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The alternative costume resource, with no-sew DIY designs for great women in history and mythology.

UPDATE!  WE MADE IT!!!

Thanks to you, our fantastic backers, we reached our final stretch goal and then some.  We're winding this thing up at over 300% of our initial funding goal, which is absolutely astounding. 

We are so honored and heartened by the support we've received from all quarters. Thank you, everyone, so very much.   And the media attention has been intense!  Thank you, journalists, for recognizing the movement towards a more diverse, creative, and empowering Halloween.

Happy dance forever!  The coming year at Take Back Halloween is going to be fantabulous.

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UPDATE!  Welcome to the final phase of our Kickstarter:  Operation Nefertiti.  Our ultimate goal:  $13,500.

Thanks to our fantastic backers, we've already reached our first two stretch goals.  (Yay!!!)  The outpouring of support for this project has just been amazing. 

So with our final stretch goal here in the last week of our Kickstarter, we're going to aim for some things we've never had the time or money for:

(More details here.)

Thank you, all of you, for joining us on this exhilarating ride.  Thank you for showing the world that women want diverse, creative, empowering costumes.  Thank you for helping us take back Halloween!

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UPDATE!  Welcome to Phase 3 of our Kickstarter:  Operation Hecate.

We're overwhelmed by the love and support for this project.  We've already passed our first stretch goal (Operation Ishtar) and are now into our second stretch goal! 

(Do women and girls care about having empowering, creative costumes? WHAT DO YOU THINK?)

Our goal with Operation Hecate is to hit $9,000.  That will fund four more costumes, including of course the weird and wonderful Hecate:

We're very excited about this goal, because these costumes will be flat-out fantastic:

  • Hecate:  the goddess of the crossroads, strongly associated with magic and sorcery.  But she's not evil:  the ancients also revered her as a Great Goddess, and in some places she was worshipped as a protective household deity. 
  • Marie Laveau:  one of the most mysterious figures in American history, Marie Laveau was a powerful Voodoo priestess whose legend still haunts New Orleans.
  • Two more wild card costumes:  backers will get to vote from our full list of possibilities, and we'll also open the floor to more suggestions! 

The outpouring of love for this project just goes to show how much pent-up demand there is for an alternative to Sexy Hamburger costumes. (Sexy Hamburger?  Really?) 

Thank you so much, all of you, for helping us bring diverse, creative, empowering costumes back to Halloween!

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UPDATE!  Welcome to Phase 2 of our Kickstarter:  Operation Ishtar.

Thanks to the outpouring of enthusiasm for our project, we've blown past our initial goal and are now into stretch goal territory.  And that means more amazingly creative, empowering costumes.

Our goal with Operation Ishtar is to hit $7,000, which will unleash all kinds of awesome:

Think of it! 

  • Inanna-Ishtar:  the Ur-Goddess, the amazing Sumerian Queen of Heaven who was worshipped for 4,000 years, and whose image lives on in countless ways.
  • Queen Esther:  the heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther, whose story is celebrated every year at Purim.  People have been asking us for a Queen Esther costume since we started; now's our chance!
  • Two more wild card costumes:  backers will get to vote from our full list of possibilities---from Nefertiti to Elizabeth I, from Guinevere to La Llorona, from Ida B. Wells to Isadora Duncan.

Thanks to all of you for helping to bring empowering costumes to women and girls.  Thank you for helping us Take Back Halloween!

*****original Kickstarter text below*****

Take Back Halloween is on a mission:  a mission to make the world safe for creative and empowering costumes. 

You won't find costumes for Frida Kahlo or Hatshepsut in the stores.  You won't find costumes for powerful goddesses like Isis or the Morrigan.  But you will find them at Take Back Halloween, the only website in the world devoted to showing women how to dress up as famous heroines, geniuses, queens, and goddesses.  Without sewing!

Our costume design for pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read.
Our costume design for pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read.


Our first Kickstarter project funded a whole season of new costumes, from the freaky Baba Yaga to the graceful Artemis.

