Phew! This Halloween costume has been in the works for, what feels like, fooorever. It’s ridiculous when I start thinking about just how much time (and money) I’ve spent on this kid’s Halloween costume! But it was such a fun challenge for me – I really love making Halloween costumes!! I get a lot of enjoyment out of trying to figure out ways to translate a picture or a character into something tangible, an outfit, or a costume. So here’s the back story . . .
Yuki started watching the popular series, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, about six months ago. In the first 2 episodes there is a villain, Nightmare Moon, that Yuki immediately latched onto. It’s not the first time Yuki has connected with an antagonistic character – I’m not sure if you remember 2 years ago, Yuki was into Swiper the Fox, from Dora the Explorer. Anyways, this one was a little surprising because Nightmare Moon is SO EVIL and SO SCARY. She’s got this wicked cackle that both Yuki and Kaya have mastered (a little too well). But starting a couple of months ago, Yuki decided she wanted to be Nightmare Moon for Halloween. I waited for awhile to make sure that she wasn’t going to change her mind. But she was quite set on it, so I started brainstorming. This wasn’t the easiest to translate into human/kid form.
Nightmare Moon is the evil alter ego of Princess Luna. My Little Pony legend tells us that Princess Luna once controlled the moon and ruled over the land with her older sister, Princess Celestia, who raised the sun every day. Princess Luna became jealous that all the ponies enjoyed and appreciated the day, playing in the sun, but slept through the beauty of the night. Her bitterness took over and she transformed into Nightmare Moon, who refused to lower the sun and promised eternal night. She was then banished to the moon by her sister. You should definitely watch this video of Nightmare Moon and Princess Celestia battling it out.
Spoiler alert: Nightmare Moon is defeated and transformed back into Princess Luna, who once again takes her place next to her sister to rule Equestria, the land of the ponies.
ANYWAYS. Moving on from Pony history . . . The costume had me a bit stumped at first. Sure a shirt and pants, but how would I made a helmet? How would I make her shimmery floaty mane and tail? I mulled over it for a long time.
I knew I wanted to make a shirt and pants for Yuki that she could potentially wear again later and separately if she wanted to. I used the Oliver + S Playtime Tunic/Dress and Leggings pattern for both the top and the bottom. I made the top with black double gauze from Miss Matatabi and made it so the facing would be on the outside of the shirt. I changed the shape of the facing in the front to mimic Nightmare Moon’s breastplate (or whatever that is).
The fabric that I used for all of the armor details is some sort of suiting from Joann. It is a woven fabric so I had a hard time figuring out how to sew it on without it fraying. I tried a zig zag stitch around the edge, but I didn’t like the way it looked. So I ended up using fusible web on all the pieces and then painting the edges with fray check and just top stitching as close to the edge as possible. The fray check left the edges slightly darker than the fabric which was perfect since the character’s armor has a darker blue outlining all the edges as well.
The pants were made using the leggings pattern, but I flared out the bottoms to look more like yoga pants. I appliqued the “cutie mark” (cloud/moon symbol on her rear) and the “armor” before assembling the pants. Both the shirt and pants are size 3T and they fit her pretty perfectly.
The helmet had me pretty stumped, but it finally came to me to make a version of Oliver + S’s Cozy Winter Hood from their Little Things to Sew book (affiliate link)! I made the medium size hood, but altered the shape of the center panel to look more like Nightmare Moon’s helmet. I actually ended up making TWO helmets because the first one just didn’t work out right. It took me a while to get the shape and size right of that extended piece. I also chose the wrong fabric for the lining and messed up the detail on the side of the helmet. I omitted the ears from the pattern, which is sewn into the seam and I hand stitched self drafted ones and a horn to make sure they stood up and didn’t flop over 🙂
I thought it would be cool to add some sparkle because both Nightmare Moon and Yuki are into sparkle, so I tried this glitter fabric spray. Like an idiot, I tried it on the finished helmet not realizing that it leaves dark marks on the fabric. It’s not super noticeable, but you can see it close up and it bugs the crap out of me! Oh well. I put the helmet aside because I had no clue how I was going to make or attach a mane.
