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Costume designer Audrey Harjanto

With Halloween around the corner, time appears to be running out for those who waited for the last minute to figure out what to wear for the night. However, some people, including junior Audrey Harjanto, had their Halloween night all planned out long before others began scrambling to buy a costume. An avid costume maker, Harjanto shares with The Howler her new Kubo costume from Studio Laika’s “Kubo and the Two Strings” and tips for anyone who plans to start making their own costumes.

Gabriel Dimaandal: What inspired you to make costumes in the first place?

Audrey Harjanto: I’ve always liked wearing costumes as a child for Halloween, first as Disney fairies but then as witches, zombies and skeletons since I began to enjoy doing facepaint makeup along with costumes. Later on, I figured I could start making my own costumes because it gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment and they were mostly inspired by pop culture characters since I really wanted to become different people other than myself.

GD: What was the first costume that you created?

AH: As for creating costumes, I think my first serious one was back in 7th grade as Terezi Pyrope, an alien from Andrew Hussie’s webcomic, Homestuck. It involved prop horns made of clay and a headband, a dragon staff which was painful to make and nearly my height, red glasses which I built myself out of wire and a clear file folder, handmade dragon plushies and, oh yes, lots of grey paint.

GD: What are you currently working on?

AH: I’m currently working on a costume of Kubo from Laika Studio’s movie, “Kubo and the Two Strings.”

GD: Has there been any difficulty in making Kubo?

AH: I’ve already completed sewing together an entire robe with a golden beetle pattern on it as well as cardboard golden armor, but the difficulties I’m encountering are, first of all, how to specifically contour my face and do eye makeup to appear like a cartoon character, and secondly, how to finish building a working replica of a shamisen, which is like a traditional Japanese guitar. I’m about halfway done with the guitar and to be honest my dad has done the majority of the woodwork on that since there are some dangerous power tools we use to shape all the wood. Frankly, I’m not even sure if we’ll finish that by Halloween.

GD: Who are your inspirations when it comes to making costumes?

AH: Personally I follow a lot of costumes and special effects makeup artists on social media like Alyson Tabbitha and they can literally seem to turn into any person. Sometimes following other costume artists helps you pick up on their techniques and such and often they will answer if you ask questions in the comments.

GD: Do you have any plans for future costumes?

AH: Recently I’ve gotten back into watching “Adventure Time” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” so I’m really considering making costumes for Marceline, Princess Bubblegum, Finn and Prince Zuko. This is just a hobby I do for fun though, so I don’t expect to be able to do all four.

Harjanto’s tips:

  • Follow other costume makers on social media to see how they make their costumes. Sometimes, you can even ask them directly for help.
  • There are many different techniques involved with making costumes, such as sewing and painting. While YouTube tutorials are useful, sometimes trial and error is the best way to discover how to do something and improve.
  • Take advantage of stores like Joann’s, Michael’s and Amazon. You can usually get a good deal on anything from fabrics to wigs that will also last a long time.