Our costume for Baba Yaga, the scary witch of Slavic folklore.
Our costume for Baba Yaga, the scary witch of Slavic folklore.
Our Artemis costume, replete with sacred plush deer.
Our Artemis costume, replete with sacred plush deer.

Now we're launching a new season of amazing DIY costumes.  We're adding Eleanor of Aquitaine, Catherine the Great, Bessie Coleman, Empress Theodora, and more. 

Like all of our costumes, our new designs will be easy to put together with absolutely no sewing required. 

All our costumes are based on ready-made items:  stuff that's either already in your closet, on sale at eBay or some other retailer, or in stock at a costume store.  For each costume we give you full instructions on how to pull it off, with tons of graphics and design details.

Our costume design for Queen Mab, the fairy queen of the British Isles.  This costume is entirely assembled from ready-made items.
Our costume design for Queen Mab, the fairy queen of the British Isles. This costume is entirely assembled from ready-made items.

Plus, we include accurate historical information about every single figure.  In fact, our site is popular with educators for exactly that reason.  Thinking about what people wore is an incredibly fun way to learn history.

Hatshepsut was the female king of Egypt in about 1500 BCE.
Hatshepsut was the female king of Egypt in about 1500 BCE.
Ching Shih, or Madame Ching, was one of the most successful pirates in history.
Ching Shih, or Madame Ching, was one of the most successful pirates in history.
Athena wasn't just the patron of Athens; she was worshipped throughout Greece, and in fact her cult probably dates back to pre-Greek times.
Athena wasn't just the patron of Athens; she was worshipped throughout Greece, and in fact her cult probably dates back to pre-Greek times.

And our website is completely free and available to everyone!

That's why we need your backing.  To bring another season of our free costume designs to the world, we need your support.

What we mean by “taking it back”

We love Halloween. We really love Halloween. We think it’s cool that there’s one day a year when people can dress up as anything they want.  What we don’t think is cool is that, increasingly, the only costumes available for women and girls are of the ultra-sexy persuasion. 

There’s nothing wrong with sexy (for adults), and if you want to go that route, fine. Have fun! We just want there to be other options as well.  We think Halloween is a fantastic opportunity to explore history and mythology, celebrate your heritage, or just wear a magnificent outfit.

Queen Liliuokalani was the last reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Queen Liliuokalani was the last reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
 

Why it matters

Take Back Halloween is unique.  It's the only website in the world that focuses on costumes for the great women of history and mythology. 

When a girl or woman goes online to find out how to dress up as the goddess Isis, for example, she finds our site.  If she wants to know how to dress up as the amazing Boudicca, she finds our site.  If she wants to know how to dress up as the brilliant Ada Lovelace, she finds our site.  We're it. (The commercial costume industry sure isn't doing the job.)

Ada Lovelace, one of the many geniuses we feature,  is the unofficial patron saint of women in STEM.
Ada Lovelace, one of the many geniuses we feature, is the unofficial patron saint of women in STEM.

In fact, Take Back Halloween is the #1 ranked result in Google for dozens of costumes:  Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, Boudicca, Ada Lovelace, Hatshepsut, Persephone, Isis, Freyja, Anne Bonny, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, the Queen of Sheba, Josephine Baker, and many more. 

Our Isis costume has become almost as popular as our Greek goddess costumes.
Our Isis costume has become almost as popular as our Greek goddess costumes.

And despite our name, we're not just about Halloween.  People use our costumes all year long, for Black History Month, Women's History Month, school plays, reenactments, community festivals, and more.  We get millions of visits from all over the world.  

Our site has become an important resource for people who want to learn more about women's history and our global heritage.  We take seriously our responsibility to provide accurate information and a positive, enlightening experience.


Our new season of costumes

With your help, we're ready to launch a whole new season of wonderful costumes.  The popularity of our site means that our costs have ballooned since last year, and they're still going up.  So we've divided our project into a basic funding goal, which is the minimum we need to guarantee a new season of costumes, and stretch goals to add even more costumes.

