Strawberry Shortcake and Friends! Halloween Costume Entry 2023

Life is funny, surprising, and often circular. I always loved the Strawberry Shortcake of my childhood, with her cute pinafore dress, her house made of cake, and all her sweet baked-goods inspired friends. I have long wanted to make a Strawberry Shortcake costume for myself for Halloween, even going so far as to buy all the materials when I was in grad school at UIUC. Of course school was so busy that I never managed to finish it. I graduated, and moved to NH, then KY. Since I had cut out and pieced the red dress, but hadn’t finished it, it was eventually donated to a student production at WKU, that needed a red babydoll dress for a plus sized actress. So at least it was perfect for that! We moved to TN, and then last year, we decided to come back to the town we met, and where I went to school, Urbana-Champaign.

Fast Forward to this year! I was trying to come up with a good idea for Ada’s Halloween costume. She’s an active toddler, so it had to move well and be comfortable. When I was looking through her closet, I came upon a plain red dress from Primary, that I bought on clearance in the spring. Later that day, I was going through my fabric stash, and found the fabric I had bought for my own Strawberry Shortcake hat all those years ago. It’s a beautiful pink embroidered linen, covered in strawberries, vines and berry blossoms. Clearly it was a sign: My cute little kid, was going to be an even cuter little cake-baby!

I had to make the pinafore, bloomers, and hat. I planned on drafting the patterns for all of those myself, but few weeks ago my MIL came up to help me take care of Ada while Jim was out of town, and we went to the creative reuse store in town. In their bin of patterns, I found an uncut pattern, in her size that included both bloomers in two lengths, and a pinafore! For $1! I cut the pinafore from white cotton fabric in my stash. It can be worn with the straps straight back, or criss-crossed. The green diamonds were from a fat quarter in my stash, and the strawberry patches were purchased for my original costume in 2005. They were even still on their card from the store. I did the oversized red cross stitched with embroidery thread. I ended up tacking the pinafore to the dress so they wouldn’t get tangled on a moving kiddo.

The bloomers in the commercial pattern were too short, so I just lengthened them a little. The butt got 4 rows of white eyelet ruffle trim, and the hem got another layer of eyelet.

Here’s a shot of her in just the bloomers, so you can see how they fit. The tights (which are actually very thick, more like a tee shirt) came from an Etsy seller who specializes in making striped tights, for babies and kids in 39 freaking colors. (She’s amazing!) The shoes are a pair of brown baby sneakers from Target.

The hat is a modified chef’s hat, with a shortened band, and an added brim. I used a free printable Peter Pan collar to make the brim, which is interfaced with iron on fleece to give it a little thickness. The hat body is a 24" diameter circle, that was flat lined with 3 layers of pink tulle, then gathered and sewn to the red band. The brim and band lining were sewn to the other edge of the band, and then I hand stitched the other end of the band lining in place. The layers of tulle gave the hat more body, without adding weight.

I then made a slit in the top layer of tulle, and then inserted wadded up bits of tulle scraps around the outer top edge, to give the whole thing more fluff.

Then I stitched up a 3D strawberry out of scraps of felt, and hand stitched it on top.

After all the work on the costume, I decided she needed a custom candy bag. I have had this Strawberry Shortcake fabric in my stash for years. I think it was sent to me in a swap. She has since been carrying it around the living room, filling it with toys, and then taking them all back out.

I hadn’t originally planned on making costumes for Jim & I, but when I bumped into our neighbors across the street just 8 days before Halloween, they mentioned their daughter (just 5 weeks older than Ada) was going to be Baby Yoda, while dad would be Han Solo and mom would be Chewbacca. I clearly couldn’t let them out do us on Halloween! Time to figure out costumes for Jim & I.

I looked back through all of the classic characters. The two simplest to make were also the only two male characters. The aforementioned Huckleberry Pie, and the villain of the franchise, the Peculiar Purple Pie Man of Porcupine Peak, who lives to steal berries for his pies.

Huckleberry Pie is modeled on Huck Finn, and wears overalls. My little dumpling shape is not meant for overalls, at any time, ever., so clearly Jim was going to fulfill his Halloween destiny and be Huckleberry. I ordered overalls for Drive Thru pickup from Farm & Fleet. (Living in an agricultural area has it’s perks. Apparently if you are so busy farming you don’t have time to go into a store, Farm & Fleet will let you drive thru.) Since I wanted Jim to at least be as comfortable as possible in this getup, I went with a plain purple tee shirt from Amazon, rather than a more elaborate wide sleeved button down period shirt. I found an Etsy seller with a 1-yard remnant of 3/4" wide striped green & white fabric, which I used to make his cuffs, and neckerchief.

