In Norse mythology, a valkyrie is one of a host of female figures who choose those who may die in battle and those who may live. Selecting among half of those who die in battle, the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin. Valkyries also appear as lovers of heroes and other mortals, where they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty, sometimes accompanied by ravens, and sometimes connected to swans or horses. (read more at wikipedia.org/wiki/Valkyrie)
The Ride of the Valkyries is the popular term for the beginning of Act III of Die Walküre, the second of the four operas by Richard Wagner that constitute Der Ring des Nibelungen. You have probably heard it many times on TV or in the movies. Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd even covered Ride of the Valkyries… listen on YouTube… now tell me, you were singing “Kill The Wabbit, Kill The Wabbit, Kill The Wabbit ….” weren’t you!
(read more at wikipedia.org/wiki/Ride_of_the_Valkyries)
The Met in HD presented the Die Walküre in summer 2011. After watching that performance at Walk Festival Hall I was inspired for my next costume. The skirt from the Gray Lady costume I made the prior year would work perfectly and I spent the summer/fall going through my closets, jewelry boxes, craft supplies, and shopped yard sales and second hand stores for things that I could re-purpose for the costume. When the Jackson Hole Community Band passed out new music for the 2011 Halloween Concert it included Ride of the Valkyrie, perfect! The flute section all dressed as Valkyries with me.
Accessories are the most important part of any costume, I started with the Gray Lady Skirt, a tank top from my wardrobe, I made some shoulder armor and a head dress, and the rest is just accessories.
I found some wrist cuffs in a discount jewelry store that fit the costume. I used a belt to hike up the skirt and make it look more like a riding dress. Under the skirt is black boots and a pair of black denim colored leggins.
The metallic shirt was one I had in my closet for several years, dangerously close to being out of fashion, it worked perfectly for the armor top. I used a black lace turtle neck from the Gray Lady costume, wrapped it with a belt from a second hand store and added several pieces of jewelry from my vintage collection. The choker is made from a vintage silver mesh choker and a broken vintage belt buckle. The silver colored purse is something I found in a clearance bin, I knew it would work with the costume but I can’t remember where I found it.
I cut it in half, and cut each half into pieces. Using a hole punch I punched 2 holes in the ends of each piece. Using ribbon I looped through all the holes and connected the op with silver color vintage looking buttons from my many jars of buttons. Safety pins attached the shoulder armor securely to the sleeves of the tank top.
The headdress required a little research, and was the most time consuming part of the costume. I spent many mornings Googling photos to come up with a conceptual idea that would not be too complicated, or expensive, I had to make 5 of them. Then went shopping.
- Silver gadgets from my crafting box (purchased at a garage sale)
- Belts from second hand store
- White feathers (from craft store)
- Black feathers, I found a set of black angel wings at a Halloween store that was cheaper than buying a large bag of feathers.
- Some silver dove Christmas ornaments from the dollar store
- Leather hole punch
- Faux leather cord, another yard sale find.
- Large silver Beads
I started this project by plucking the black feathers from the angel wing and pulling the wings off the Christmas doves, laying it out on a tray. I didn’t get struck by lightning so next I took the belts to rehearsal and fitted them to the everyone heads marking them with a pen. I cut the belts down to size and punched holes where needed. I used the leather cord to hand stitch the belt into a headband, adding a few beads to the end to give it a finished look.
I have no idea what the silver thing’s original purpose was, they were in a lot of jewelry or crafting materials I picked up a few years prior at a garage sale. They had a 1960’s look and the wide end was hollow. One side had an adjustable knob on it, all it needed to attach to the headdress was a hole in the leather, the other side had embellishments that I removed.
I arranged the feathers into the silver thing and used hot glue to keep them in place and glued a dove wing over the top. Once the glue dried I hot glued buttons over the rough ends of the dove wing to give it a finished look. See all the headdresses here.
I wore this costume for the 2011 and 2013 Halloween Concerts. The 2014 Halloween concert is Saturday October 25th 3PM at Walk Festival Hall, Teton Village. I’m busy working on a new costume for this year, subscribe to my blog to get a notification when I post the results.