Apparel Students Create Insect Costumes to Celebrate Halloween

Kiana Roppe

Students within the apparel, merchandising and design major were given the opportunity to take a class about costuming this semester. The class focused on creating original insect costumes to be showcased at the Reiman Gardens Halloween tradition called “Spirits in the Gardens.”

The event catered to young children who were able to make crafts, play games like pumpkin bowling and go trick-or-treating through the gardens. The event itself took place on Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m.

To create all of the costumes needed for the event, the students in the class were divided into six teams. Each team was assigned an insect to create a costume. The possible insects included a praying mantis, a bee, a butterfly, a dragonfly, a grasshopper and a ladybug. The main guidelines for the costumes were that they had to be kid-friendly as well as functional so that the dancers who wore them would be able to move around and interact with the children.

Courtney Carson, senior in apparel, merchandising and design, and her teammates were assigned the task of making a grasshopper costume. Her team began by doing research to find images of a grasshopper and how it could be perceived as a personality. They decided to make the grasshopper have a dapper gentleman persona similar to that of Jiminy Cricket in Disney’s “Pinocchio.”

Once they had the concept, they began by sketching the design to include specific elements that are characteristic of a real grasshopper like hind legs and wings. Then they split up within the group to focus on certain areas of construction.

Each design and costume went through a series of reviews before the product was considered finished. Although students are apt at making ready-to-wear clothing, most had not had a lot of experience making costumes before the class.

“I had to switch gears a bit in order to learn how to think outside of the box and use unconventional materials in a whole new way,” Carson said.

The students had a tight budget, so they learned to use cheap materials like yardsticks and camping pads. They worked hard as a team to make each costume look and function as they had originally intended, and even though it was a daunting task at times, the students were able to finish all six insect costumes with accuracy.

Katelyn Hall, freshman in apparel, merchandising and design, is interested in taking classes to learn more about costuming so she could possibly pursue a career as a costume designer. She was able to attend “Spirits in the Gardens” this past weekend.

“I was amazed at the ingenuity of the designers, the way they used their materials to create costumes that moved with the dancers. The intricate detailing was astounding, and it was terrible to think that the costumes would only be shown for two nights,” Hall said.

This seminar class is offered yearly, but the theme changes every time. Even though this was the only time that the class has made clothes for Reiman Gardens, Carson recommends that students take a similar costuming course if the opportunity arises.