Monday, August 24, 2009

Hallowe'en DIY Ideas: Cartoon Heroines of the '80s

'Tis the season to be a fabulous cartoon babe! Well, at least in preparation for ...

The diehards, like myself, start thinking about their costumes about two weeks ago. My birthday is on October 25th, so my birthday party usually lands on the 'party weekend'!  I have a few ideas that are right up my DIY alley that are great for parties. Now, I shall warn you that I am a child of the 80s, and a lot of costumes I've recently come up with will certainly represent that. And, in true 'Cassandra' fashion, I always like to put a spin on things, and can always find inspirations, espiecally in 'fan art'. So, I strolled over to and found some spectacular pieces that will help the imagination go to some unexpected places with your own ideas. If you're into retro-fashion like me, you just may find an idea to really pull off a spectacular Hallowe'en costume. The best part - this ain't no prepackage deal, you pieced this together yourself!

Cheetara of the Thundercats
You may remember this feline badass from Saturday mornings with Lion-O and the gang protecting the last of the Thunderans when their home planet is destroyed, and fighting evil on a new planet they now call their home. Cheetara was my favourite character on this show because I thought she had some really cool hair. I've sported a platinum blond 'do before (take a look at the Led Zeppelin tribute performance videos!), and got some hair tips if I ever wanted to dare the 'leopard spot' look.

Ideas for costume pieces:
  • Find a red or orange bathing suit and make your own alterations.
  • Use a piece of bristol board to cut out a series of 'cat spots' to run up your leg.  Take this cutout and paint over a pair of nude or white pantyhose for your 'cat spots' (no need for makeup!).  These can also be worn on the arms.
  • You can brave getting acrylic nails and have them shaped, or purchase a pair of skin gloves and make claws from the tips of Halloween character gloves, painted to match the gloves.
  • Artfully shaped wigs can be 'reshaped' to your liking, as well as easy for alterations, especially the 'cat spots' in the hair.  You can use the same cutout from the pantyhose idea over the wig and spray with the same paint.
  • A trip to the hardware store will solve your problem for Cheetara's weapon of choice.  Pick up a long dowel, at least 3 inches in diameter (think Donatello from TMNT).  Stain and decorate how you like!
  • 'Thundercats' patches can be purchased for no more than $10 at a local novelty gift store or online (click here to view the emblem).  Iron-on patches are also available.
  • Knee-high boots in orange or 'moccasin' fashion, or try this tutorial to make shoe or boot covers.
The 'Cassandra' twist to this costume?  Think Tina Turner in Mad Max as Aunty Entity.  Post-apocalyptic jungle cat, with some big hair!  Metal, leather, with lots of faux fur.

Take a look at some fellow artists from and their contemporary renderings of this fatal feline.

artist: Devon Cady-Lee (
artist: Greg Semkow (
artist: J.P. Targete (
 artist: Danel Mead (
artist: Kendel Jensen (

She-Ra: Princess of Power!
She-Ra was the original bringer of the 'girl-power' movement, always remaining feminine and prim-proper gorgeous and ladylike while she and her trusty winged horse, Swiftwind, defeat the Evil Horde to liberate her planet Etheria. I'm sure there are many who will admit to thinking that She-Ra and He-Man would make a good couple (yes, I'm raising my hand), but in fact, She-Ra is the abducted daughter of Queen Marlena and King Randor of Eternia and led the most powerful army of the Evil Horde until He-Man came to reveal her true lineage. And the rest is 'Saturday morning' history!


Ideas for costume pieces:
  • Check your closet!  A white miniskirt will do the trick, or DIY your skirt with a old white bedsheet to fit like a toga skirt.
  • Pick up fabric at your local textile store, or even use that old red Dracula cape that appears every year at Hallowe'en (even the kid's size would fit!).
  • A white bathing suit can be used for the top and base of your outfit.  There are a lot of bust styles, buckles, rusches, and many other options to consider for this costume.
  • For the bust, stencil the crest and sew pieces of gold material onto the suit, then add some slight padding underneath each piece to give the illusion of three-dimensional 'metal'
  • Check your jewelry collection! Check your friends' jewelry collection!  You may have a pair of gold 'cuffs' you can use for armbands, or fashion some from the same gold material used for the 'crest'
  • 'Jewel' appliques can be used in the crest, crown, sword or anywhere else you see fit.
  • The crown can be made with molding or cutaway foam, and sprayed with gold paint, found in numerous finishes in your local hardware store.
  • Dollar stores are great finds for fake weapons, since you may loose during the night. (Nothing a little paint won't fix!)
  • Three-quarter hair extensions are available in all shades of blond, since your head will be armoured.
  • Knee-high boots in white or gold, or try this tutorial to make shoe or boot covers.  For a different look, try gold gladiator sandals!
The 'Cassandra' twist: Red Sonja with the ever beautiful (ahem ... in her time) Bridgett Neilsen!  I had always seen She-Ra's imagery to be Viking-warrior inspired.  Red Sonja was one of the most-feared warriors in her time, defeating the worst evil single-handed.  If we were to see She-Ra in all Viking glory, I think she and Red Sonja would fit to be battle partners side-by-side!

