Handmade Halloween Get-Ups: ‘Duct Tape and Glue Sticks, the Holy Grail of Crafting’

Kim Nordin, her son, Stone Schul, and Stone’s friend, Monty Casperson, have applying gems and jewels to the wizard’s cloak Wednesday afternoon. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com
By Melinda Lavine, Duluth News Tribune

When Kim Nordin’s son was 2, she made him a Yoda costume — and he hated it.

“He wore it for about two seconds” probably because it was itchy and he wasn’t into hats, she said.

But the experience of making something original stuck, and today, Nordin and her son, Stone Schul, 7, brainstorm his Halloween get-ups together. From that, she’s made several costumes ranging from a garden gnome, a butterfly king and this year’s wizard outfit.

Monty Casperson, 7, laughs out loud as her friend Stone Schul, 7, raises his staff and pretends to be a powerful wizard. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com

Stone’s cloak is a regal, deep blue. On it are gray and blue felt stars and “1,000 bedazzle-ings,” Nordin said. The plastic gems are small and white, large, circular and they dot the sleeves, run along the collar and congregate in bunches near the shoulders.

“I went through 24 glue sticks on this whole thing, which is probably why it weighs so much,” she said.

The wizard hat has a crinkle in it — like a seasoned wizard’s hat should. It’s covered in gray felt, and it’s sturdy and won’t blow off in the wind. The brim was made from a piece of the robe’s belt — also bedazzled. For it, Nordin took an old wide-brimmed hat of her own, shaped felt around it and glued it.

Stone’s wizard staff came from Chester Park, near his school. It has bark-colored stripes made out of duct tape. (“Duct Tape and glue sticks are the holy grail of crafting,” Nordin said.) A tiny string of lights run down the length of the staff. Topping it is an orb with a shimmery scene (a painted snow globe case packed with Easter grass). It’s sturdy and taller than the wizard.

Kim Nordin fashioned her own raven costume for last year’s Halloween. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com

Landing on a costume was a process — Stone wanted to be “a million different things,” his mother said.

“Samurai, jaguar, an Egyptian, a hug,” Stone said from the couch in their East Hillside apartment.

“That’s a new one. How would we have bedazzled a hug?” asked Nordin.

“I wanted arms around my waist, remember?” Stone said.

Bedazzling is a big draw for Nordin.

“I like shiny things. And I pretty much only work with a glue gun and there’s no sewing involved.”

Pasting the many, many jewels took some time. Every night, Nordin would carve out a half hour, and during a recent sleepover for Stone, she clocked seven hours on the cloak.

“I was nervous, so I was just channeling all my energy into that, which was kind of a good project to have,” she said.

The hat and staff took about an hour each, and while the costume cost around $30, time and money are of no consequence. It’s a family practice that Stone gets to participate in, she said.

“He feels really proud, and it’s worth it.”

It’s also relaxing and mindful for her. “You don’t think of anything else when you’re working and having fun being creative. I love it.”

Stone’s costume inspirations were his recent introduction to “The Lord of the Rings,” and a tip from his friend Monty Casperson, 7.

“Monty loves Harry Potter,” Nordin said.

“Yeah, so I got the idea into his head,” said Monty, who is going to be a witch this year.

Kim Nordin applies another gem to a wizard’s costume she’s making for her son. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com

Nordin sidetracked a pillow fight between the two, as she held up her costume from last year: a black, feathery piece. “A raven,” Stone said.

Nordin and Stone take advantage of any opportunity to dress up. They’re at All Souls Night and the Smelt Parade every year. “We get all smelted up for that,” she said.

There’s a picture of Stone in a black turtleneck, gray smelt pasted onto it, turquoise jewels attached pasted down the leg of white pants with tiny silver stars.

Monty Casperson (left) and Stone Schul, both 7, work together to add new jewels to Stone’s wizard costume. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com

Nordin isn’t often on Pinterest, and as far as mistakes: “I’ve never actually started over. I usually just glue-gun something over it,” she said.

Her tips are always start with an item from Savers or a repurposed piece from the closet.

Keep at it, don’t give up, and: “Even when it doesn’t turn out the way you think it’s going to turn out, you can always do something to make it look awesome.”

Comments

comments