Our basic funding goal will allow us to develop six new costumes, with one of them to be voted on by our Kickstarter backers.   We'll get the Bessie Coleman costume ready in time for Black History Month in February, and then do the vote for the sixth costume following Women's History Month in March.  The rest of the costumes will debut at various points in the spring/summer of 2014.  

We're also going to add some new site features to help people sort through our 80+ costumes.

We will be thrilled just to raise enough money for the basic season.   If we somehow raise more than that, we'll add more costumes, with even more opportunities for backer input.  Here's a preview of the stretch goals we have in mind, just in case we get there:

Rewards

We love our backers and we love to share our designs.  No matter what your level of support, we have something for you--from Value Voter to Costume Commissioner.

Lasiren, also spelled La Sirène, is the Haitian mermaid goddess of the sea.  This costume was especially commissioned by a backer of our first Kickstarter project.
Lasiren, also spelled La Sirène, is the Haitian mermaid goddess of the sea. This costume was especially commissioned by a backer of our first Kickstarter project.

All our backers will be enrolled in the Voting List, which means you get to vote on the new costumes.  You'll also receive our monthly newsletter with updates throughout the year. 

For more tangible rewards, we've created a variety of small posters (8x10 and 11x14), available both as digital downloads and as professionally printed physical posters.  These fit right into standard frames and mats, and make wonderful gifts.  We'll be shipping all of them in time for the holidays.  

We also have a few commemorative pinback buttons left for those of you collecting them.  They're available at the Button Collector/Named Sponsor tier ($65) and above.  The buttons are very limited, so for non-button collectors at the $65 level we're offering an extra poster print.   (The buttons are visible on our website; please check with us to make sure we still have the ones you want.)

At the Mojo Angel tier ($115), we'll send you one of our larger 18x24 posters.  We have two designs at that size:  the Timeline of Women in World History and our new Goddess poster. 

Once again we're offering our super-generous backers the opportunity to commission a costume.  If you'd rather commission a poster, we can do that too.

Here's the whole scheme at a glance:


The add-on amounts are if you want extra posters in addition to the ones included in your pledge level.  Just add the appropriate amount to your pledge.

Once the campaign is over, you'll get a Kickstarter survey asking which posters you want, what your shipping address is, and so on. 

The Posters

All of our posters are sized to fit standard frames and mats:  8x10,  11x14, and 18x24. 

We've arranged with a professional print shop to make the printed posters.  They'll be printed on heavyweight premium luster paper and shipped to your door, ready for framing.  All you need to add is a standard frame, with or without a mat.   (For example, an 11x14 poster combined with a standard mat and a 16x20 frame makes a nice-sized piece of art.)

We're also making our posters available as digital downloads for you thrifty DIYers.  The 8x10s are especially good for printing out yourself on photo paper. 

Here are previews of the posters, with notes on which sizes they're available in.  Click the image to open up a larger preview.  (You can read more about each of these posters and a description of the images on our website).

Women of Science:  available as a digital download, 8x10 print, or 11x14 print.
Women of Science: available as a digital download, 8x10 print, or 11x14 print.
Women of Words:  available as a digital download, 8x10 print, or 11x14 print.
Women of Words: available as a digital download, 8x10 print, or 11x14 print.
Piratical Women:  available as a digital download, 8x10 print, or 11x14 print.
Piratical Women: available as a digital download, 8x10 print, or 11x14 print.
American Heroines:  available as a digital download, 8x10 print, or 11x14 print.
American Heroines: available as a digital download, 8x10 print, or 11x14 print.
Goddess:  available as a digital download, an 11x14 print, or an 18x24 print.
Goddess: available as a digital download, an 11x14 print, or an 18x24 print.
Timeline of Women in World History:  available as a digital download or an 18x24 print.
Timeline of Women in World History: available as a digital download or an 18x24 print.

 (A note for our previous backers:  the Timeline of Women in World History was originally printed at 20x24, but we've trimmed the margins to fit a standard 18x24 frame.  The artwork is exactly the same size as before.)

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Update!  We've added a new poster to go along with our Operation Hecate stretch goal:

The Greek World:  available as a digital download, 8x10 print, or 11x14 print.
The Greek World: available as a digital download, 8x10 print, or 11x14 print.