Take a look at these renditions of She-Ra from our fellow artists:

artist: Ryan Wilton (

artist: Stjepan Sejic ( 


Jem and the Holograms
I had the Jem doll when I was a kid, and I thought she was the coolest thing on television.  Move over, 'secret star' Hannah Montana - Jem was the real deal!  Music company owner by day, Jerrica Benton lives a secret double life as Jem, the lead singer of the world's most popular band, Jem and the Holograms, with the help of Synergy, a computer her father had built to create the ultimate visual entertainment synthesizer and left to her upon his death.  Only her bandmates know her secret, and are in on the action!  Jerrica/Jem also runs an orphanage called Starlight Home, named after her record company, becoming an excellent role model to young girls everywhere by doing good deeds with her resources.  But look out, the Misfits!  "They're gonna getcha!"  This rival band always tries to upstage the Holograms' events, but fail every time.  The lesson learned in the end?  It all matters about what you do for others, not what you can do for yourself!

Ideas for costume pieces:
  • This is a definate 'check your closet' costume!  Think 'bubble-gum' pop colours in pinks, bright turquoise, white, yellow, purple and electric blue.  Don't have those colours?  Check your local Value Village thrift store!
  • The 'Hologram' earrings are an absolute must - visit your local Michaels or other craft store to see what can inspire you to make a fantastic, original pair!
  • Add a stack of thick lucite or plastic bangle cuffs in some loud colours, or a beaded necklace that reminds you of candy.
  • Jem's make-up consists of her big pink eyeshadow and lipstick, but nothing too neon.  You don't want to run the risk of being too 'clowny'.  Add a touch of shimmer eyeshadow underneath your brow, in the corner of your eye and along the bottom lash line.  Blend it into the outer edges of the pink eyeshadow, as well, to give it depth!
  • A rock star diva can't go anywhere without her microphone!  The dollar store is a great place for little accessories that 'make the costume'.  You may end up losing it to an overzealous partier, so you'll be able to find a fun alternative to your microphone.
  • There are an assortment of wild wigs available, and Jem was known for her big, pink hair.  Try different variations on the pink - some have tinsel highlights, some are in outrageous styles and in all assortment of lengths.
  • Footwear?  The ultimate rock n' roll heel, the ankle boot.  Find some in any other colour than black.  Having a hard time?  You can try this tutorial to make shoe or boot covers.
  • Get your friends in on the action and go as the entire band!  You'll have a great time shopping for costume clothes and swapping ideas!
The 'Cassandra' twist would have to be a little bit Britney Spears, a little bit 80s Madonna, infused with some sex appeal lent from the Pussycat Dolls.  Now that I think of it, the Pussycat Dolls could probably be the 'Jem and the Holograms' persona ... if they put on some more clothes.

Take a look at these artist renditions from our friends at


Thanks be to these artists for giving us another set of eyes for these characters!  And if you have any additional ideas, or have tried any of them mentioned, let me know!  I'd love to see how it turns out!
In the meantime, for me?  I've still got a little time ... have you started yet?


Olga/Amjara said...

Thank you for adding my art to your blog! Great article, its still nice to see others remembering Jem and She-ra after all these years! I hope the spirit of the 80's always lives on :D

Unknown said...

I think literally a Squeal came out of my mouth when I saw this post!
I LOVED the Thundercats!!!!
She was "SO TOALLY Awesome!!!"
...and I must confess I do remember watching Gem!

You are taking me BACK!!!!
LOVE it!!!
I can't wait to see what you end up doing!!!!

RABUN said...

thanks for select my artwork to your blog..visit also my blog but its not in english..

dennymour said...

Great ideas of ‘Costumes pieces’ suggested here on this blog for having best halloween party nyc! And it’s really very instructive to me also. I never heard about using such cartoon-looks in any kind of party, before seeing on this blog.

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