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Behind the Scenes : Martha’s Spellbinding Sorceress Costume

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Every year the pressure is on to create a fresh look for Martha’s Halloween costume that graces the cover of the Halloween Handbook, which is currently available at your local newsstand. This year I started with a few concepts that were inspired by various themes. Together with Martha, we narrowed the ideas down to a glamorous “Spellbinding Sorceress.” This was not to be the usually purple sorceress in a cone-shaped hat and a wand. We wanted to push that idea to be more surprising and magical.

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I had some imagery from the couture shows that are held in Europe twice a year. These shows are a wealth of inspiration for Halloween costume creations. The makeup and hair are often over-the-top and theatrical. Check out the haute couture shows on websites such as style.com.

Stephanie Hung is our resident sewing queen. She and I worked together to create the shape of Martha’s golden tulle wrap. We wanted her to have a sense of air and movement around her, like a swirling, sparkling spell. Stephanie patiently cut and sewed each strip of  golden tulle onto another base of tulle. The technique is quite simple, but the result is lush and spectacular.

We felt strongly that the hair needed to be big and beautiful. We enlisted the help of Martha’s hairdresser, Anthony Sorensen, who worked with his team to create the enormous hairdo. It was constructed of real and fake hair in different pieces that were assembled into one wig.

Other pieces of the costume came from Martha’s own wardrobe. Look around your closet for pieces you can layer with others to create something new. A costume for Halloween does not need to be made completely from hand. Best to add some handmade details to what you may already have. For instance, I made Martha’s necklace out of glittered star ornaments and inexpensive acrylic crystals. Also look for fun costume jewelry in your local thrift shops.

Our final touch was the star motif tattoo placed on Martha’s forehead and neck. Small touches like this make the costume feel quite special. Have a look behind the scenes at our photo shoot and see how it all came together.

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The enormous wig was kept safe and sound on a head form.  Close by you can see the equally large bottle of hair spray ready for touch ups.

1 The enormous wig was kept safe and sound on a head form. Close by you can see the equally large bottle of hair spray ready for touch ups.

Here we see a few accessory options for Martha to wear with the costume.  I made the gold glittered star necklaces.  The gold glittered shoes were her own.

2 Here we see a few accessory options for Martha to wear with the costume. I made the gold glittered star necklaces. The gold glittered shoes were her own.

Martha was a great sport when having rhinestone eyebrows applied.  In order for the glue to dry properly she offered to lay on the floor!

3 Martha was a great sport when having rhinestone eyebrows applied. In order for the glue to dry properly she offered to lay on the floor!

This is a dress that Martha owns.  I remembered seeing a photo of her on the red carpet in this dress and asked her to bring it to the shoot.  It worked beautifully under her shimmery tulle cape.

4 This is a dress that Martha owns. I remembered seeing a photo of her on the red carpet in this dress and asked her to bring it to the shoot. It worked beautifully under her shimmery tulle cape.

It was really fun to see Martha get further into character with each piece of the costume that was applied.

5 It was really fun to see Martha get further into character with each piece of the costume that was applied.

A few more touch ups before Martha steps onto the set.

6 A few more touch ups before Martha steps onto the set.

In full costume, Martha enters the set and knows exactly what to do with her hands and facial expressions.

7 In full costume, Martha enters the set and knows exactly what to do with her hands and facial expressions.

Don't forget to check out our gallery of Martha's best costumes over the years. Which one's your favorite?

Comments (10)

  • I look forward to this every year, even if some of the featured items are things I've already saved from past issues :)
    Love this year's costume!

  • I have a feeling it didn't take her long to get into this character. Fabulous wig, though.

  • Great costume, but I do want to say how disappointed I was to learn that there isn't a Halloween issue with all new ideas for this Halloween. I have saved just every Halloween issue since the 90s and can easily see which costumes, crafts and decor ideas were recycled from past issues. I hope MSL goes back to producing a Halloween issue with new ideas next year. I am so disappointed and actually bought a BHG Halloween issue instead. Bah humbug!

  • Martha just keeps getting better and better. She is more beautiful as time passes. What a professional she is in every aspect of her endeavors. No one has the expertise in so many areas that she brings to her various businesses. You go girl!

  • Beautiful photograph - it's fun to see all the hard work and effort that goes into make such an effortless-looking photo.

  • That's amazing - I love her rhinestone eyebrows. Always wanted to do that! What kind of glue was used? Spirit gum? I have some and am worried about it ripping my eyebrows off!

  • Can you share how the tulle cape was made? It looks so luscious!

  • Crafter Comment:

    How sweet of you to say! Full instructions are in the Halloween Handbook, so be sure to leave a comment in today's post for your chance to win one. Good luck!

  • Rings

  • I love this costume. I have been looking for the gold glittered star ornaments and I can't seem to find any at my local craft stores. I have also searched online but not luck. Can you suggest specific craft stores that I may be able to find the stars at?

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