Introduction: Headless Horsewoman

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Watch out to all of the Ichabods out there, the headless horsewoman is back!

In this instructable you will learn how to turn a papier mache pumpkin into a fearsome costume head and how to turn a dress into a wicked cape.

Step 1: Supplies

Pumpkin Head Supplies:
A papier mache pumpkin:
a design
round piece of cardboard/thick paper
small nail
washer/smashed bottle cap (optional)
black mesh (screen material, old tights, anything black and see-through!)

Cloak Supplies:
Black dress/coat
6-8 sponges
~2 yards red material (optional)
sturdy black string

cutting device (Dremmel, sharp knife)
glue gun +spare glue sticks
sewing machine/needle and thread

note: You could just use black material for the cloak, or buy a cloak from a costume store, but equally nice material is expensive and costumes from stores are usually either expensive or cheap-looking.

Step 2: Design and Cut

Once you decide on the perfect face, sketch it on to your pumpkin with a highlighter. I use a highlighter because you can see it, but it wipes off easily when applied to glossy paint.

Carefully carve your pumpkin with your cutting tool. For my carving I used the drywall cutting bit on a Dremel with the multipurpose cutting attachment to help keep it straight. If you don't own a Dremel you can use a sharp knife to start the cut and then finish it with a pair of sturdy scissors.

Step 3: Insert Screen

1. Cut your mesh material so that there is enough to cover the face of the pumpkin.

2. Insert the mesh into the pumpkin and carefully line it up so that none of the holes are exposed.

3. Use the hot glue gun to affix the mesh to the interior of the pumpkin starting in the center (nose area) of the pumpkin face.

note: I glued around the nose and one eye, then trimmed the mesh around the parts I had already glued in order to glue the next piece flat. I continued this way until mesh had been glued over each opening and the remaining pieces of unused mesh were cut away.

Step 4: Attach Stem

1. For the stem you will want a nice-looking stick, about 1/2 inch in diameter by about 1-2 inches long. Trimmings from around the yard should work just fine.

2. First you will need to cut a circular piece of cardboard or other sturdy paper material so that it will fit on the underside of your top. Then glue the cardboard to the underside of the top. I used hot-glue because it is sturdy, but everyone has their glue preferences!

3. Next, I stuck a small nail through cardboard from the center of top side of the pumpkin  where the stem should be placed. Pull the nail back out, flip the pumpkin over and center and glue the washer in the middle before sticking the nail back through from the underside. Line up your stem so the nail is going through the middle. You may be able to push the stem on to the nail by hand or you may have to give it a slight tap with a hammer; either way you should add some hot glue underneath the stem before you push it down to fortify it.

note: The washer is probably overkill, but I am rough on things and hate it when they fall apart, so the washer will provide added protection that your stem won't fall off. You could use a smashed bottle cap as well (I didn't think of that until after I bought the washers).

Step 5: Head Fitting

In order to get such a large pumpkin to stay put on my pointy head, I needed some kind of head fitting. I'm sure there are many ways to do this, but the cheapest and fastest way for me to make one was to make it out of cardboard.

1. First you need to cut a 1-2 inch strip of cardboard that will go around your head.
2. Decide how loose or tight it should be by stretching it around your head and hot-gluing it at the appropriate spot.
3. Figure out how you want the pumpkin to sit on your head and hot-glue the crown into your pumpkin.

note: In the picture below you see me hot-gluing the crown so that the pumpkin will be centered directly over my head. This did not work. I found out that I needed the pumpkin to rest much farther forward, so I had to rip the crown out and re-glue it farther back in the pumpkin behind the stem.

Step 6: Prepare Cloak

You should be able to at least squeeze the dress you are transforming into a cloak over your shoulders, otherwise it may turn out too small. Mine was a tight fit, but still turned out okay.

1. Take the dress and cut it open up the front middle of the dress.
2. Sew the raw (just cut) edges under to make it so they won't unravel.
3. Turn the dress inside out and sew the sleeves from each armpit to the outer edge of the corresponding shoulder.
4. Turn the dress right-side-out and try it on over your shoulders. If it puckers weird, or you just don't like how it looks, take a seam-ripper to it and try again.
5. Once you are satisfied with the shoulders, turn the dress inside-out again and cut the remaining sleeves off making sure to cut in a straight line.

Step 7: Assemble Collar

1. The sleeves should already be inside-out. Put the small ends of the sleeves together; pin and sew around the edges. DO NOT sew directly down the middle. You should still be able to stick your arm through the sleeves once they are sewn together.

2. Line up your sponges so that they match up with your collar. Try stuffing the collar with the sponges to see how they will look inside.

3. Cut the sponges to better match the shape of your collar and set them aside.

Step 8: Attach Collar

1. Center and pin the straighter edge of the collar to the neckline of the cloak so that the collar overlaps the cloak about 1/4 inch.

2. Carefully sew along the pin line making sure there are no gaps and the collar is completely attached to the cloak.

3. Stuff the collar with the sponges in the same order as previously determined.

4. Fold the open ends of the collar in, pin and sew shut.

Your cloak is just about wearable!

Step 9: Red Lining (opt)

1. Make sure your red material is big enough to cover the entire area that you desire to cover inside your cloak. Account for ruffles if the dress is bunched at the waistline.

2. Lay the cloak out over the red material and determine how much you will need. If the cloak has ruffles, cut the material in a square so that you can imitate the cloak ruffles with the red liner. (See photo).

note: Use caution when cutting and cut a few inches more than you think you need. I didn't cut my red liner wide enough and had to sew an extra strip on!

3. Pin the red liner with the right side facing you to the bottom edge of the inside of the cloak making sure it is centered and that all of the raw edges are tucked under.

4. Sew the bottom edge then repeat steps 3 and 4 for the other two side edges of the cloak.

5. If your dress is not ruffled you can repeat steps 3 and 4 for the top as well. If it is ruffled you need to ruffle the top edge of the red liner to more or less match the original ruffle of the dress. To do this find the middle of the cloak and the red liner and pin them together. Keep dividing the sections into smaller and smaller sections until the pins are about 1-2 inches apart.

6. Carefully sew the pinned sections of the red liner to the cloak making sure the folds are held flat and that you are not allowing gaps to form.

Step 10: Attach Cord

Depending on your materials/desires, you use all kinds of methods to attach the two sides of the collars:

-a small belt mechanism you've taken from disassembled purses
-a fancy button and leather loop
-two black strings (the boring method I chose 'cause it's the easiest!)

I just took a sturdy piece of black string, cut it in two and sewed the end of it the left and right parts of the cloak where the collar and main part of the cloak meet (illustrated by the tiny yellow spots in the photo).

Step 11: Extras

To complete the headless horsewoman outfit I will wear black leggings, a black turtleneck, black gloves and black boots. You could get fancy with some old-timey clothes like shirts with front ruffles if you can find them.

You can use the mask scraps to create a bloody door decoration like the one illustrated in the photo. The lettering on the board was done with artist coal. I used a tablespoon of the papier mache mix (flour and water) with a few drops of red food coloring for the blood splattering. I don't know yet if the red will wash all the way off the door, so a word of caution on that.

You may want to make a hatchet to go along with the costume. The one in the photo is real, but I would NOT carry a real hatchet around the town. You could use paper towel and toilet paper rolls to fashion a hatchet if you want one to take around with you.


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