Rocky Horror Picture Show is definitely one of my all time guilty pleasures – and it will also be the inspiration for my Halloween costume this year! For my current RHPS costume, for Halloween or otherwise, I have chosen to dress up as Columbia (Little Nell). Because I already have the right length hair, that’d part be pretty simple (hello hair dye, here I come!). Which made me decide to share a few of my Columbia costume secrets with you here now – in case you’d like to create your very own Columbia costume.
The shorts are the easiest part. Go to any regular clothing store and pick up pair of black bike shorts, then cut some ribbon of various colors to length, sewing them up the shorts, making sure to use a zig-zag stitch (always use a zig-zag stitch on stretchy fabric so everything will stay where you put it).
The top hat would be a little more difficult, of course. It seems like the easiest option would be to buy a costume top hat (boo), or to find a top hat at the thrift store, and invest in a lot of glitter. Spray glue the top hat, roll evenly in the glitter, and tap it off – I’d do this a couple times of course, to make sure that there were no spots where the original color of the top hat showed through.
After that comes the sequined top. I can hear the groans now – sequins can be a pain, but look at it once you’re finished – it’s absolutely gorgeous, and completely worth the effort. Tube tops are pretty easy to make too, and I’d stick with a stretchy knit base (probably with a four-way stretch) so that it would be less likely to move, and then sew in an extra band of elastic at the top in order to make sure that sucker really wasn’t going anywhere. (This is especially important if you’re doing a stage production like I once did – you don’t want anything to pop out during your tap dance or the lab scene with Eddie!)
And for the last part of a Columbia costume – the bright blue socks. Frilly socks are pretty easy to come by in most sizes nowadays, but when I played Columbia, that wasn’t the case, and I wasn’t about to go out and buy a whole package of RIT dye just for one pair of socks! (And, to be honest, RIT dye scares the hell out of me.) So, here is what I did. Combine blue, sugar free kool-aid and two cups of water in a small pot, adding to that a healthy splash of vinegar. Soak your new white frilly (cotton) socks in this solution, then wash by themselves on the gentle cycle. Ta-da! Frilly blue socks.
Now, slip on a pair of tap shoes, and you are on your way to a great performance, or just a night on the town with friends. Suggestion – learn the tap dance from the movie, or at least the hat spinning trick – people really dig that and you’ll be the hit of any party that you attend this year in your very own inventive and colorful Rocky Horror Columbia costume! Have fun and Happy Halloween!