Steph Peterson says the neighbors in her family’s Salt Lake City subdivision often don’t recognize them when they knock on their door each Halloween.
It’s no surprise considering that Peterson, 40, outfits her family of four in handmade costumes that make them look as though they jumped right off the big screen.
The Halloween tradition for the Peterson family started three years ago when Peterson’s daughter, Bailey, was 7 and her son, Gage, was just 4. That year she dressed Bailey as the Red Queen from the movie, “Alice in Wonderland,” while young Gage went as Edward Scissorhands, the character made famous by Johnny Depp in the film of the same name.
“That first year they felt like rock stars because everywhere they went people wanted pictures,” Peterson told GoodMorningAmerica.com. “Now they just love it.”
The next year the entire family got into the act,with Peterson, her husband, Bret, and the kids all dressing as the characters from “Beetlejuice.” This year’s Halloween creation includes even the family dog, all dressed as characters from the David Bowie cult class, “Labyrinth.”
“I just think it’s funny to see the kids be an adult character that’s really well known,” Peterson explained of how she picks the family’s costume theme. “I didn’t think anyone would even know the movie ‘Labyrinth.’”
The family’s costume went viral after Peterson posted a photo of them trying on the costumes earlier this month on Reddit. The costumes, according to Peterson, took her about one week to complete and most of that time was spent on constructing just one costume: the fur body suit and construction foam headpiece worn by Bret Peterson as the character, Lido.
“I get an idea in my head and I just work until it’s done,” she said.
Peterson started making her own Halloween costumes in 2005 when she wanted to go as “Corpse Bride,” from the Tim Burton movie of the same name, and couldn’t find a costume that met her match. Instead, she made one herself, despite having no sewing experience.
The next year, in 2006, Peterson quit her job in public relations and opened her own store on Etsy, where she specializes in custom Halloween costumes and, in the off-season, wedding dresses. She says her original “Corpse Bride” costume is still her most popular, along with a ballerina costume inspired by the Natalie Portman movie, “Black Swan.”
Peterson, who works from home, says the funniest thing when the family appears in costume at Halloween parties and trick-or-treating is people’s reaction to seeing them all dressed up.
“I think people are surprised to see the parents are so in on it,” she said. “Sometimes people don’t even know who we are.”