Halloween, Tokyo-Style

In our mad dash to get everything we needed before leaving for Japan, we scrambled to address “The Halloween Issue.”  We’d been told that Halloween in Japan is a big deal in recent years, but like everything else, costumes were very pricey, and so we should come prepared.  So that meant we had to discuss costumes back in early August.

Thankfully, The Cuties, are historically pretty good about remaining committed to their chosen costume, and well this year ~ they simply had no choice!

Big Cutie hemmed and hawed last year between two choices and did not choose the Twister board game outfit, and so this year that was fresh in her mind as her top option.  Only problem: in early August, there weren’t costumes in stores yet in the States.  Until the day before we were leaving the country when we passed by signs literally being put up in a window, screaming “Halloween Shop!”  We went up to what was obviously an unopened store front, still being unpacked, pled our case, exchanged some cash and left with both a Twister costume and one extremely happy Big Cutie.  We added in some big, colorful bangles and her first pair of clip on earrings and here she is ~
Just look at that grin.  I’m pretty sure those clip on earrings are the tip of an iceberg I’m not quite ready to waltz on down.  She is very excited about them.

Little Cutie gave me fair warning from the States that she wanted to be Jewel from the movie Rio, which of course was something we didn’t see ready made {If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s a little long but quite cute and extremely colorful!}.  So we grabbed a bunch of felt, and I came to Japan prepared to make it for her, following my costume-making manifesto I explained to you last year.

So we started with this particular image of Jewel ~
 I began by folding my large sheet of felt in half and cutting a semi-circle/cape shape with a slit up the back, and a hole for her neck.

I then freehand cut a ton of feathers.  For reference purposes, each of these stacks represents about one layer of feathers.  You truly can freehand these, even if you think you can’t.  There will be so many of them that they really don’t need to be perfect in any way.  You basically want two different sizes of feathers as the body of the blue macaw has larger feathers than she does as you get closer to the neck {I realize the ridiculousness of trying to be anatomically correct when I’m working off a cartoon character, but we have long established that I am not always playing with a full deck, so just work with me here}.

Then begin to attach your feathers, working from the bottom of the cape and moving towards the neck.  You could sew these on, but in my very humble opinion, that would take MUCH more work than a Halloween costume for a 7-year old merits, so I brought out my handy-dandy hot-melt glue gun as always.  In my experience working with felt, this will be more than stable enough to fold it up in a bag to bring to school for the Halloween parade, have a child put it on herself, party hard all afternoon, and then crumple it in a ball to bring home and still be in great condition to Trick or Treat later that day.  And that is really all I need a costume to do.

As you’re glueing the feathers on, leave a little space between the first ones and lay them in an overlapping “brick” pattern to cover all the space {as you do this, it will make perfect sense, I promise.}  A macaw/parrot’s feathers change colors, so you will need to do that as you attach them.

Next, I opened up the whole “cape” and tried it on her and realized there was way more fabric in back than she actually needed and so I trimmed some of it off.  This translated into fewer feathers to both cut and glue.  That, dear readers, to channel the Goddess Martha, is a very good thing.

So this is where I confess I reached the point I often do in costume construction where I hit the wall.  I called to Little Cutie to bring me my cell phone for the sole intention of calling my girlfriend to tell her that if I EVER started talking about making some insane homemade costume idea like this again to kidnap my glue gun and smack me silly.  Except Little Cutie walked into the room, saw this, gasped and in the sweetest little voice I rarely get to hear anymore said, “Oh Mommy, I LOVE my costume and I love it even more that you made it yourself.”  I swear to you she said that.  Seriously, that kid has my number.  I *think* heard her chuckling to herself as she walked away, rubbing her hands together a la Dr. Evil.  But I digress.  The pain from having your fingerprints burned off by a glue gun will make you ramble.  My apologies.

I attached two sets of ribbons to each side of the back of the cape so we could tie it on her, which also allows for different wardrobe options under it, depending on the weather that night.  And then because Jewel is named Jewel, I added a little bling around her neck by gluing some assorted rhinestones in blues and whites.

