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How to Make Star Wars Costumes for Halloween
By Michael Dance
"It was a civilized weapon for a more civilized age. Oh, by the way, did I ever tell you about the time I saw Carrie Fisher at Six Flags? No kidding. She smiled at me."
© Joe Crosby
OverviewIf you want to make a Star Wars Halloween costume, you certainly have a lot of source material to work with, and therefore plenty of options. A black hooded robe? You're a Sith lord. Have lots of makeup? With a little time and patience you could be Queen Amidala. Old ski equipment? A few tweaks and you're a member of the Rebellion stationed on Hoth. If you have a little time and a little money, the possibilities are limitless.
Step 1Make a Jedi costume by buying six to eight yards of fabric in solid earth-tone colors. Use pictures or movie stills as your guide. Most Jedi outfits consist of three layers. The base layer is a light tunic with solid-color pants; you could even use a simple white T-shirt. Over it are two darker pieces of fabric. Drape each piece over one shoulder, then cross them at waist level in the front and back and hold in place with a belt (and, optionally, safety pins).
For Padawan learners, you can stop there, but real Jedi will also need a large, brown hooded robe with sleeves that fan out toward the wrist. If you have a sewing machine, you can make your own by cutting pieces of fabric for the body, the two sleeves and the hood, then sewing it all together. For Sith, these same instructions apply, the only difference being to add more black.
Step 2Make a Rebel costume using a combination of solid-color pants, boots, vests, helmets, holsters and goggles. For an Endor look, you'll need to find camouflage or army green. For Hoth, you'll need outdated ski outfits. For X-Wing pilots, you'll need large goggles and a lot of baggy orange clothing underneath dark gloves and a men's white sleeveless shirt.
Step 3Make a Leia costume easily by buying a whole lot of white fabric and wrapping it around yourself. Then, all you need are plain white shoes and the infamous hair buns. If your hair's long enough, you can part it straight down the middle, roll each side up tightly, and fasten the buns with as many pins as you can find. If you'd rather go with Amidala, you'll need a lot of makeup: a white base to cover your entire face, dark lipstick and some red face paint. For clothing, drape yourself in fabric of royal colors: blue, purple, or red with gold trim.
Step 4Accessorize with whatever's right for your character. If you need a specific mask, try the Nightmare Factory's Star Wars department (see Resources below). For rebels, you'll need a gun holster (preferably a belt/holster combo) and a blaster. The former can be found in surplus stores or online (Amazon has a neat shoulder holster for $17); for blasters, you can buy a "Build your Own Blaster" kit from the official Star Wars Shop for $50 or a Clone Trooper Blaster for $11, or you can use any toy gun.
Jedi will obviously need a lightsaber. At the official Star Wars Shop, basic lightsabers go for $10 to $13. The special Jedi/Sith Duel Lightsaber is $48 and comes with a smaller lightsaber hidden inside, so it's perfect if you and your child are dressing up together. But if money isn't an issue, the high-end "official replica" lightsabers go for $100 to $120 and "are no toys, but rather elegant reminders of a galaxy far, far away."
The hardest costume to accessorize is probably the X-Wing pilot. You'll need a series of small tubing, a large helmet that covers your ears, and a small rectangular communications device that hangs on top of your white tank top. A small table-top cassette player (not a stereo) approximates the look surprisingly closely.