I can't believe I'm writing about Halloween 2011 in March of 2012. Oh well, the topic is just as relevant now, as it was then. A while back I did a quick video review of the Star Wars Anakin Ultimate Force FX lightsaber. I was so happy with my $30 toy that I decided to use it as a prop for Halloween. Now, I'm not a Star Wars nut but I would say I'm a fan just as much (maybe a little more) than the next guy, but I knew that if I was going to go as a Star Wars character, it would need to be Darth Vader, or Anakin Skywalker. It occured to me that I had a blue light saber and not a red one, so Darth Vader was out. I wasn't about to commit character fraud by interchanging critical movie props like that. So I decided on Anakin, but at the stage where he was more Sith than Jedi, "Evil Anakin" if you will.
The first step was to find a good Sith robe. I immediately turned to the internet as with all the Star Wars sites and the various costumes available, it should be easy. Wrong! it was absolutely the hardest thing to find in the world! Don't get me wrong, I could easily find a paper thin, transparent robe that came down to my knees but that's not what I wanted. I want a full length, high thickness, proper proportioned robe. Way too many sites trying to pass Harry Potter robes off as Sith or Jedi robes! Get a life Harry Potter, I'm a Sith Lord dammit! So after countless hours on Amazon, Ebay and tons of other hopeless ventures I gave up on the internet. I checked out several speciality halloween costume stores (including the dreaded Value Village) and came up with nothing but a grim reaper robe that was again, cheap and had no resemblance to what I wanted. Take a look at the picture up and to the right to see what I was going for.
During my search for the perfect robe I found a couple of websites that provided detailed instructions on how to make your own robe. Some of the sites were total crap and provided next to no guidance and others seemed to have instructions that only a seamstress would understand. I managed to take bits from here and their, and with a little luck, made a robe that fit me quite well. The key factors to a good Star Wars robe, Sith or Jedi, is proper overall length, sleeve width, sleeve length, and hood size. The sleeve openings are massive and the hood could probably hold at least 3 heads. Clearly their are actual sizing to get it down to actual movie replica standards but as picky as I am, I couldn't be bothered to make it that precise. Between buying the fabric, drawing the cut lines, cutting it out, pinning it together, sewing it and trying it on... the sizing was easily the hardest part. Overall though I remain impressed with my own work (hmm the wife may have helped.. a little).
For the most part, Anakin is a faily easy character as his other costume specifics are a tunic, undershirt, boots and a leather glove. I managed to find the exact Anakin glove (with the 3 buckles) on craigslist for $10 (mind blowing luck) and I had a pair of black boots that were somewhat similar to the leather lace up riding boots from the movie. I ended up making a blue tunic as well. I was going to make a full size tunic but decided that it was a lot of work and on top of everything, I would probably pass out with all the gear on. I made a partial tunic that kind of resembled an apron when done. I just slipped it over my head and tied the fabric belt behind my back. I then layered two pieces of the blue fabric and sewed them in place to make it look like it was a full piece, but the robe hid the fact that it had no back and didn't wrap around me. It looks like I have a black shirt on under it but I just sewed in a black piece of fabric up to the neck area so that it would appear layered. I actually had no shirt on (to keep the heat down). A regular leather belt (with the buckle at the rear) and a pair of black no-name jogging pants and my light saber finished it all off.
I won't pretend that this is Star Wars ultra fan approved, but I will say that it worked great for the small party that I went to and it held up well enough for round 2 at the next costume party. The picture up on the right is me in my costume, probably not the best picture, but you get the idea. Note that the light saber glow is not altered in any way, that is the natural glow you get on camera.