For a headpiece, I took a plain blue headband and attached a pink silk orchid and a few small felt feathers.  And then came the beak.  I have to say there were MANY ideas for a beak and many that were scrapped.  Mostly a dangerous combination of high prices in Tokyo and sheer laziness on my part.  So no hood, no hat, yada yada.  Those of you who are better seamstresses will know what to do to make a beak.  Here’s what I ended up doing.  Do I love it?  No.  But Little Cutie likes it, so I’m good with it, and well the Halloween Parade at school is Friday and it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m otherwise done, so I’m really good with it.

I sketched a side view of Jewel’s beak and cut two pieces of it out of felt.  I glued all but the “back” of it together {again, I know sewing it would have been better.  Do I get partial credit that I know that even if I didn’t do it that way?}.  I then stuffed it with batting.

Once it was nice and full of batting, I glued it onto another piece of black felt and then cut carefully around it to make a 3D beak.  Where the glued seams had hardened, I took my tiniest hole punch and made a small hole on each side and tied a piece of thin elastic from one end to the other so it could be slipped over Little Cutie’s head.  Little Cutie has tried it two ways – she likes it right over her nose {before anyone calls Child Protective Services on me ~ she can absolutely breathe, I promise}, although I prefer it up on her head.  I’m so happy to have the costume done she can wear it however she’d like.

We’re really looking forward to trick or treating in our neighborhood next week and experience all the sweet and kawaii {cute} that Tokyo has to offer!  If the displays in our apartment building are any indication of how the Japanese ‘do’ Halloween, we are in for a treat {which is always better than a trick, don’t you think?}!!!

Because I’ve been asked this question, I wanted to add that Little Cutie’s Jewel the Blue Macaw costume ran under $10 in supplies and I have plenty of leftover felt scraps {I’m notorious for over buying when having fabric cut on the bolt}.

DIY projects and crafts

Linked to:
Creative Jewish Mom, I Heart Naptime, C.R.A.F.T., Craftomaniac, Keeping it Simple, Making the World Cuter, Mad in Crafts, The Girl Creative, Dittle Dattle, Coastal Charm, Tip Junkie, Sew Stylish Boutique, Sugar Bee Crafts, Hope Studios, Bella Before and After, Not Just a Housewife, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Skip to My Lou, Today’s Creative Blog, Organize and Decorate Everything, The Thrifty Home, Sew Much Ado, My Backyard Eden, Blue Cricket Design, Beyond the Picket Fence, The Shabby Creek Cottage, Somewhat Simple, The Train to Crazy, House of Hepworths, Fireflies & Jellybeans, My Romantic Home, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, The Shabby Nest, Lovely Crafty Home, Joyful Stamper, Yesterday on Tuesday, Fingerprints on the Fridge, Not So Simple Housewife, Between U & Me, Tatertots & Jello, JDaniel4sMom, The CSI Project
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65 Responses to Halloween, Tokyo-Style

  1. great to see you on Craft Schooling Sunday, that cape is amazing! And so great to hear that you’re experiencing life in Japan, how exciting! Don’t forget to pick up some of those oh so coveted Japanese craft books and washi tape of course! all the best!

  2. Sara-Lynne says:

    Amazing Alisha! You outdid yourself – they are gorgeous!

  3. kirstyb76 says:

    Wow…that Jewel costume is AWESOME!! 🙂 You did a great job!

  4. feltsocute says:

    Thanks ~ much washi tape has been bought already and I was just thinking today that the Jewel costume could be worn with shorts & a tee shirt and brought back out for the Purim Carnival!

  5. J&Z's Mom says:

    Completely gorgeous costume. It really picks up the glam of Jewel. Little Cutie looks so happy. Great job, mom!

  6. Michelle (*~Sweetpeas~* on BBC) says:

    LOVE the cape! If it helps, I showed the pics to my 2 daughters (who both LOVE Rio) and in unison they exclaimed, “HEY, THAT’S JEWEL!”. I think your DIY is easily recognizable!! 🙂

  7. Love the felt cape, and your daughter for saying such a nice thing. Now you’ll want to do it again next year 🙂

  8. Jo-Anna says:

    Your Jewel costume is gorgeous!! Wow!

