Sunday, October 27, 2013

10 Ways To Steampunk Your Halloween by Gail Carriger

It seems to me, Gentle Reader that Halloween is the perfect time to get all over steampunk. What with the fall colors and the spirit of DIY and costuming, not to mention a surfeit of smoke machines (steam!) it's a great excuse to play with the steampunk aesthetic. So I have gathered for you, 10 ways to steampunk up your Halloween festivities.

1. Steampunk Costume

If you're not of the type to do it yourself, here are some cheap steampunk Halloween costumes. However, if you are of a mind to go thirfting here are some basic tips for women or men, and here is a DIY on making your own pocket belt from an old pair of cargo pants.I suggest guiding your costume choices with a theme or an aesthetic, here is Liz, an editor at Tor, whose costume is all editing related: she has a stet gun, a bracelet of old typewriter keys and so forth.

Of course, you could always dress up as Professor Elemental. Very meta.


2. Steampunk Pumpkins 

I've forayed into this arena myself, bellow is my attempt at a teacup pumpkin and a whole set made by a particularly creative fan.

3. Steampunk cupcakes

Just add a spider or orange icing.

4. Get decorative

Use old metal parts for large or small installation decorations. Here, for example is a steampunk spider, crawling out the the fireplace or over the mantlepiece. Or you can use teacups and teapots, even old cracked ones, and place orange candles inside them, have small black cats or some other creature perched inside, crawling out. Don't forget that octopus and other slimy creatures can be both creepy and steampunk.

5. Use accessories to decorate. 

Here, for example a black parasol becomes a table decoration accompanied by various nibbles.

Or, a top hat becomes a table feature. You could use a clean one to pass out candy, or even cover one with cling film before filling with chips or dried flowers.

Take inspiration from Sheyne & Glenn's scientific Victorian steampunk octopus wedding. Smoke machines are the best!

6. I know it's Halloween, but don't forget savory food. 

Here are some cheesy nibbles from the frozen food section of my local grocery store, we just arranged them nicely. A few small pumpkins or gourds scattered about, the occasional gear or steampunk object, an old clock, and suddenly it's Steampunk Halloween.

7. Lighting is worth a bit of attention. 

In addition to carving pumpkins, you can also use parasols for lighting (although take care to be mindful of fire hazards).

Cover with some fake spider webbing and a big bug or two and creepy combines with classy.

8. If you wanted to get super creative...

Helium inflated balloons make great looking hot air balloons or chubby dirigibles. Here some friends created hot air balloon hats for a very silly event using string, ribbon, glue, and tiny baskets:

Here's a DIY on how to turn a paper lantern into a hot air balloon decoration, uses a paper cup for the basket. Did you know there were black paper lanterns available? You could do a mini version of multiple hot air balloons on a string around Christmas lights (the red ones would be suitably creepy). Or here are other options in the hot air balloon arena, keep to a creepy Halloween color pallet and adapt for the occasion.

10. Thinking of drinks? 

How about adapting the idea of these Free Harry Potter/Halloween Drink Printables for your steampunk Halloween party?

The author with the Gentlemen of Steampunk: Trip & Glenn of The League of S.T.E.A.M (playing bookends) and Thomas Willeford of Brute Force Studios.

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

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