{A Homemade Halloween: Barbie and Ken}

NOTE: This is a repost from 2011. Partially because my busy schedule doesn’t allow for as much sewing time as I want and it was rough to come up with something to post for today, and partially because we’re about five weeks from my next Homemade Halloween post (costume top secret until then!). This is one of my proudest accomplishments. So I thought it would be fun to revisit the Halloween posts that probably got buried in the archives!

Every Halloween at work, we have a costume contest. The students are not allowed to dress up, for safety reasons, but the staff all gets dressed up to compete in a ‘Best Costume Competition.’ The winners have varied from entire groups from movies or t.v. shows, to singular creative character (such as my friend’s bed bug costume last year!).

This year, I set out to win the contest (I’ve never won). A discussion in which I suggested to my friend Steve that he just wear a tuxedo to work for Halloween turned into a discussion of what one could be whilst wearing this tuxedo. The idea of Ken came up and, because of my blonde hair, it was immediately suggested that I be Barbie. The key to this? They had to be in their boxes.

We nixed the Tuxedo Ken idea, and instead went with a luau/Hawaiian theme.

I had an awesome time figuring out how to rig these fabulous costumes, and I thought it worthy to outline here, step by step, what I did to create the complete look. (Note: Most of these pictures were taken with the horrible camera on my phone as I didn’t have my little camera handy at work.)

Step One: Get male friend to suggest being Barbie and Ken for Halloween, who also happens to own the clothing needed for said project (in this case, a Hawaiian shirt and shorts).

Step Two: Obtain boxes. I chose wardrobe boxes, which were tall enough to let us be IN the boxes, but also with some room to leave our legs free for walking. Find some pictures to use as a template/guide or get an actual Barbie doll to use for comparison purposes. You want this to look as authentic as possible.

 Step Three: Cut the front out of the boxes. I chose to do this with a diagonal on the bottom, to leave space for the Barbie logo on the bottom.

Step Four: Paint the boxes white. I suppose this step is optional, but you’d likely then need a few coats of paint later on to really cover them. Allow them to dry overnight.

Step Five: Paint the boxes pink. I suggest using a roller so that the paint is smooth and not laden with brushstrokes from a paintbrush. A friend of mine happened to have the exact shade of pink I needed, so I’m not sure what the color was called, exactly. I will simply call it “Barbie Doll Pink.”

Step Six: Download a Barbie font for a word processor, print out the names ‘Barbie’ and ‘Ken’ and whatever type of Barbie you’re going for (we were tropical Barbie & Ken). Cut them out so that they create stencils.

 Step Seven: Select your outfit. I wanted a one-shoulder Hawaiian dress. I happened to have the perfect fabric already, and I found the perfect pattern via an internet search. (Making your dress is not essential to this project; I just wanted to.)  Sadly these were the only two pictures I took – I always forget to take process pictures while I’m working.

Step Eight: Using your stencils and white paint, transfer the logos to the boxes. Embellish as desired.

Step Nine: Find a large poster to go on the inside of the box. The picture should be related to the “type” of Barbie you are. In this case, I found this sunset poster, which also inspired the names of the Barbie and Ken.

Step Ten: Paste/clue the poster to the inside of the box.

Step Eleven: Print and cut out a Mattel logo and paste it to the box.

Step Eleven: Measure your height while lying in or holding up the box. Mark the shoulder holes for the straps.  Also mark your waistband, as you need this to stabilize the box.

Step Twelve: Create a backpack-like structure. I used velcro and a pliable wire that could be twisted to look like the twist ties they use to hold Barbies in their boxes when you buy them (the wire was mostly for decorative purposes).  Then do the same to create a belt-like structure.

Step Thirteen: Turn yourself into Barbie. As my hair rarely holds a curl, I got started Sunday night on the wavy hair I had always intended for the costume. Armed with the hairdryer and hair products, I attempted to make it happen. In the morning I did the makeup, using a glam kit from Benefit.

Step Fourteen: Get all decked out and don your costume! (Optional: Make fake surfboard out of the leftovers from the box cut out.)

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