His hat is a beachcomber straw piece I picked up on eBay. I trimmed off the excess floppy straws and make it less beachy. I found some artificial leaves and berries in my stash, and painted the berries blue, then stitched them through the straw. Voila! Aside from the fact that the hat was a little small for his giant noggin, he was all done, and relatively comfortable.

Finally there was me. The Peculiar Purple Pieman.


Because it would be cold, I swapped his short sleeve light blue tee for a long sleeve one from Amazon, and paired it with dark jeans instead of tights. A plain white apron from Walmart was just $5.

Next I made myself the hat. I had some plain 1 yard cuts of navy and turquoise in my stash from my mom. I grabbed another of purple while I was at Walmart, and set to work. The band was made up of 2.5" strips, sewed into a checkerboard. The top is a huge 35" diameter circle (an average adult chef’s hat would be 20"-24"), that I again flat lined with tulle. I slit another hole, and stuffed it with more tulle scraps to give it lots of fluff and body.

The final item I needed to sell the costume… a pie! I didn’t want to carry around a real pie. I might drop it, or Ada might grab it, etc. So a faux pie it was. I crocheted it out of super bulky yarn. The crust is 2 strands of Lion Brand Homespun held together. The top is a purple/blue multicolor of Bernat Blanket. This was nice because I was able to work on it at night while Ada was asleep, and didn’t need to be in my studio to sew it.

The Pieman often sends his birds to steal berries, so I grabbed some faux crows off Amazon, and attached one to the pie.

I am thrilled with how everything came out. Unfortunately it was FREEZING here that night (it was literally about 33 degrees), and Ada is so little, that even with extra layers of plain tights, onesies, etc, we only ended up trick or treating 6 houses. She only wore the whole getup for about 30 minutes. I think we spent longer taking pictures than walking outside. So we’re holding a second Halloween with friends later this month, so all the kids can rewear their costumes. And Jim & I can rewear ours too! This time I’ll add more of the faux birds to mine. Maybe one on top of the hat, and one on my shoulder.

Hope you all had a Berry Sweet Halloween too!


Great costumes! :slight_smile:

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I love it when I see the entire family get dressed up! I give everyone candy!

What a great job thinking through what could be made and what could help you timewise by buying! You are both busy parents, so this makes so much sense!

Ada looks so darling…those tights and the big old hat are perfect!

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This is freakin’ amazing! A blast from the past, and so well executed… the faux pie is the perfect finishing touch.


This is amazing!!!

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I almost forgot! I made her a little candy bag to go with the costume.


This is actually a lot of what you do as a professional costumer. In theatre, there is only ever so much manpower to build your design, so you have to plan to pull from your own stock, or to borrow, rent or buy everything else. I think the rise is Cosplay and Cosplayers being so visible on social media, has muddied the waters. It makes it seem as though every single component of a costume must be handmade, when that’s not the case. Cosplay is as much about the build, as it is about the wearing, and they are generally making just 1 costume at a time. With a full show, you have a budget set by the theatre, and you have to clothe so many more people. It just would never make sense to build everything.


Exactly what I learned from my working with the professional costume designer here! The goal is to create the “feeling”, the “expression”, the “mood”. If people feel like they are looking at the 1900’s, they are not looking at each little piece of clothing, just the overall effect.

That is indeed a talent that comes from experience…know where you get the most bang for your buck and time!!

BTW…the pie is epic…


This is so fun! My little sis was a SS fan back in the 60’s!


What phenomenal costumes! The cuteness!!! Ack!

It’s nice you will be able to wear them again, but really, as long as you get some good pictures, you’ll have the memories forever. Sweet!


Freakin’ SWEET! Everything is super adorable fantastic - and that PIE!

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This was just meant to be!! So many awesome details. You guys look awesome!!!

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I love the story and all of the details thought out and executed, so perfect! I think my favorite part are the darling bloomers, so so cute!


EPIC SHORTCAKERY! It was as much fun to read about how you “cobbled” together these costumes as it was to look at the pics. Well, except the frilly bum, that’s more fun!

OMG that is gorgeous.  especially the little is so cute.
You did put a lot work in it.
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That is the cutest family outfit I’ve seen! :heart_eyes::heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

Also child of the 80’s me love the whole strawberry shortcake universe! I had tons of Holly Hobby things too when I was even younger cause my mom like the style.


I am so impressed with your work!
All three of you look amazing and little Ada looks so adorable!

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So cute! You guys look so great together! You put so much love into Ada’s costume! And I love that you expanded on it by dressing up the grownups, too! The frilly bum and the pie are the best!

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This is so sweet, and you all look great. The tulle to make the hats poofy was genius!

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That is super cute!!

(and my sympathies on having entered the phase of small child wrangling that involves joyously putting things in a bag, carrying them to another room, and dumping them on the floor… :laughing:)