Next up were the wings. I used this tutorial for basic construction of the wings, altering it for my needs. I used 4 large sheets of craft foam and each wing is 4 layers. Looking at the image of Nightmare Moon, I drew two wing shapes that were meant to be overlapped. I cut them out with an X-acto knife, then used a purple paint pen to draw the outline and details. After gluing it all together, I used Krylon Glitter Shimmer in Moon Beam Black and IT WORKED PERFECTLY. Just how I imagined. Which is more than I can say for the fabric glitter spray. I kinda think the wings are my favorite part of this outfit.
We found the boots that Yuki wore last year for Halloween (they were too big for her then and disappeared afterwards since she never wore them). And now they fit perfectly! Hideko had the brilliant idea of spraying the boots too, just for extra sparkle (really anything to get Yuki to be excited about wearing them).
This stuff has been great in my experience. It has a really strong smell at first (so definitely spray it outside), but I haven’t noticed it on the items since and they are both kept inside. I put some paper inside each boot to prevent the spray from coating the inside (I wasn’t sure if it would make it stiff or scratchy), and I also unzipped the boot right after spraying so that it would seal shut.
So finally I had to tackle the mane and tail – it was the only part left. If you look at the picture of Nightmare Moon, her hair is this magical, floaty, ethereal, glowing mass. What? How? Why? I had no clue how to try and replicate that. In most of the Nightmare Moon cosplay I had seen, people wore long curled purple-blue wigs. I was going to go that route and just attach it to the helmet, but I couldn’t find the right color and I wasn’t sure if it would look right for a kid’s costume. So I decided to cut up some tulle and while it’s not exactly what I want it to look like, I think it came out ok and definitely looks floaty and sparkly at least.
I used two different colors of tulle: blue and glittery purple. I laid them out and cut them to the general length that I wanted the mane and tail. Then, with each layer separately, I cut one edge of the tulle into wavy hair-like strips. Then I layered about 4-5 pieces of cut tulle and folded and rolled and scrunched up the other end to gather it into a pony tail. I stitched it together to hold it in place and then hot glued felt around it to secure it together, then hand stitched that onto the helmet for the mane and onto elastic for the tail.
Unfortunately, it added weight to the back of the helmet so that it keeps sliding back and that nose piece often ends up near her forehead.
And that’s about it! This costume took me a good 2 weeks to put together I think. I seriously underestimated how long it would take. Usually I can put together an outfit in 1-2 nights if I’m putting in the time, but there were just so many pieces and so much trial and error (LOTS OF ERROR). I think I went back to the fabric store 3 times to get more stuff I needed. In the end, Yuki likes the costume, but I don’t think she has any clue how much went into it.
People say, “You’re such a good mom, I just bought our costumes at the store!” But if I’m being honest, I didn’t do this for Yuki – I didn’t stay up countless hours and spend lots of money because I wanted to make her happy. She would have been just as happy with a store bought costume (if one existed for this character) or a much much simpler version. But I did it for me. Because once I had the challenge, it was my personal goal to make a kick ass costume. I wanted to see how well I could match some of the details while still making it wearable for a 4 year old. And I struggled and cursed and suffered some extreme exhaustion, but I LOVED it. I’m really starting to understand why people enjoy cosplay so much!
Anyways, for all of those celebrating Halloween, have a spooky, silly and safe time! Share your costumes with me – I LOVE seeing all the creative and fun ideas! And beware the legend of Nightmare Moon. She will return once again! MUHAHAHAHAHA! 😛
hahaha! Love the story!
Wow! I have no idea who Nightmare Moon is but this costume is amazing! She will appreciate this one very much in years to come 🙂
Aw, thanks! I hope so 🙂
Love this! You did a wonderful job turning Nightmare moon into a very comfortable, wearable kids costume! Wish I could get a picture with Yuki in this, and me in my Rainbow Dash costume! 😀
Thanks! Haha, that’d be so fun!
Wow! Just wow! I love this!! Amazing. 🙂
Incredible costume, and I can so relate to your feelings about the making process! Love your blog and writing.
This is absolutely amazing! All of your hard work really paid off. I think the tulle looks great for the mane and tail– you did such a fantastic job on all the little details.
Thanks! I found the little details to be the most satisfying 🙂
Oh man, you nailed it! So awesome. The wings look totally profesh. Nice job!!
Thanks Tara! The wings are my fav – I wish I had some occasion to wear them myself 😛
This is seriously the cutest thing ever! I love it!!! All the details are amazing!
