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DIY Halloween Costume: Circus Wagon

Our last stop on this incredible, fabulous Circus extravaganza is the DIY Circus Wagon. Wagons are great for little ones who can’t walk the whole time and it proves a great landing spot for gobs of candy. The Circus Trio can be mixed and matched – just the lion and the cage, just the ringmaster and lion or the whole shebang and it’s perfect for a sibling pair. Click here for even more Halloween costume ideas!

Check out the other DIY costumes from this series!

Circus Lion
Circus Ringmaster


(7) 48”x1/2” wooden poles
(2) 48”x1”x3” wood boards
Red spraypaint
Gold spraypaint
1 sheet 22×28” red posterboard
2 sheets gold glitter paper
5” letter stencils
1 9”x12” sheet red felt
1 9”x12” sheet white felt
16 ft white parachute cord

Double stick tape
Red duct tape
½” drill bit
Wood glue
Hay (optional)


step-1Have the hardware store cut the 48”x1”x3” boards to two 34.5” pieces and two 13.5” pieces. Have them cut the 48” poles in half to (14) 24” long poles.

step-1 Spraypaint the 14 poles gold, and the 4 boards red, on all sides of each piece. Let dry 1 hour.

step-2 Arrange the red boards in a rectangle on the floor, with the 13.5” pieces inside of the longer pieces. The final rectangle should be about 34.5” x 15” x 3”. Use wood glue to secure the boards together, let dry for 2 hours.

step-3On the top skinny 1” side of the two long 34.5” boards, mark the holes for the poles with the pencil. Mark the first hole in dead center of the board, and then the remaining holes will be 4.7” from each other until there are 7 holes. The last holes on each side should be about 1” from the end of the board. Repeat with the other 34.5” board.

step-4 On the top skinny 1” side of one of the 13.5” boards, mark 2 holes about 4.5” from each other and 4.5” from the edges of the board. Leave the last board blank, that will be the “door” to your circus cage.

step-4 Drill each hole, about ¼” deep. Insert each gold pole with a bit of wood glue and adjust their position until they are straight and perpendicular to the red rectangle frame. Let dry for 2 hours.

step-4 Wrap the tan base of the wagon with red duct tape until covered. Flip the gold cage & frame over and place inside the wagon to rest on the wooden lip. The cage “door” should be at the front of the wagon. Use red duct tape to secure the base of each pole to the sides of the wagon.

step-8Cut the posterboard to two 7”x28” strips. Tape a strip down the middle of each of the long wagon sides.

step-9Trace the letter stencils for “Circus” on the gold glitter paper and cut out. I found it easier to trace the letters in reverse on the un-glittered backside of the paper. Tape the letters on the posterboard on each side of the wagon.

step-10Draw out 3” x 12” strips on the red and white felt. Mark a small line every 1.5” down each strip line. Draw out 3” triangles in each strip and cut out. Hot glue the triangle pennants to the parachute cord. Glue the pennant garland to the red frame of the circus cage.

step-11Fill the bottom of the wagon with hay and add your little lion!

hotography: Ruth Eileen Photography | Design & Styling: Jess Blazejewski For SMP Living

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DIY Halloween Costume: Circus Ringmaster

In terms of Halloween costumes, this circus trio is bringing its A-game. First we had the fierce (read, adorable) circus lion and now the gold epaulettes adorned ringmaster. It’s a super simple DIY made from quick add-ons to all ready owned clothes making this a great money saver. And who knows, maybe your little one already has a top hat in their closet. It’s certainly a fashion must!

Red jacket
Black pants
White button down shirt
Black top hat
Gold duct tape
1 yard gold rope trim
1 yard gold tassel trim
1 sheet black stiffened felt
2 sheets black felt
14” embroidery hoop
Gold spraypaint
1 sheet of red, orange, and yellow paper
Hot glue gun
Safety pins
Glue sticks
Cuff, lapel, and epaulette templates


step-1 Tape a line of gold duct tape down the side of the pants and to form a stripe. Repeat on the other side. Tape a line on the arms of the jacket, from the cuff up to the collar.

step-1 Print out the templates. Cut out each shape. Trace 2 epaulettes on the stiffened felt. Trace 2 cuffs and 2 lapels on the soft felt. Cut out all the felt shapes.

step-2 Hot glue the gold tassel trim around the edge of the epaulettes. Glue on the gold rope trim on the top edge. Safety pin each epaulette to the shoulders of the jacket. Safety pin the cuffs on the sleeves of the jacket, and the lapels on the collar and body of the jacket.

step-3 Spray paint the interior circle of the embroidery hoop gold on all sides and let dry ½ hour.

step-4 Make the flaming ring. Cut flame shapes from the red, orange and yellow papers. Stack them together and hot glue to each other. Turn them over, and trace the rim of the hoop on the back. Cut along the traced line. Glue the flames to the hoop.

step-4Dress your child in the white button down shirt, black pants, black bowtie, red jacket, and top hat. Hand them the flaming ring and they’re ready to direct the circus!