  9. The twister is super cute, and Jewel is gorgeous 🙂

  10. You did an amazing job! Love your costumes!

  11. Adorable costumes! Great job 🙂

  12. This is awesome! Love it!

  13. Sanghamitra says:

    Fabulous post! Great job. It is very creative.Thanks for sharing.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  14. Fuzzylolipop says:

    Simply amazing!! I absolutely love the costumes – bravo!! I hope there is a contest during these festivities because I see a winner!!

  15. amy says:

    okay, i’m not a big costume creator but these are awesome! and it’s my first visit but i’m loving what i see on your blog!!


  16. Charisa says:

    This is pretty amazing! I think I’d even like to have one! Great work!

  17. Love the bird costume, so cute!

  18. Love her face. You can tell she is super stoked about her costume! Felt is the bees knees. I think it’s my favorite material ever.

  19. Peggy says:

    That is probable the cutest Halloween costume I have ever seen!

  20. The feather cape is so amazing. Will definitly be remembering this one for the future with my girls. ~Kimberlee

  21. Brittany says:

    This is gorgeous! My little girl asked to be Jewel too but I didn’t know if I could pull it off so I talked her in to being a pirate. Now I kind of wish I hadn’t! I found you on Craft-O-Maniac. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Suzanne says:

    Absolutely georgous !!!! ….And hillarious to me as my daughter proclaimed last month that she would also like to be a character from Rio. Only she plans to be Linda (the human) dressed as Blu on the Carnival Float (seen here: http://kidstvmovies.about.com/od/Rio/ig/Rio-Movie-Photos/Carnaval.htm).

  23. Rose and Heather says:

    What an awosome Job! I would love it if you came and linked up at my blog link Party Crafty Lassie Tuseday http://sewstylishboutique.blogspot.com/

  24. Janny says:

    This is so fun! I still can’t believe that Twister Costume- how original!

  25. Alisha – I don’t know how you do it.

  26. feltsocute says:

    awwww — I’m blushing.

  27. This is simply amazing! great job!!!

  28. Samantha says:

    AMAZING Parrot costume. I’ve just finished work on a Hot Air Balloon costume. Now, THAT was fun!

  29. feltsocute says:

    Now THAT I’d love to see!!!

  30. Samantha says:

    Pictures will come your way 🙂

  31. A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E. You get craft mom of the year!

  32. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday – you were featured today!
    Mandy, http://www.SugarBeeCrafts.com

  33. mindie says:

    Wow impressive costume. I shared an easy no sew felt necklace. Your project is so much fun. I would love for you to share at my ongoing Fall linky, you can find it on my right side bar with a button link. I also have a weekly anything goes linky, fri-mon, come strut your stuff.

  34. Corinna says:

    Saw you on Shabby Creek Cotagge’s linky. This is absolutely SPECTACULAR! Wow!

  35. This is so awesome! I would love if you would share this at the Crazy Cute party happening right now! I’ve got an awesome giveaway this week, too! 😀


  36. Two great costumes! Twister is so original! Cute I’m hosting a Fabulous Fall party over at Not So Simple Housewife and I’d love for you to link this up! We are celebrating Fall and giving me and everybody else some great inspiration. We are looking for crafts, decor, food, and more! I’d love for you to add this and any other fall posts you may have!

    Kaitlin-The Not So SImple Housewife

  37. This costume has such vivid colors! Wonderful!

    I would love for you to link this to my Halloween Traditions Link Up!

  38. Samantha says:

    Great costume. My daughter loves that movie- you captured the ‘bird look’ beautifully. Visiting from the Not So Simple Housewife.

    🙂 crafty texas girls

  39. Valerie Sabo says:

    Thank you so much for the motivation. I just made my son a Blu costume using your costume as a guide! I decided to use an oversized t-shirt to save myself some time. The t was on sale, so the total cost w/ felt and clue was $7.49!!! He is going to wear it over a navy long-sleeve tee and pants he already has. Thank you SOOOOOOO much!

