Here, fishy, fishy!


This is a terrible picture, but it’s the only one we got last night. My poor mom has a little trouble with point and shoot cameras. And with phones, tv remotes, etc. — anything electronic with push buttons seems to be tricky for her. She thought she took several photos last night, but this is the only one that actually ended up on my camera, and the tail is all twisty in it.

In any case, my brother has a big Halloween bash every year, and it has quickly become the party of the year. People go to great lengths to create excellent costumes to fit the annual theme. This year, the theme was 80s movies. I went as Madison from Splash — one of the few red-orange mermaids in film and tv land. Most of them are blue or green. I wonder why? Here’s a look at the original.


I though my fabric choice for the tail did a good job mimicking this look. I used a cheap acetate satin in orange overlaid with a red glitter mesh, also very cheap, from JoAnn Fabrics. The satin was difficult to handle. It shredded along cut edges if you so much as breathed on it, and it refused to take a clean press. I sort of gave up on pressing the seams and ended up using topstitching on the waistband and leg openings to make the fabric lie properly. The pattern is Simplicity 4043, which is one of those costume patterns that’s been around forever. I made the same pattern for my niece about 7 or 8 years ago. It takes a little time, but it’s not difficult, and the results are good.

Darryl Hannah wore some bronzed, waterproof body makeup above the waist instead of an actual costume piece. I watched a little behind-the-scenes thingie on making her costume, and the makeup and fabric of the tail were specially designed to blend into each other. They used something heavy over her breasts to hide the nipples, and they glued her wig to the heavy rubbery stuff over her breasts. I settled for a flesh-colored shirt instead, and didn’t glue my blond wig to any part of my body.

The necklace turned out to be the hard part of the costume. Go figure. Here’s a glimpse of the original. It’s very hard to get a clean look at the necklace in the movie because her wig is always on top of it, but the basic idea is gaudy, with lots of shells and beads and a big gold medallion in the center.


I looked everywhere for a necklace that resembled this one, and ended up making a sort of frankennecklace with several pieces from the thrift store. The gold medallion on mine is actually a gold pin tied onto the necklace with gold cord. I used three different necklaces — one with shell coin beads, one with bronze and gold beads, and one with some gold fish dangling charms. I had to break them apart and piece them back together, and the end piece was so heavy that the joins and threads kept snapping. In the end, floral wire was the only thing that held it together safely, and then I used some gold cord to hide the wire.

All in all, it was a fun costume for a fun party. The tail took some work, but it was nowhere near as challenging as the necklace.

And now that the costume for this year is done and in the bag, it’s back to more everyday kinds of garment construction. 🙂

What will you be for Halloween this year?