was made fun of by other pirates because I smelled good

        1. admin November 7, 2008 at 6:04 pm


  13. dslartoo November 7, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    The picture says Captain Hammer is a dick. But then, we knew that from watching the Blog.

    I still need to upload the pics I took from downtown Austin on Halloween evening. Utter insanity. The best shot I took has nothing to do with Halloween, though, and everything to do with Austin’s coolness: a business downtown named, I shit you not, “Smith’s Death Metal Pizza”. (Not Smith’s, but I can’t remember the actual name at this instant). That’s right: you go in, pay your money, and listen to death metal while they make your pizza. Then you sit there listening to more death metal while you eat your pizza.

    …….what a great city. πŸ™‚

    Also your Ursula costume RULES.


    1. admin November 7, 2008 at 4:36 pm

      The Hammer is Nicole’s fake penis.

      I wholeheartedly approve of Death Metal Pizza and I wish more places were heavily themed! So you’re all moved now, then?

      1. dslartoo November 7, 2008 at 4:53 pm

        Physically moved in, yes. RELOCATED, not quite yet. Still working on all the official legal stuff. Got my car inspection, Texas plates and vehicle registration / title over the past couple days; going to get my rep Social Security card today (it got lost in the move); with an actual SS card I can get my Texas driver’s license. Once I have all that stuff, I’ll feel more Texas-y.

        Does it feel like home? Well, Austin doesn’t feel like home yet, but definitely feels like home. And that’s enough for me. πŸ™‚ Austin will, in a while.


        1. admin November 7, 2008 at 6:05 pm

          Dude, I’m stoked for you! Also, it might be worth re-applying to Bioware now that you’re within striking distance. πŸ™‚

          1. dslartoo November 7, 2008 at 6:08 pm

            I plan to, after reworking my module. I’m concerned it may not have been interesting enough, and it WAS a bit rushed as I was concerned I had to get it in within a week. (Shows how wrong I was).


    1. admin November 7, 2008 at 6:30 pm

      Re: …


  14. designess November 7, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    I was moving in for halloween. πŸ™ No fun.

    You look so pretty in that makeup though! πŸ˜€

    1. admin November 8, 2008 at 4:16 am

      Thank you! I’m considering contacts so I can bust out the fake lashes more often. πŸ˜€

  15. suspiciouskay November 8, 2008 at 1:08 am

    Once again, you have made a costume out of awesome.

    1. admin November 8, 2008 at 4:18 am

      Awww, thank you! <3

  16. aquariumspast November 8, 2008 at 11:57 am

    This was like reading about the making of a movie … you truly sacrifice for your craft…

    1. admin November 8, 2008 at 9:21 pm

      The hope is to one day be good enough at costume construction to actually be able to get work in movies. πŸ™‚

  17. iamthedarkangel November 10, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    My halloween costume:

    That’s me in the server room. The hardest part was getting the hair white. The upside was I got to scream “GO F*CK A GOAT!” to everyone at work. I think it was an accurate portrayal, don’t you? πŸ™‚

    1. admin November 10, 2008 at 11:50 pm

      That’s not you, you liar!

      1. iamthedarkangel November 11, 2008 at 2:20 am

        Maybe not but I still got to yell “GO F*CK A GOAT!” at people. πŸ™‚

  18. kusskontrolle November 22, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    You have a beautiful face!
    I’m not a perv trying to ‘hit you up’ in case ure wondering.

    1. admin November 23, 2008 at 12:46 am

      Thank you!

Comments are closed.