Mother Nature / Father Time - Halloween 2020

This year there are no Halloween parties. Trick-or-Treating is going to look different for us too - we're hitting up a trunk-or-treat event in Ely instead of going house to house in our neighborhood in the cities. So Andy and I decided to create a couples costume we've been talking about for many years and photograph it up north a couple weeks before the 31st . It's really quite perfect that we ended up waiting until this year. I don't think you could find a pair of costumes that fit 2020 any more perfectly. We present to you...Mother Nature and Father Time.

Mother Nature: Nature has been my escape for a very very long time, but now I have a much deeper respect and gratitude for our natural world. We've found peace in the middle of chaos often this year, in nature. This costume is a tribute to that.




Father Time: Time has been weird this year. It's been THE LONGEST year ever, but also it's felt so quick. Somehow. The disruption in schedule and constant pivoting to adjust has made this weird time warp. I've certainly felt like I've aged more than 10 months this year. We try to stay positive, but any way you look at it this has been a trying year that's added some grays. We've both been thinking about mortality and death and the time we have on this earth in these bodies a lot more lately.



For almost two years, we've been dealing with death, disease and trauma - starting on a very close and personal level with the death of a close family member and a traumatic event and now on a more broad level. We have been either preparing for loss, grieving or reliving the loss and trauma. It's been kind of dark. We've been fortunate, but everything that has happened has taken a toll.


Our outlet and the ways that we cope with stress and grief are very rooted in creativity. In our house, we practice art, music, writing, the creation of really anything. These aren't just costumes, especially not this year. This was something to throw ourselves into in a healing way that didn't have any expectations or conditions. It wasn't something we were doing because we were obligated or needed to pay our bills. It was freeing.

When you let go of those limitations, it's a totally different kind of creativity that feels a lot more like bringing something to life than making something.

When I was visualizing the shoot, I had in my head the ideal backdrop - soft, gentle, falling snow. The kind that felt almost warm and made everything so quiet. Our trip was October 16-18 with the shoot on the 17th, so that was probably not going to happen on the exact day we needed it to. I found the ideal foggy snowy photo filter online and was prepared to edit our pictures to include falling snow.


Mother. Nature. Delivered. Holy crap, like really delivered. The snow was slow, gentle, quiet. We weren't even cold, we didn't get wet. The kids hung out with the grandparents in camp while we stepped off into the forest and enjoyed this absolute magic. I'm in awe of how beautiful this moment was and I'll never forget it. There was a moment when Andy ran back to get his tripod and I stood in the middle of a clearing by myself, just being. I don't think I have ever felt more at peace.



The Details


Mother Nature Costume - Total $0 (I used leftovers from other projects and art supplies I had on hand)

  • 2 cotton curtain panel-size pieces of fabric (I took down my curtains for this costume :)

  • 2 large leftover scraps of upholstery fabric in different leaf patterns

  • Wedding dancing dress (worn underneath, not altered)

  • 1 vine of fake greenery (was hanging up in our studio)

  • 2 stems of fake flowers

  • White spray Paint

  • 2 shades of green acrylic paint

  • Gold paint

  • Bleach

  • Blue, purple and black watercolor ink (used to tie-dye/age fabric)

  • 2 wire hangers

  • 2 Magnolia tree branches with buds attached (we had to trim our Magnolia tree because it was touching our house - nothing wasted!)

  • Shellac

  • Hot glue



I tie dyed all of the fabric with watercolor ink, then dried and splashed with bleach to age it. When it was all dry, I splattered watered down green acrylic paint onto the bottom of the cape to make it look moss covered.



I unwound a wire hanger and sized it to be a belt that hooked together. Then I took the large butterfly/leaf skirt piece and pleated it around the front of the hanger belt, hot gluing around the back of the hanger. The skirt is only on the front, but you can't tell because of the cape in the back. A scrap piece of fabric tied around my waist when the costume on made a nice belt.


For the headpiece, I again used a hanger, making a circular shape with cross supports that fit my head. I built up the shellacked branches and white spray painted fake flowers and fake greenery in the hanger frame and hot glued the sh*t out of it all. Then I wrapped another scrap of ink dyed fabric around the frame to cover it and look like a headband with pointed front. When I had the shape down, I went in with gold and green paint accents on the flowers, and gold on the branches. I attached the headpiece with old school butterfly clips, which worked fabulously. A gathered pouch of fabric on the cape acted as a sort of hood and helped to secure everything together.



Father Time Costume - Total $43.99 (He used a combination of new materials, other costume pieces and leftovers from other projects) Unfortunately because FT was behind the camera, we don't have as many pictures of his costume.

  • Costume robe, hem cut/roughened ($20 - source)

  • 1 cotton scrap piece of fabric, cut into strips (tie dyed with watercolor ink and bleach, from my costume above)

  • 1 piece of metal chain ($10 from Lowe's aged with baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, tutorial here)

  • Sisal rope ($10 from Lowe's)

  • 3 clock faces ($3.99 - pulled from a non-working 3-timezone clock from Goodwill)

  • Old man wig and beard (purchased/used for 2016's Poseiden costume)

  • Antique gold, silver and black spray paint

  • Scrap wood (for sickle blade)

  • Tree branch (for sickle handle)

  • Hot glue and electrical tape


Halloween's past, from left to right: Billy Butcherson (part of a group costume with the Sanderson Sisters), safari family, Poseidon and Amphritite, Queen of Hearts, Vlad and Paulina, more Billy Butcherson, characters from Up, the Guardians of the Galaxy.