  40. Ann says:

    What an adorable costume… wish my kids were young enough (or out of their teens) to wear this. You did a great job!

  41. Julie says:

    I am making this on Tuesday! My 3 year old granddaughter keeps changing her mind…so far we have a cowgirl costume, and a Brittney (chipette) costume! Now she wants to be Jewel! Your daughter looks fabulosa as Jewel…a really pretty little bird!!! Thanks for the idea…this grandma is out the door Tuesday morning for felt, glue, and rhinestones!

  42. Andrea says:

    I featured you on Make It Wear It! Stop by and grab a featured button if you’d like!

  43. About how much felt would I need to buy for this in each color? I am a beginner at this…

  44. feltsocute says:

    This was felt off the bolt and was about a yard (generously) of the medium blue, half a yard of the dark blue and maybe three sheets of light blue craft size felt

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  47. Amy says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. My daughter wants to be Jewel for Halloween and there are no costumes out there–under $100 😦 I can totally make this. Thanks for being so clever and for sharing the idea!!!!!

  48. feltsocute says:

    YAY! Please post a picture of your Jewel!!!

  49. Kelli Kolder says:

    Thanks so much for this adorable costume idea! I never thought I’d be making a costume for my daughter, but you made it look so easy! I’m putting a little twist on it though, Baby J will only be 16 months by Halloween, she’s going to be a little baby blue bird! Thanks so much for the great idea! Hopefully I’ll get you some pics!!

  50. Alana says:

    My little cuties wanted to be Blu & Jewell for Halloween this year…no ready made costumes in my budget or as cute as yours! Thanks so much for posting this, I am almost finished with both costumes & will try to send you some pics!

  51. Molly says:

    Just used your pattern to make a goldfinch costume for my 5 year old – so cute! She is thrilled! Thanks for sharing.

  52. limegardens says:

    Copied your Jewel costume for my daughter to wear at our fall festival last night and got SOOOO many compliments. I NEVER would have thought of that on my own…thanks so much for sharing!

  53. Sarah debo says:

    How big was the piece of felt you used for the body?

  54. feltsocute says:

    In Japan, felt is only sold in meter widths. So the bodies are three meter pieces sewn side-by-side and then into a tube. If you are in the US, where felt on the bolt comes wider, it will be easier to play around with the proportions. They are a bit over a meter in length as that was the manageable size for us – you could do it shorter or longer depending on the person’s height.

  55. This is my first time go to see at here and i am truly impressed to read everthing at single

  56. Erin says:

    I have just completed the cape for my almost 2 1/2 year old, this is such a great costume idea, thank you for posting it. Thank you!

  57. Camille says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! My little cutie has just decided that she would like to be a “blue bird” for Halloween this year and I think this will be a fabulous one to try. I also love the NO SEWING aspect as I am a fan of the glue gun too ;o)

  58. How much fabric did you buy? I am going to make one for me and my little girl for halloween. She is 4. We are going to make the same design but yellow for Nico for my 7 year old. We are all going to be birds from Rio and we love your costume! Thanks

  59. Aly says:

    I know you don’t know me, but I just wanted to say a personal thank-you. Today is Halloween… Yesterday I was kinda bummed out because we didn’t get a costume for my 11 month old daughter, and then just kind of decided she’s too young to do anything so we weren’t going to dress her up. Then I came across your tutorial for the rio cape on Pinterest and just had to make it! She absolutely loves Rio!! It turned out awesome!!! So I just wanted to say thank-you!!!!!

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  61. cory says:

    HI! Im making this for my baby girl- in one photo it looks as though you did not make a complete circle…is this true? Did you cut out a portion on the back?

  62. feltsocute says:

    It would be a circle, but I cut straight down the back of it. The photo you are speaking of is just spread out so I could put the feathers on – When it was tied in back, it came completely back together.

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  64. Christina Bridges says:

    I love this. How many yards of felt did you have to use?

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