I dont know anything about nightmare moon, but this is incredible! way to go!
Haha, yeah, most people don’t. Only one group of HS kids recognized her character the whole night and I, of course, had no idea who she was until recently too. Now I feel like an expert 😛
Cherie, this is so, so awesome! You nailed it! What an amazing costume!!!
Thank you!! Wish she had another reason to wear this costume again . . . Hehe.
Yuki is enjoying this fantasy! You are making her so happy! Just great, everything.
Aw thanks 🙂
You definitely achieved greatness with this one, Cherie! I love how you said it was for you, I feel like almost all of my sewing is about me and yet people are always saying how lucky my kids are that I make them things…they could pretty much care less! But it’s so satisfying to envision something and then watch it take form. Anyway, great costume, you totally brought Nightmare Moon to life. Happy Halloween!!
Thanks Gail! And yeah, you’re right. Most of my sewing is for me, even when it’s something for the girls. Once in awhile I make something that I think Yuki will really like, but usually, she couldn’t care less if it was handmade or Target or even hand-me-down. So yeah, we obviously do it for the love of sewing and making!
Wow! It is such a difficult task to translate a pony into a costume, and you did an amazing job!!
Wooooow, I’m BLOWN away…this is seriously awesome….also because it is not Elsa or Anna but that is a different story, haha.
Haha, thanks Mie! And yes, I’m quite relieved that Yuki didn’t ask to be Elsa. Again . . . 😛
This costume is amazing! I just finished my son’s costume last night- he wanted to be a vampire bat, and I ended up making his hood (with bat ears) from the cozy winter hood pattern too. Great job!
Thanks! I’d never made the hood pattern before, but I want to make more! It’s quite versatile when it comes to costumes too 🙂
This costume is simply spectacular! The colors are spot on, and I love how much you researched MLP. I am in love with this! Yuki looks adorable too 🙂
The tulle is kinda genius! As for not fraying… I’ve done quite of bit of applique for my kiddos. Fray check, stitch it to the fabric, and THEN go around the outside with zig-zag. That makes it last. Fray check is good, but eventually it does wash out… My costumes this year were more run-of-the mill. DD6 wanted to be a zombie and MAKE HER OWN costume. I just supplied the stuff for that one and did a bit of ripping. DD3 insisted on being a ghost, which isn’t terribly hard. And to complete the theme, I made a vampire costume for DS18months.
Ooh, good to know – thank you! I didn’t zig zag over the edges, so we’ll see how well it holds up. Your kids’ costumes sound awesome. I can’t wait till Yuki is old enough to make, or at least help, with her own costume! So awesome!
FANTASTIC costume, Nightmare MOON . . . you are a talented designer indeed! You mentioned you spent 2 weeks putting the costume together–with lots of Mom’s LOVE sewn into it! Your little girl, YUKI, looks so HAPPY in the photo shoot! THANKS for sharing. Sarah Helene in Minneapolis
Her costume is awesome. I sewed up a Dalmation costume and a pink and purple unicorn costume this year. I also mostly do it for myself. I love the challenge of transforming an idea into a reality. And seeing my kids be so excites to wear and play in something I made for them.
That is an awesome costume!! I used your Totoro tutorial not to make Totoro, but to make a cow costume for my 9 month old.
Oh that’s so great! I was hoping that people would be able to use it to create other costumes (not just Totoros). I’d love to see a picture!
You are SO talented! I love that you saw the whole project through, despite the inevitable setbacks… It turned out AMAZING, I’m sure you’re daughter is so happy!!!
Amacing! I love it. I would like to tell you more but this isn´t my language and it´s difficult to me. You have a new follower!
this. is. incredible! *drops to the floor* I give up! Seriously insane!
And you have a girl after my own heart relating to the villains, lol
Holy cow – you win on the kid costume front! Wow! I wish I could show it to my little My Little Pony fans, but there’s no way I could make that.
incredible job, cherie! love how it turned out. i definitely tackle some projects purely for the see-if-i-can-do-it factor too. well done!!
Thank you, Jess! Yay, I’m glad you can relate! These sorts of projects are fun to stretch yourself. Make me feel like I’m on Project Runway and given a crazy challenge or something 😛
Amazing costume!! I think the mane and the tail look perfect. I also enjoyed the MLP backstory, it sure seems different than when I was little. 😉
Thank you! Yeah, it certainly has changed!!!
