Building a Kid’s Costume Trunk

I am SUPER excited to tell you about my latest project! I am building a kid’s Adventure & Fantasy Costume Trunk.

I wear many hats (and full costumes) and today I come to you as a crafter, cosplayer, and member of the Renton Historical Society’s board of trustees. Like many non-profits, the Renton History Museum holds an annual dinner and auction fundraiser. Each board member is asked to build a basket of items that can be bid on during the silent auction.

While I have not been in Renton long enough to develop sufficient community or business ties that would lead to excellent basket item donations, what I can offer the museum is my knack for creating, strong sewing skills, and love for make-believe, dress-up and role-playing.

Over the next couple weeks I will be trying to create or purchase the following:

  • Crown
  • Eyepatch
  • Suede vest
  • Rogue tunic and hat (robin hood hat and/or Link hat)
  • Boot covers
  • Hooded cloak
  • Royalty robe
  • Bandana and sash
  • “Leather” belt and a fancy metal belt (like in brave)
  • Wizard’s wand
  • Forest sprite/faerie belt or skirt
  • Pointy ears
  • Sword & Hilt
  • Pouch
  • Wings
  • Gauntlets
  • Bow, arrows, and quiver

I am deliberately stocking this trunk with costume pieces and props designed to be (in my mind) not gender-specific and can be combined with a kid’s various existing costumes. Partly this is to make the “basket” appeal to a greater number of auction attendees, but I also feel that there are too many costumes out there that are marketed specifically towards “girls” or “boys,” which can impact a child’s perception of what they can pretend to be, or even grow up to be. I want to encourage imagination and the exploration of characters, regardless of the kid’s ethnicity, gender, religious, or cultural background.

As a half-Chinese cisgender girl who did not look like any of the Disney women until 1998 and still wore her Snow White, Wendy and Belle gowns with pride, I trust in the ritual of make believe. I grew up pretending to be a princess, as well as one of the Boxcar Children, Tarzan’s daughter, a character from Super Mario Bros, an Oregon Trail pioneer, and more recently an assassin, an Avatar, and the mechanic of a Firefly class starship.

Cosplaying and playing Dungeons & Dragons—exploring different characters and personas—has helped me learn about myself and feel more comfortable in my own skin. (Though I am still coming to terms with the realization that real-life Meris has more in common with paladins than with the rogues D&D-Meris prefers to play.)

I have already found some pretty awesome kids’ costume tutorials, but if you know of any tutorials for making the above costumes and props, please let me know. Is there something I have forgotten? Leave me a note in the comments, but remember I only have about 2 weeks to complete this. Also, if you are a Seattle-area costumer or cosplayer and have any items you would like to donate to this costume trunk, please send me a message via the form below or contact me on Twitter (@merismullaley).

I will post photographs of the completed trunk prior to its delivery on October 2, along with a list of all the tutorials I used.

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3 thoughts on “Building a Kid’s Costume Trunk

  1. I love this idea and especially commiserate re: not having a similar-looking Disney princess until Mulan! And I had to laugh at the paladin vs. rogue dilemma…I play a rogue too for D&D, even though I’m not nearly so stealthy and coordinated in real life.

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