Halloween: Costuming Beyond the Stage | New Jersey Theatre Alliance

Halloween: Costuming Beyond the Stage

  • The Dark Side of Oz (2014) We had a blast with this one. Walt as the Wicked Witch, I went as a Winky, and the kids were the flying monkeys. The kids also loved doing the makeup that year. Walt made the “Water Bucket” trick or treat pales. Photo by Chad Hunt.
  • The kids’ first Halloween! We went as the Flintstones: Pebbles (Izzie), BamBam (Xander) and Not photographed: Fred (Walt), Barney (me).
  • Wonderland. Izzie was Queen of Hearts (and she really seemed to capture the attitude!). Xander was supposed to go as the Mad Hatter. The costume was done and he loved it, until the day before when he decided that he was scared of the hat. That led to some VERY fast reworking, and we did the White Rabbit instead. Walt and I went as the Queen’s playing cards. It all made sense in the end, as Izzie, even at that age, ran the house.
  • The kids decided they wanted to go as spiders…but friendly, happy, cute spiders. That took some brainstorming.
  • Pinnochio. Xander as Pinocchio and Walt as Gepetto. Not Photographed: Izzie as the Blue Fairy and me as Jiminy Cricket
  • Costume Fitting for Flying Monkeys
  • Make-up application for monkeys!

We recently caught up with The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Director of Education, Brian Crowe who we learned has a passion for theatre beyond the stage -- creating Halloween costumes! Since childhood, Brian made Halloween costumes and has continued the tradition with his own family. Here's what he had to share about his passion:

"Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, as I think it is for many theatre folks.  It’s a great opportunity to try something new and let your creativity fly.  As a boy, I used to create costumes with my mom, and then later on my own.  It was a fun bonding experience.  She taught me to sew and always encouraged my creativity. When our kids (Xander and Izzie) were born in 2010, my husband Walt and I decided to carry on that tradition, by making it a family event each year.

Being in theatre requires your brain to always be running on full creativity mode.  My particular passion has always been mask making, though we’re not quite to that phase with the kids yet.  Though I’ve never officially worked in a costume shop, I have designed several of my own shows (usually more fantastical approaches), and I have been fortunate enough to have had so many wonderful artisans willing to give me guidance over the years.

It’s kind of embarrassing to say, but we usually start thinking about Halloween costumes in the early spring, sometimes earlier; throwing ideas around, seeing what the kids are interested in, exploring different techniques to create the costumes. Despite the early brainstorming, however, we never settle on costumes until late-September.  Especially with little ones, I try to avoid getting things rolling on costumes that they may change their minds about before the big day arrives.  From that point, I spend pretty much all of October working on the costumes –after getting home from work, weekends, any spare moment I can. I try to do as much of the costumes as possible by hand, changing up patterns when necessary or just creating new ones on my own.  Now that the kids are getting older, they have started helping out in some small ways. They like to be helpful, and I like seeing them trying their hand at new skills.  They really get into it.  I hope we have a few more years of the family-themed costumes.  We’ll hold onto it as long as we can."