27.10.13

The Death Aquatic: a budget drowned sailor/sea zombie Halloween costume

Determined not to spend any money this Halloween I was hell-bent on making the most of a free "sailor" outfit I found. Since the party was on a boat on the River Thames I thought an aquatic zombie would be appropriate.

DIY Halloween costume: drowned aquatic sea zombie sailor with scary make up, fish scales and seaweed
Making the most of a free sailor dress on Halloween: drowned sailor zombie
Total cost? £4 for the white face paint which I'm using next weekend too! You see, at my student residence there is a freecycle shelf where students put unwanted goodies, and others can pick them up and use them. It encourages people to clear out junk, is a great way to recycle and is understandably one of my favourite things about where I live. In August when there were a lot of students moving out I found this generic "sexy sailor" outfit, and a scruffy black wig within a few days of each other. 

DIY Halloween costume: drowned aquatic sea zombie sailor with scary make up, fish scales and seaweed
It's all about the accessories
I love a creative challenge (especially on a budget) and am definitely not one to settle for a really typical off-the-rack costume, so I set out to put my own spin on the freebies. My plan was to be a drowned sailor zombie, more Hamlet's Ophelia, and The Ring's Samara Morgan than The Only Way Is Essex's Amy :)

DIY Halloween costume: drowned aquatic sea zombie sailor with scary make up, fish scales and seaweed made from a generic sexy costume
Off-the-shelf generic sailor dress as it was meant to be worn, and my DIY zombified version.
I tried to dye the sailor dress black while I was dying some other black clothes that were greying and in need of rejuvenation, but it did not work AT ALL. The dye did nothing to the fabric which, if I had read the dye instructions I would have seen, is because it's completely synthetic. So to distress it I went at it with some green-brown acrylic paint and unpicked a few seams and ripped it in places to look sea-worn:

DIY Halloween costume outfit: drowned aquatic sea zombie sailor with scary make up, fish scales and seaweed
Starting point: a free wig and sailor dress. To distress it I unpicked some seams, tore it and covered it in green and brown paint.
I accessorised with some nautical jewellery, and if I was willing to spend any money I would have hunted for some starfish, sea-horse or shell jewellery too:

DIY Halloween costume outfit: drowned aquatic sea zombie sailor with scary make up, fish scales and seaweed and nautical accessories
Sailor zombie accessories
My dream accessory for this outfit would have been this 19th century sterling silver chatelaine with an octopus holding treasures like a powder box, pin holder, perfume bottle, mirror and whistle, beautiful and practical!

The perfect accessory for my outfit: Gorham and Company Chatelaine, from the Missouri History Museum
I wanted some "seaweed" in my hair, so I made a leaf crown by weaving some twigs around an alice band, securing with green wire, and tucking in some reindeer moss (believe it or not, the green wire and moss are from the same freecycle shelf on a separate occasion!).

DIY Halloween costume outfit: drowned aquatic sea zombie sailor with scary make up, fish scales and seaweed crown
DIY "seaweed" crown with plants from the garden
I learnt from my mistakes last year with the awful white "foundation" I bought, and got hold of some white face paint instead. I don't know why it didn't occur to me before that there are people who paint there faces for a living and so there are some seriously good professional products out there. I spent some time hanging around online clown forums and discussion boards and read some pretty heated debates about the best white face paint, from people that have been "clowning" since they were 11. I learnt that proper clown "grease paint" is the way to go but the name put me off a bit and I went for a water based paint from Mehron. 

DIY Halloween costume outfit: drowned aquatic sea zombie sailor with scary make up, fish scales and seaweed
Zombie face:
L'oreal Chrome Intensity shadow  in green
Make Up Forever matte blue shadow
Rimmel liner in blue
Gosh liner in black
Collection cosmetics Glam Crystals liner in silver
Mehron Fantasy FX face paint in white
Over the white face paint I drew on fish scales from my hairline with a blue kohl eyeliner, and then filled-in the scales with a silver glitter eyeliner. As usual getting ready took longer than expected, and I had to scribble the scales on in a huge hurry and then ask my friend to take a photo at the event, which was less than ideal.  I used dark blue and green eye shadow to make my eye sockets look dark and used the same shadow with a large blusher brush to apply around my collar bones. I hunched my shoulders forward and brushed the powder where the natural hollows are. I was very proud of this aspect of the make up and spent most of the night hunching my shoulders forward while doing zombie face. I used a black liner around my eyes and false eyelashes and also made my brows black:

DIY Halloween costume outfit: drowned aquatic sea zombie sailor with scary make up, fish scales and seaweed
Fish scale make up
I've been saving a pair of tights that had a hole in them already to ladder up for this costume. I also wore a dark blue denim skirt under the sailor "dress" which is actually so short it's a top:

DIY Halloween costume outfit: drowned aquatic sea zombie sailor with scary make up, fish scales and seaweed
Working my collar-bone make up
I did spot another girl at the boat party with the same sailor dress which is not at all surprising (there must be thousands of these in England), but she styled it in the original way it was intended so we looked pretty different.

This weekend while I was dressing-up as a sea zombie in London, my dear friend Marike was walking along the beach in Gordon's Bay (near cape Town, South Africa) and she took a photo of a real sea zombie:


A real sea zombie: seal leftovers from a shark attack in Gordon's Bay, South Africa. 
Poor seal! What can I say, it's tough sharing the water with Great White Sharks! Should I feel bad for thinking that he would have made an excellent pet for my Halloween character?

I'm really glad not to have to throw away my outfit and I've given it back to the freecycle shelf where hopefully somebody else can use it this weekend for Halloween. I'm sure the original owner would be pleased to see how much wear their purchase got!

10 comments:

  1. This is excellent! You're so creative. :]
    ♡ Dulce

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  2. You are the BEST sailor zombie I have ever seen clever lady!!!! xxxx

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  3. Wow, what a lucky find! I love how you transformed it, and your make up is stunning!

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    1. Yes super lucky find, it's not as if everyone had the opportunity I did, but one should always keep an open mind. Thanks so much!

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  4. Oh my goodness I love this! You look so amazing, this is so creative and way better than the generic sexy-sailorgirl!

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    1. Anything is an improvement on sexysailorgirl, yawn! Thanks Harriet!

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  5. Oh my goodness, what a fabulous costume! I love it and you look so adorable. Yes, much better than the typical.

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  6. That was such a creative way to diy that costume! I didn't want to spend any money this year either so I just wore stuff from my closet. a little bit of diy, but not too much. I still wanted to wear the clothes after Halloween!

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