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Harlequin Halloween Costume

Harlequin -- a centuries-old character from improvisational European theater -- is known for clownish behavior, acrobatics, and brightly colored clothes. Does that sound like anyone you know? This modern take makes a fun costume for spirited kids. An ordinary white button-down shirt, decorated with iron-on diamond shapes cut from colored satin, is the foundation of the outfit.

Photography: Glen Glasser

Source: Martha Stewart


Wear white tights and dance shorts under this costume. White gloves are optional. Use the template as a guide for applying the white face paint.


  • Iron-on adhesive such as Heat 'n Bond

  • Polyester satin in assorted colors

  • White button-down shirt

  • Iron

  • White cotton fabric

  • Basic sewing supplies

  • White ribbon, 1/2-inch width, 2 yards

  • Satin ribbon in various colors

  • Ballet slippers

  • White duct tape


  1. For the shirt, make large and small diamonds: Following package instructions, fuse adhesive to wrong side of satin. Use diamond templates to trace shapes; cut out. Arrange diamonds to find a pattern you like on shirt. Iron in place.

  2. For the bustle, hem edges of a 12-by-88-inch rectangle of white cotton fabric, sewing a 5/8-inch channel along one long side. Decorate with satin diamonds as described above. Use safety pin to thread ribbon through channel. Gather fabric together. Stitch a 12-inch piece of ribbon to each side of shirt. Tie ribbons on bustle to ribbons on shirt.

  3. For ballet slippers, cut four 30-inch lengths of satin ribbon (we used different colors). Use white duct tape to secure the ends into the insides of ballet slippers.


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