Oh, October! Apples, changing leaves, crisp-cool mornings, children requesting insanely specific Halloween costumes. My eight—year old wanted a headless horseman costume. And not only did he expect me to figure out how to make him headless, but he also had very exacting details for how the costume itself needed to look. We did some sketching and a bit of googling, and by golly, we ended up with a pretty rad headless horseman!
Like I said, he had very specific ideas on how this costume needed to look. Of course, it needed to be headless, and he wanted armor. Armor? This one tripped me up for a bit. I kept envisioning the headless horseman ala Disney in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow cartoon: all black clothing, cape, pumpkin head. Easy peasy. But no. Nothing is as easy as it seems with this child of mine. So armor. Ugh. But after spending some time on Google, we found this image
via THIS link and Seth was, like, “THAT ONE!” And I was, like, “Ohhhhhh. Now I get it.” So that’s what we went with. Very highwayman, and very cool. This kid always has the best vision for his costumes. So we came up with a tunic, tall riding boots, arm cuffs/riding gloves, and of course he needed a cape that would billow out behind him as he chases people.
The back of the costume, under the cape, is fully detailed, too. The tunic has a back split, so if this horseman ever finds a horse, in addition to a head, he’s ready to ride. And the boots lace up the back.
I know. Super awesome amazing cool.
Also super awesome amazing cool: I’ve got the full tutorial to make your own, including the pattern pieces for the tunic, arm cuffs, and boots. Everything you need to make your own headless horseman, except the horse.
Carvable fake pumpkin or light up pumpkin
Glow stick bracelets
1.5 yards faux leather/main fabric (I used a very thin faux leather from Jo-Ann. It’s about the same as a bottomweight fabric and very easy to sew and work with)
.5 yards lining
1 yard heavyweight interfacing
1 yard faux leather/fabric for cape
2 sets metal snaps
4 inches Velcro
Black pants (I made a pair of Parsley Pants since we didn’t have any black pants, but I did have black fabric on hand)
Black gloves (Jo-Ann has black knit gloves in their $1 bins)
the pattern (hosted on Craftsy, affiliate link)
* I used an electrical jack-o-lantern that we already owned, to save some money. Our plan is to glue the bottom back on the jack-o-lantern when we’re done with it as a head, so we can continue to use it as decoration. I checked around at craft stores, like J0-Ann, and they sell large carvable fake pumpkins that would fit over a child’s (or even adult’s) head. You would need to carve the face yourself.*
1. Carve face into pumpkin (if you aren’t using one that already has a face)
2. Cut bottom out of pumpkin, large enough to fit head through.
3. Check to see that head fits, and that the child can see through the carving.
4. Bend your glow bracelets into shape.
5. Tape bracelets around eye openings of pumpkin. I used duct tape because that’s what we had on hand. It worked well to keep the bracelets in place, and then removed easily after a few hours so we could put new bracelets in (we did some testing). On Halloween, my son has requested that we use more bracelets, around all the openings, so he *really* glows!
Now you have a glowing pumpkin head!!
My younger son is wearing it here, and his head and shoulders are so small that the pumpkin fits him differently than the son I made this for. His eyes don’t line up properly with any openings. This is why Step 3 is so important!
1. Layer the upper tunic pieces like this: front main fabric facing up, interfacing, lining fabric facing down. Pin well. Baste all around the raw edges.
2. Trace out the upper tunic designs in chalk
3. Quilt/stitch your design. Wipe the chalk off.
4. Take back upper tunic and sew it to the front upper tunic at the shoulders, right sides facing.
5. Open the tunic up, press the shoulder seam toward the back and top stitch.
6. Make bias tape out of the .5 yard of main fabric, about 1 inch wide.
7. Bind neckline, and both sides completely. The only unbound area on the tunic (front and back) will be the lower edges of the front and back.
So no you should have this. Let’s attach the…. well, I’m calling it a skirt, but my son balked at that, so on the pattern it’s called the lower tunic. But it’s pretty much a skirt. Anyway, let’s attach it to the upper tunic, whatever you want to call it.
Open the lower tunic fabric up completely, find center back of the lower tunic and center back of the upper tunic. Pin those together right sides facing. Pin the lower tunic to the upper tunic all the way around. The center front of the lower tunic will overlap at the center front of the upper tunic.
Sew all the way around, right sides together. As you get to the sides, overlap the front and back upper tunics so that the lower tunic (skirt) catches both.
1. Fold toward the wrong side, and stitch the top curve of both boot pieces.
2. Attach 1-inch strip of interfacing the length of both long sides of each boot piece, on the wrong side.
3. Lay the boot pieces onto the black pants, and mark where the top of the boot curve will hit on each pant leg’s thigh. Sew, or otherwise attach, the loopy side of 2-inch strip of Velcro to the pants. Be careful to only sew through the front leg of the pants. Attach the hook side of the 2-inch strip of Velcro to the top curve of the boots, just below turned-under stitching.
4. Use leather lacing to lace the boots up the back. You can make button holes to make this easier, or just use an upholstery needle. The heavy interfacing will keep holes from getting bigger.
*note: I didn’t think to use lining on these until after I’d made them. So my pictures don’t include the lining. Sorry.*
1. Attach the interfacing to the lining fabric.
2. Trim the top and bottom of the interfacing/lining about 1/4inch
3. Place the main fabric and the interfacing/lining together, matching all edges except top and bottom (which won’t match because the interfacing is shorter), wrong sides together.
4. Fold the main fabric over towards the interfacing/lining at the top and bottom, and stitch in place
5. Fold cuff in half, right sides together, along the length. Pin. Sew the long edge
5. Turn right side out
1. Measure your child from shoulder to ankle.
2. Cut the cape fabric to that length.
3. Fold the cape fabric in half along the length
4. Lay the tunic on the folded cape fabric with the center of the tunic lined up with the fold of the cape fabric
5. With the fabric still folded, cut the top of the cape fabric two inches wider than the half-tunic, and angle it down to the bottom of the cape fabric.
6. Cut a curve at the bottom of the cape at a desired arc (nothing too specific, just whatever looks good to you)
7. Hem all edges
Finish the costume with a black shirt, black gloves, and some fun PhotoShopping!
“In the dark shadow of the grove, on the margin of the brook, he beheld something huge, misshapen and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveler.”
-Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow