How To Make A "Handmaid's Tale" Costume To Smash The Patriarchy This Halloween

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After Donald Trump won the election last November, many women began to anticipate restrictions and rollbacks on women's health rights. What perfect timing, then, for the Hulu Original show The Handmaid's Tale to premier this past spring. It certainly felt like a frighteningly well-time dystopian warning sign for the U.S.A. And this Halloween, a DIY Handmaid's Tale costume would be the perfect way to make a cultural statement that won't cost you a fortune.

The Handmaid's Tale is based on Margaret Atwood's popular novel of the same name. It tells the story of Offred, who is a "handmaid," or a woman held hostage by wealthy families, raped by the powerful husbands and forced to bear their children in a futuristic United States where most of the women are infertile. It's graphic, but it's the kind of critical art that could help prevent the restriction of women's rights to the point that they become nothing more than the wombs they were born with.

During his candidacy, Trump supported the idea that women should have to go to another state to get an abortion if the procedure becomes illegal in their home state; and, in the past, he's made derogatory remarks about breastfeeding mothers women and women in general. The president's comments are a direct attack on who women are and the lives they lead — his advocacy that we restrict abortion rights will endanger women's health and economic security. Trump has made the personal political for many women, and that's the statement a a Handmaid's Tale costume makes. Many people don't have the luxury of separating any part of their existence from Trump — even on Halloween.

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If you're feeling like taking a stand with this costume, you're going to need three basic things to bring the look into life: a red dress, a robe/cloak, and the infamous bonnet. There are so many variations of this that it can make your head spin. But a frugal approach is actually quite simple. Here's a DIY Handmaid's Tale costume that won't break the bank.

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1The Bonnet

JacquieLongLegs on YouTube

You could buy your own, like this Handmaid's Cloak with Hat Costume ($70, Amazon). You can also make it pretty easily by following this YouTube tutorial by JacquielLongLegs. Making it yourself will be more cost-effective, but it does require some serious sewing machine skills.

2The Dress

Rose Wholesale

It's almost impossible to get a perfect replica of the dress, unless you're willing to pay upwards of $100 on Etsy, like the Handmaid's Tale Costume - Dress, bonnet, and bag ($143, Etsy). If you're wanting to go the cheaper route, a blood red, floor length gown will work, like this Maxi V Neck Flare Long Sleeve Prom Evening Dress ($21, Rose Wholesale) or this Maxi Dress ($55, eShakti).

3The Cloak


This cloak will be great to keep you warm if it's cold outside. Try this Black and Red Reversible Halloween Cape Costume ($22, Amazon).

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4The Shoes

Charlotte Russe

The handmaids wear black slouchy boots. Try something similar, like these Lace-Up Desert Booties ($39, Charlotte Russe). Any boots you already own will also work. The key is that they're flat and dark brown.

5The Satchel


In the show, all the handmaids carry around a white crossbody satchel. Adding this to your costume will be great for carrying your wallet, phone, or any extra candy your little ones collect on Halloween. Try this long-handled tote bag ($2, Totebag Factory). Now you're ready to trick-or-treat / fight the patriarchy.

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