I have always looked forward to celebrating Halloween. My family and friends would probably agree that my joy in Halloween came from my performance background, but I also find joy in artistically creating a costume(s) that symbolizes my life each year. When I had witnessed the Miss Universe pageant last December, I knew instantly that Miss Universe was not only the new titleholder, but that she will be my Halloween costume the following year.
Miss Universe 2015 is the very first titleholder from the Philippines that I have witnessed during my lifetime. Being an adult, I find it refreshing to see a role model that represents me culturally. Growing up as a Filipino-American in a small suburb in Texas, I never felt like I fit in with the crowd. I was easily noticed because of my physical appearances and was sometimes teased for looking different. 2016 ended up being the year that I stayed in the Philippines for four months, and I have gained such a deeper connection with my heritage and family. I knew that if there was any figure to best represent my life in 2016 for Halloween, it would be Miss Universe 2015, AKA Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. I could honestly go on forever about how much this costume was meaningful to me, but to keep it brief, I also relate to Pia's personal story and her journey to being Miss Universe as well.
I am a huge fan of homemade costumes, and this costume is probably one of my top favorites. Although the costume was essentially simple, I had to be resourceful with how I created some of my props. If you are deciding to be Miss Universe next year, I highly suggest you start searching for the gown months in advance. Plus, if you can find a man to be Steve Harvey (by wearing a tux with the "results" card) and another girl to be Miss Colombia (by wearing a gold gown and sash), you can have a pretty rad group costume. I hope you find inspiration in how I made my Miss Universe costume:
3 yellow tulips
4 red roses
3 orange flowers
3 purple flowers
10.16cm x 2.74m white silk ribbon
3/8in x 9ft silver decorative trim ribbon
5/8in x 10yd gray silk ribbon
Gray puffy paint
Black puffy paint
5 blue sapphire rhinestones
hot glue gun and glue sticks
Blue strapless mermaid gown
Silver rhinestone earrings
Total cost: $133.39
1) Arrange the flowers according to the first photo: roses in front, yellow tulips in the middle, orange roses in the right side, purple violets in the left, and the blue bonnets in the back.
2) Tie them together with a clear elastic.
Tip: 99 cent stores and thrift stores helped made this prop really cheap. I was amazed at how expensive artificial flowers were in Michael's and Hobby Lobby, so I highly suggest purchasing artificial flowers in dollar/value stores in order to have a low maintenance bouquet for Halloween. Also, if you can't find the exact type of flower used in the photo, finding similar flowers with the same color will work as well. When I looked back on my photos, I realized that it didn't really matter what type of flowers I had gotten in the long run.
1) Wrap the white silk ribbon around to measure the length of the sash.
2) Cut the white ribbon to the appropriate length that fits your body.
3) Use fabric glue to glue the gray silk ribbons on each end.
4) Use hot glue to glue the silver decorative ribbon at the top edge (closer to the middle of the sash) of the gray ribbon.
5) Sketch "Miss Universe" in block letters.
6) Use gray puffy paint to fill in the block letters.
7) Use black puffy paint to outline the block letters.
Tip: I made two mistakes with this prop: using the wrong puffy paint color for the block letters and outlining the letters in permanent marker. In some of the photos, the sash looked like it had a light blue font. So, I opted to purchase a blue puffy paint for the sash. Later in the night, I had realized that the original sash actually had a gray font instead of blue. It's not a big issue, but if you wanted the sash to look identical to the original, I adjusted the materials to fit the original sash. When I had outlined the letters with a black marker, the ink made the outline of my letters runny, so it bled through the sash as well. The upside to these mistakes was that my sash matched my gown and that the photos were far away to notice the outline lettering!
1) Break off the head piece of the tiara.
2) Keep the bottom piece of the tiara to be a foundation for your crown.
3) Cut the edge sections from the tin lid.
4) Mold them around the crown.
5) Hot glue the pieces.
6) Cut off random strips of the tin foil (make sure they are the same width)
7) Fold each strip in half and unfold it to a 90 degree angle to create the look of crystals
8) Glue a kabob stick to the back of the strip pieces to help the pieces stand upright
9) Arrange them around the crown to your liking.
10) Hot glue the pieces.
11) Place duct tape in the back for upright support.
12) Attach the blue rhinestones around the crown.
13) Glue white/clear beads to add embellishment.
14) Outline the bottom section using blue marker.
Tip: Before making it, I felt really overwhelmed in figuring out how I was able to create a crown from scratch. When I watched this video, it inspired me to use a tin lid as the main material for this crown. When it came to making the crystals, I discovered with research that the Miss Universe crown had asymmetrical lengths of crystals in order to replicate the Manhattan skyline, so I didn't feel a lot of pressure when it came to making sure the crystals looked even on each side.
Gown & accessories:
Because gowns are so expensive, I knew I had to find a blue gown weeks in advance in order to keep my costume budget friendly. Since Miss Universe's gown was a one-of-a-kind design, I knew I had to find a gown that had similar features: strapless, mermaid, and navy blue colored. It ended up taking me two weeks to find a blue gown in a thrift shop for me to purchase, and it ended up costing me $17.50. The only downside to the gown was that it was three times my size, so I had to spend $75 in alterations in order for the gown to fit me. Despite the pricey alteration, I was really impressed with finding a gown under $100 for me to wear on Halloween. I found a similar gown for under $150 here:
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When it came to accessories, I just used what I already had in my jewelry collection. I found silver rhinestone studded earrings to achieve a similar jewelry look, and I sleeked my hair back with a bun with hairspray. My hairstyle felt heavy from the crown and bobby pins, that it started to give me a headache. So, I ended up placing it in a ponytail later on in the night. All in all, I still felt like my accessories and hairstyle still achieved a similar look!
Once you finished creating your props and finding your gown, you are ready to take on the universe! I hope the instructions were as easy to follow as much as it was simple for me to recreate. If you end up creating this costume, please tag me on Instagram with your recreation- it would definitely make my day! I hope this costume makes you feel confidently beautiful with a heart. Until next time- Ressa