Check out these other DIY Costume Ideas

Sushi Roll | Stormy Rain Cloud | Ice Cream Man with Faux Cones!

Photography: Ruth Eileen Photography | Design & Styling: SMP Living

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
DIY Halloween Costume: Circus Lion

This cute little lion is perfect all on its own but when you add in a circus wagon and a fire loop wielding ringmaster (coming up next!), it takes this getup to a whole new level of awesome. Starting with a furry snowsuit, faux fur and a feather boa, this fierce little lion was born. It’s a show-stopper, costume contest winner kind of costume, which is totally the best kind. For more DIY halloween ideas, click here.


Furry snowsuit
Gold feather boa
Large chenille stem
Safety pins
¼ yard faux fur fabric
Black facepaint crayon


step-1 Make the mane. Fold the feather boa in half. Center it over the snowsuit hood, and position it to frame the edge of the hood around the face and slightly down the edge of the zipper. Safety pin it in place (I put all the safety pins from the inside of the hood so they were mostly invisible).

step-1 Add fur to the suit. Cut the fur fabric into 3” wide strips, one for the cuff of each arm and leg of the suit. Safety pin the cuffs onto the suit.

step-2Make the tail. Cut two small, roughly 3” triangles of fur fabric. Cut a 12” length of chenille stem and hot glue one end inside a fur triangle. Pin that triangle to the bum of the suit. Hot glue the other triangle around the other end of the tail.

step-3 Tuck your little one in their lion suit and zip it up to where the mane begins. Draw on a little black nose with the facepaint crayon before they wiggle away!

Check out these other DIY Costume Ideas

Stormy Rain Cloud | Ice Cream Man with Faux Cones! | Cotton Candy

Photography: Ruth Eileen Photography | Design & Styling: Jess Blazejewski For SMP Living

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Behind the Blog: A Couple Cooks

Have I mentioned I love the Behind the Blog series? Because I totally do. Getting to know the folks behind some of my favorite blogs never gets old, and I am beyond thrilled that we get to cozy up with the darling duo behind A Couple Cooks today. I’ve been a big fan for some time now (constantly wishing they would appear in my kitchen right around dinner time), and it’s safe to say I love them even more after getting to know them better. They are kind of adorable in every way.

SMP: What is one piece of advice you would give to a blogger just starting out?

It sounds a little cliche, but be true to yourself. It’s easy to want to compare to other bloggers or give in to advertisers, but stick to your values and voice: it’s what makes you unique and why readers come back to your site! Every day Alex and I have to make choices about what opportunities and content are the right fit for our blog, and how to stay true to our personal brand.

SMP: What is your favorite item in your home?

Can my kitchen be my favorite item? We did a full kitchen renovation and we now spend most of our time in this room. I love to cook and spend time with people I love, and generally both things happen in this room!

SMP: Any guilty pleasures?

The nice thing about our food philosophy is that we’ve removed guilt from our vocabulary, so everything is game (in moderation, of course)! But if you must know, for me: breakfast cereal. I could eat it for every meal.

SMP: Your go-to recipe?

Depends on the situation. If it’s a delicious and relatively easy dinner, we’ve made this Italian White Bean Soup more than any recipe on our blog.

SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?

Learning to cook can change your life and our world. For most of my life, I was never interested in cooking. It wasn’t until I jumped in that I realized 1. how delicious healthy, whole foods could be 2. how fun the process could be, especially with people you love. I was horrible at it to start, but it helped to have Alex by my side. Through the process, we got healthier and happier, and learned about how the food choices we make can connect us to our community and affect the sustainability of our world’s resources.

SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life?

Say no. A lot. Don’t be afraid to say no to things that are not the right fit; not only will they take up your time, but the will pigeonhole you into work that you aren’t passionate about. Stick with your strengths and stay laser-focused on your goals. Remember that rest and play are important too; you can only do your best work when you’re well-rested enough to be open to inspiration. And, find an advocate that will help you stick up for yourself! Mine is Alex–he is amazing at helping me say no at the right times.

SMP: Three things every home should have?

A kitchen island, lots of windows, and some character / charm.

SMP: One thing you can’t live without?

Is it cheesy to say my husband? I literally could not exist without him. He is my best friend, my artistic partner, my business advisor, my soulmate. Next on the list: coffee. Dark roast, Chemex or aeropress style. I’m addicted.

SMP: If you could buy yourself a single gift of any cost, what would it be?

A studio / kitchen space with huge windows and white walls.

SMP: What color do you think will stand the test of trend time?

Gray? I’m obsessed with anything gray in decor and clothing; I hope that it never goes out of style!

SMP: Your top 5 design tips?

Combining modern + antiques
Neutrals with pops of color
Varied textures (rugs, throws,etc)
Adding shiny metals / mirrors

SMP: Advice you’d give to your younger self?

