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Handmade Halloween: Making your own costume is half of the fun

There are plenty of resources for your own DIY costume, and it won’t be the cheesy pom-pom gumball machine either.

by Mary Staes
January 12, 2022

So you’ve got less than a week till Halloween and you’re freaking out about your costume. Never fear, New Orleans has plenty of resources for your own DIY costume, and it won’t be the cheesy pom-pom gumball machine either.

New Orleans Costume Center in the Marigny caters to DIY costume makers with awesome basic pieces to build on and even fancier fare with items made by local artists if you aren’t savvy with a glue gun or sewing machine.

The shop has plenty of things like gems, fabric and loose feathers for more experienced crafters. For the rest of us, there are masks, blank hats to glue things to, headbands, and patches and pins to make your costumes unique. There’s plenty of sequins and glitter here to go around for everyone.

Owner Shel Roumillat is an expert in DIY costumes. She dressed WWL-TV personality Sheba Turk in a Beyonce-inspired number for Mardi Gras 2017, crafting an elaborate headpiece by hand.

“The best New Orleans costumes are costumes that are made with heart, and are made with the spirit and intention of having fun,” Roumillat said. “That’s what is great about being here. We value that. It doesn’t matter if you show up to and you’re a mermaid, and there are ten other mermaids there. Every mermaid is going to be different here.”

For some towns, dressing up only happens on Halloween, but not here.

“It’s so great to go out in the city on any given night, especially on a night when everyone is costuming, and see the creativity that everyone displays,” she said. “I think that’s what makes our costuming culture unique and exciting.”

Roumillat gave us the scoop on a design she’s making and showed us how to make hours for your own DIY costume. You can check it out around the 6:30 mark in this video, or you can click here for instructions from the New Orleans Costume Centers’ blog!

Mary Staes is our Digital Curator. She crafts content for our social media platforms and our website. Before Very Local, she worked with CBS affiliate WWL-TV as a web producer and weekend assignment editor for about 4 years. She has also handled broadcast coverage for 160 Marine Reserve training facilities while she served as an active duty Marine. As a native New Orleanian, she takes being "very local" to heart. She loves being intertwined with the culture and figuring out how there are less than two degrees of separation between us all, whether we're natives or not.

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