Oh my goodness this is so so awesome!! It’s all so fantastic! I love the way you did the helmet and the mane and the wings! And, you know…I was just saying something similar to someone about how I love the challenge ( I also sometimes hate it, b/c I get fixated and exhausted!) of making a costume, any costume idea that the kiddos come up with and making it match their image (and mine)! Amazing job!
Thank you! Yes, I have a love/hate thing going on with my obsession to complete a task like this. Sometimes I wish I could let more things go. But then I can’t. Hah. Glad you understand!
I don’t think I finished reading the whole story. But this outfit wow! Some hardcore crafting, sewing and planning. I see that you take Halloween costume very seriously 🙂 well done!
Haha, yeah, maybe a little TOO seriously.
This is just too freaking amazing!!!! I’m so in awe, and kind of want to be your kid right now. This is one of the best costumes ever! My oldest was in a My Little Pony phase awhile back, and oh man, Nightmare Moon is serious business. That voice! Fantastic job on the recap, you summed it up nicely. The wings are so detailed, too…everything is! I could go on for awhile… I am really blown away. Fantastic job!!
Aww, thanks Monica! Yeah, Nightmare Moon is craaaazay. Not sure if I should be worried that my daughter is so into her . . .
oh my, this is so so so so so so great! that is all
Thanks Marissa! 🙂
Woooah. I’d wear that, and I don’t even watch MLP!
Amazing costume! Love the second photo and all of the details!
Seriously?!!! This is incredibly well done. The costume is brilliant and looks perfectly executed. Having just lost a whole weekend of sleep to a straw hat project, I completely understand the “I need to do it to see if I can” mentality. you nailed it Cherie!!
Haha! So glad I’m not alone!
I am amazed by your work!!!! and the ideas!!!! I loove your ideas!!!! (what is cosplay???)
Thank you!! I’m no expert on cosplay, so I’ll just let you read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosplay
This is AMAZING! YES, I’M SHOUTING!!
THANKS ANGELA! I’M SHOUTING TOO! 😛
That is awesome! I love a challenge too and made my son’s costume for the same reason that I love a challenge although my challenge was much easier! Yuki is such a lucky girl.
Haha, glad I’m not alone! What did you make for your son’s costume?
I made a firetruck. 🙂 http://audmommy.wordpress.com
Wow, it’s so awesome!!
Thank you! Maybe next year after i learn to sew better, i will sew a costume.
WOW. My daughter is going to freak out when she sees this! I LOVE how you interpreted the MLP shape into a human costume, SO much better than any cos-play I’ve seen, adult or child!! I’ll definitely be using these ideas in costumes to come!! Happy Halloween!
Aw, thank you!! Glad I could help out with some ideas!
Wow i bet she will look back at that costume and be amazed. Sets the bar for future costumes though lol
Haha, so true! Maybe she’ll forget?? Seriously though, I’m not sure kids this age can really tell the difference between a store bought and handmade costume. Not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing . . .
CHERIE!!! you’re amazing. so much time and energy, when you totally could’ve gone and bought any part of this to make it easier on yourself. but i’m glad you didn’t, because this is beautiful. spectacular! those wings especially blew me away, i kinda wanna wear them too…haha.
i honestly can’t tell whether i sew for the kids or sew for myself. both? i create things because i love to, but it’s also important to me that they like what i make and i make things with their tastes in mind. i guess that’s it? it’s a balancing act.
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That is an awesome costume! Great job on translating it.
This is so cute. This is just awesome. Your imagination is fantastic! 🙂
Wow! Linked to your blog for your lullaby layette alterations and saw this. I have two girls who are avid Ponies fans. You nailed this costume. It is gorgeous! So smart to sew something she can wear again. Inspirational! Thank you!
Yes! That is exactly why I sew the costumes too — it’s an unbelievably fun challenge for me (I love the combination of getting the details right AND making it functional for a little one)! Well said.
And very well made! I love the final result.
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Thank you so much for this! This is the only thing I could find for a nightmare moon costume and so I made one for my 4 year old.
I’m almost done making my 4-year-old a Nightmare Moon costume too – and I used a lot of yours for inspiration. But mine is built onto a black hoodie sweatshirt. Just trying to figure out how to give our mane the most height/puff. Thank you for sharing your work – it’s great!