I think about this a lot, actually! Slow down, learn to love the process instead of the end goal. Listen to yourself; make time and space to dream, Give yourself grace to fail and learn. Silence the inner critic who tries to tear you down. Know your boundaries and don’t be afraid to state them. Above all, approach all people with love and humility. Know that everyone has a story and deserves grace and respect.

SMP: What’s one thing you really want to do, but have never done?

Write a book. My other bucket list items are catch a fish (I recently achieved that in Alaska) and retire.

SMP: One place everyone must visit in their lifetime?

Italy. We honeymooned in Rome and on the Amalfi Coast and it was to die for. Can I add two more? Spain — I studied abroad there and am in deep smit with the food, people, language, and landscape — and Greece. We travelled to the island of Santorini recently and it was stunning.

SMP: Stranded on a desert island question… what’s the one cocktail you would take with you?

Margaritas! You can’t be stressed about being stranded with a margarita in your hand.

SMP: Your favorite instagrammer?

Man, I follow so many. I will say Aiala Hernando. She’s an amazing photographer and virtual friend. I’d love to live in her world!

SMP: Do you have any secret talents?

I can salsa dance. I also was a music major and used to play the French horn and piano competitively. Most people I see today don’t know about those phases!

SMP: If you could dine with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

I have to pick just one person? If alive people, Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Jamie Oliver, Jose Andres, and Alton Brown. If dead, Julia Child. She’s my biggest inspiration.

Blog: A Couple Cooks

Abby Capalbo

Design, Styling, Parties
A New Twist on Paint Night

I’m always looking for a good excuse for a girls night, and let me just tell you, if I saw this paint night hosted by the lovely Kari Rider, I would have my girls signed up in a hot second. But since Kari is just as sweet as they come, she’s giving us tips on how to recreate just such an evening in the comfort of your own home, cocktails included. Don’t you just love her?

Here at Kari Rider Events, we’re always on the hunt for an opportunity to gather the girls, and we found the perfect excuse jumping on the popular paint and wine night bandwagon. Naturally, we wanted to put our own twist on the night, so we ditched the bold colors and intense scenes of paint nights past, opting instead for a soft and cheery color scheme inspired by the night’s citrus painting. A few fun details—like gorgeous orange and blue blooms from Monterey Farms, jute welcome bags with hand-lettered place cards by Poppy and Scooter, and adorable DIY dip-dyed pillar candles—helped set the tone for a night of palette-sharpening fun (or at the very least palate-sharpening thanks to our signature sparkling citrus sangria!).

Here are five tips for recreating our paint and wine night at home

Choose a Simple Subject

You can find inspiration for your painting subject anywhere. Just remember, your guests are most likely all novice painters, so be careful to choose a subject that isn’t too involved. We chose this orange painting based on its simple design and manageable features.

Enlist a Professional

Even if your guests have some painting experience, it’s best to bring in an instructor to keep everyone on the same page and up to the same pace. Franchise paint night organizations aren’t your only option. For a truly unique experience, try contacting a local artist like we did.

Stick with a Theme

The theme for the evening will most likely stem from the painting subject you choose. Once we decided on the orange painting, we were able to weave that theme through the rest of the event’s details. We went with an orange and blue color scheme—which popped in the flower arrangements by Monteray Farms—served a sparkling citrus sangria as the signature drink, and DIYed Summer Citrus Potpourri Sachets for the welcome bags. To bring in a little more blue, we followed a simple, three-step dip-dyed candle tutorial from Martha Stewart.

Make it Personal

Personal touches go a long way in making guests feel extra special. The attendees of our paint night were greeted with hand-lettered place cards attached to small jute welcome bags and aprons adorned with the Kari Rider Events logo (both lettered by Poppy & Scooter). As an alternative, have a calligrapher letter each guest’s name on Joann Fabric’s twill aprons, or do it yourself if you have pretty handwriting.

Plan Appropriately

Be sure to arrange your table setup so that everyone can easily see the instructor—angling the chairs toward the front of the room is an easy trick. Also, keep in mind this can be a messy event, so dress your tables accordingly. We used drop cloths for our table coverings—an affordable alternative to standard linens and one that fits perfectly with the paint night vibe. Since your guests will be sitting down for long periods of time, your menu also needs to be carefully planned. Gourmet by the Bay chose cold finger foods that paired well with the signature drink and sauvignon blanc at our paint night.

Photography: CJK Visuals | Event Design: Kari Rider Events | Florist: Monteray Farms | Catering: Gourmet By The Bay | Calligraphy: Poppy And Scooter | Apron: JoAnn Fabric | Dip-dyed Candles: Martha Stewart | Event Studio: Kari Rider Events | Instructor: Sarah Hutchison Focht | Invitation Design: Cara Smith Designs | Rentals: Eastern Shore Tents And Events | Welcome Bags: Paper Mart | Wine And Signature Drink: Hair O' The Dog

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here