Skip to main content

Halloween, behind the scenes with Martha

By Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart Living
updated 9:53 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
Over the years, Martha has both spooked and delighted audiences and readers with her creative Halloween costumes. Which one do you find most appealing -- or appalling? Martha and crafts editor Marcie McGoldrick's vision for the 2013 Halloween special issue came together perfectly as a delightful dream world where Fairy GrandMartha takes center stage. Over the years, Martha has both spooked and delighted audiences and readers with her creative Halloween costumes. Which one do you find most appealing -- or appalling? Martha and crafts editor Marcie McGoldrick's vision for the 2013 Halloween special issue came together perfectly as a delightful dream world where Fairy GrandMartha takes center stage.
HIDE CAPTION
Martha Stewart's best Halloween costumes
Martha Stewart's best Halloween costumes
Martha Stewart's best Halloween costumes
Martha Stewart's best Halloween costumes
Martha Stewart's best Halloween costumes
Martha Stewart's best Halloween costumes
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Over the years, Martha Stewart has worn spooky and delightful Halloween costumes
  • This year, for Halloween, Martha Stewart is a "Fairy GodMartha"
  • You can make and wear the same costume: See the instructions, below

Editor's note: Look for the Martha Stewart Halloween special issue, on newsstands now, and download the digital edition from the App Store. It's loaded with hundreds of ideas from the silly to the spooky (and every mood in between).

(Martha Stewart Living) -- I love getting dressed up in fantastical costumes for Halloween—and luckily for me, most years I get to do it not once but twice.

In addition to whatever I wear on October 31, I also undergo a complete transformation for our Halloween special issue (on newsstands now). In order to have this edition available in time for the holiday, we create costumes, carve pumpkins, bake treats, and make all manner of scary and unusual and bewitching decorations months in advance.

Martha Stewart Living: 15 kitchen shortcuts that will change the way you cook

I thought you might like to go "behind the scenes" to find out a little about how we dream up these costumes. The notion of a "Fairy GrandMartha" first came about in March, when our special-projects group was planning the Halloween issue. I met with crafts director Marcie McGoldrick and told her that, this year, I wanted my costume to be something sweet and nice. (Some years I want it to be dark and mysterious.)

The editors had already been planning a story inspired by classic fairy tales, so a fairygodmother character came to us naturally. I suggested a costume made of tulle, because it is so readily available and economical yet lends itself to beautiful and ethereal effects.

Stay in touch!
Don't miss out on the conversation we're having at CNN Living. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest stories and tell us what's influencing your life.

Marcie began sketching ideas for a "low-sew" gown, requiring little stitching, and we discussed all the details: whether it should have a hood or a collar (we went with a dramatic collar), how my makeup should look (very sparkly), and how to wear my hair (up, with ringlets and tendrils).

Martha Stewart Living: 19 tips for perfect laundry every time

On the day of the photo shoot, in June, I was very pleased to see the wooded wonderland the team had created in our studio—complete with moss and tree stumps from my farm. It took two and a half hours for me to get into full costume; I took a break about halfway through and walked the halls of our offices and test kitchens with my Fairy GrandMartha makeup on and my hair in curlers.

(Funnily enough, colleagues were not too surprised to see me that way!)

Halloween decorations prompt 911 call
Distraction: Chair prank shocks shoppers

Martha Stewart Living: Instant organization: Get it together in 15 minutes or less

After all that, the photographs, shot by the very talented Fadil Berisha, took 25 minutes.

I hope you try this costume—or maybe the Rapunzel or the Red Riding Hood or the Ogre in the special issue is more your style, or perhaps your kids would like to be elves or sprites—and enjoy the process of transformation as much as I did.

Martha Stewart Living: 20 super-efficient, super-effective ways to clean all the things

The Fairy GrandMartha gown

Make this elegant gown from soft fine-gauge tulle— the same whisper-weight fabric used in wedding veils. (Thicker, coarser tulle might feel scratchy.)

Martha Stewart Living: No-mess one-bowl desserts: 12 recipes for lazy bakers

Supplies:
15 yards pink tulle, full (108-inch) width Sewing machine and sewing supplies 4 yards pink gros-grain ribbon, 2-inch width Safety pin

1. Make ruffles for neck: Cut 6 layers of 5-inch-by-108-inch tulle. Sew to-gether layers along one long edge. gently pull thread at end to gather layers into a ruffle (this one is approximately 16 inches wide). Repeat with six 7-inch-long lay-ers of tulle. Hand-stitch ruffles together length-wise, near gathers.

2. Stack 6 layers of tulle that are as long as your desired gown. Sew them at one 108-inch end in same manner as ruffles, pulling thread to gather to the same width.

3. Hand-stitch neck ruffles to gown. Sew a 12-inch piece of grosgrain ribbon to end of stitching on each side.

4. To wear, tie ribbon behind neck. Leave top 3 layers of tulle loose in front of body, and pull other layers around waist, forming a skirt shape. Pin them together in back; tie ribbon around waist as a sash.

Wear the gown over a pink unitard. Tulle won't unravel when cut—no hemming required.

Martha Stewart Living: Curb your food cravings with yoga

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN Living reflects your life. From advice for modern parents to the freshest news in food: It's all here.
updated 12:06 PM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
Travis and Joyce Miller started producing hickory syrup as an experiment. Demand for the unique flavor has turned into a full-time business.
updated 11:05 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
These happy couples kept the campfire flames burning, and turned summer flings into lifetime commitments.
updated 1:33 PM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
Shanesha Taylor says a moment of "desperation" led her to leave her children in a car during a job interview.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Bikinis might dominate the beaches, but style editors and trend forecasters say the one-piece is the "fashion-forward" choice this season.
updated 10:42 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Are you ready for this? These guidelines tell you when to wash everything, from sheets and cars to bras and hair.
updated 7:21 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
"I am a canvas of my experiences, my story is etched in lines and shading," says tattoo artist Kat Von D. Is this a good thing?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT