Floating Phantom

Floating Phantom Costume

Posted by Sophie BarrettPosted ago

I got the idea for this costume sometime in mid-July. I was at the beach, and I had brought my sketchpad because it was still too cold to be swimming, (although I did pick up some really cool shells to make jewelry out of,) and I was sitting there, doodling and sketching random things that I saw, whatever caught my interest, and there was this weird little dog there that day who was with a family and while I was sitting there she walked up about eight feet away and just sat straight down and stared at me. She had a really severe expression of which I thought was hilarious because she immediately reminded me of a Victorian schoolmarm. I doodled a quick picture and I was like “This is cool, I should do this for Halloween.”

The original design wound up evolving a lot and I decided to make the dress out of grey and white tulle with a white cotton lining, then I just stitched some cool LED lights onto it and layered a few handmade tulle tutus to give it volume. I also pulled a collared white shirt over the dress and bought a wig to style off Amazon.

The main focuses, however, were the makeup and the clear “stilts” that gave the costume it’s “wow” factor. I knew I wanted to do something with my blacklight makeup, but I wasn’t sure how to hold a blacklight without ruining the illusion, so I attached many tiny blacklight LEDs to the inside of a hand fan that I’d painted white. I used a big blacklight to paint a skull on my face over my ordinary ghost makeup, and since the paint is invisible unless, under blacklight, the skull flickered on and off my face whenever I flicked the fan.

The stilts probably took the most planning, as I had to figure out how to make them transparent AND able to hold my weight, AND safe enough for me to walk around in them all day. In the end, I built a mold out of clear stenciling plastic and filled it with a strong polyester resin over the course of a week. After that, it was easy to drill in a pair of white boots and the painted wood base.

The best part of the entire thing is that I met a childhood hero of mine, (Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach,) while I was out on Halloween and he liked my costume. Quite frankly that may have been the best thing to happen to me ever, even though when I first saw him, (due to having a blacklight in my face while it was super dark outside,) I told him his “Rocker Costume” was awesome and that he “looked like Mike Dirnt.” Which, after I realized my mistake and freaked out, he seemed to think was hilarious. All in all, it was a great Halloween.


Submitted by: Sophie Barrett

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