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Costumes, Naturally: Creative holiday getups for nature lovers

Using materials I had at home, I skipped the costume shop last Halloween and floated through the holiday as a jellyfish. There’s no shortage of spirit and creativity among natural resources staffers this time of year, either. Below I’ll share how I made my outfit from scratch, and show you what some colleagues came up with as well!

Photo of: Jellyfish costume

Jellyfish costume; department photo

What I used
Bubble wrap, clear tape, foam board, hot glue and glue gun, white cowboy hat, iridescent and metallic tissue paper, sheer white fabric, two thin wire battery-operated LED lights, variety of ribbon, white duct tape and white grocery bags.

What  I  did
I started by creating the top of the jellyfish. I took the foam board and cut out a circle with a 20-inch diameter. I carefully cut a hole in the center for the top of the hat to fit through, making sure to cut it to the size of the center of the hat for a snug fit. Then I applied hot glue around the top of the rim and glued the foam board circle onto the hat.

Next, I poked two holes on the underside of the hat: one on each side near where my ears would be in order to thread through the lights. Then I glued the battery case underneath the hat, making sure the tops were left exposed so the batteries could be accessed. I didn’t place the lights until the top of the jellyfish was built up, so for the time being, I just left them hanging off to the side.

Photo of: Jellyfish costume with lights on

Jellyfish costume lit up; department photo

At this point, I saw I needed to make the hat look like the puffy top of a jellyfish. I took some white grocery bags and placed them on top of the hat. Once I achieved the shape and height I wanted, I attached a variety of tissue paper with clear tape.

Time for the lights. I laid out the strings in no particular pattern; just spreading them out evenly over the top of the tissue paper and attaching them with clear tape. I then covered the entire top of the hat with large bubble wrap, bringing it over the edge and attaching it underneath with hot glue. Then for the very top, I used an old, white sheer curtain to cover the entire thing, leaving enough fabric underneath to glue to the hat.

Last were the tentacles. First I cut the ribbons in varied lengths, but at least long enough to reach my knees. I attached the ribbons underneath the hat with hot glue and tape. I alternated ribbons, so that the jellyfish would have a unique look. Then to blend in with the costume, I dressed all in white. 

Pollinator Pack, The Old Man and the Sea, and Shark Tornado; department photos

Article by Karin Dodge—webmaster.
Appears in Vol. 20, No. 4 of the Maryland Natural Resource magazine, fall 2017.

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