 We also have a version with Hecate taking the place of Medusa:

The Greek World, Hecate version:  available as a digital download, 8x10 print, or 11x14 print.
The Greek World, Hecate version: available as a digital download, 8x10 print, or 11x14 print.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We learned a lot from the success of our first Kickstarter, and we've made some changes to our process to make this campaign even better.

All the rewards will be ready to ship as soon as the campaign ends, so people can get their stuff in time for the holidays. We've found a professional printer we love, and we're confident we'll get all the posters out in November/December.

Our biggest challenge is the hosting and security costs associated with the site, especially as we get more and more traffic. We've scaled back the number of new costume commitments so we can be sure to cover our basic fees.

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    226 backers

    VALUE VOTER: A huge THANK YOU and a subscription to our special donor-only newsletter, with updates and sneak peeks throughout the year. Most importantly, your $5 pledge will enroll you in the VOTING LIST, so you'll get to vote on which new costumes we do!

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    134 backers

    DIGITAL DOWNLOADER: You'll get digital hi-res downloads of two of our gorgeous posters, your choice. The 8x10s are especially easy to print out yourself on photo paper for gifts, but you can pick any size. PLUS you get the Value Voter stuff!

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    95 backers

    PRINT PATRON: Now we get physical. Pick your favorite 8x10 mini-poster from our collection, and we'll have it professionally printed on heavyweight premium luster paper and shipped to your door. PLUS you still get the two digital downloads of posters and the Value Voter stuff!

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    81 backers

    GALLERY PATRON: Bigger is better. This is just like the previous level, but for our 11x14 posters. Pick your favorite 11x14 poster from our collection, and we'll have it professionally printed on heavyweight premium luster paper and shipped to your door. PLUS you still get the two digital downloads of posters and the Value Voter stuff!

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    43 backers

    POSTER PARTNER: Not only is 42 the answer to everything, but it's also what gets you TWO printed posters. Choose two 11x14s, two 8x10s, or one of each. We'll have them professionally printed on heavyweight premium luster paper and shipped to your door. And we'll give you FOUR digital downloads of posters. Plus the Value Voter stuff!

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  • Pledge $65 or more
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    13 backers

    NAMED SPONSOR: Thank you for your support! At this level we'll list you as a Named Sponsor on our website. You'll also get everything at the Poster Partner level, PLUS an additional poster (either 8x10 or 11x14, your choice) professionally printed on heavyweight premium luster paper and shipped to your door.

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    10 backers All gone!

    BUTTON COLLECTOR (and Named Sponsor): This is a special limited reward for those of you collecting our commemorative pinback buttons. At this reward level you'll get everything at the Poster Partner level, PLUS 10 buttons of your choice (designs viewable on our website). Contact us to make sure we still have the buttons you want. We'll also list you on our website as a Named Sponsor. Thank you for your support!

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  • Pledge $115 or more
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    14 backers

    MOJO ANGEL: Bless you! At this level you'll get one of our 18x24 posters: either the Timeline of Women in World History poster (50 women through five millennia) or our new Goddess poster, depicting all of our goddesses on a world map. The poster you choose will be professionally printed on heavyweight premium luster paper and shipped to your door. PLUS you'll get a digital download of all the posters we offer, AND everything at the Named Sponsor level! (If you're collecting the buttons, contact us to see if we have the ones you're interested in and we'll add them in for you.)

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    ART COMMISSIONER: Like our posters? We'll design one just for you. You pick the theme and the figures you want represented, and we'll custom design a poster in the style of our other posters. Your poster will be professionally printed on heavyweight premium luster paper (up to size 18x24) and shipped directly to your door. PLUS you get everything at the Mojo Angel level!

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    2 backers Limited (3 left of 5)

    COSTUME COMMISSIONER: Is there a costume you'd really, really like us to do? You can commission it! Just name it--your favorite goddess or historical figure--and we'll do it. Tell us who she is and any special requests for the costume, and we'll develop the design. When we put the costume up on the website, we'll include your name as the special sponsor of the design. PLUS you get everything at the Art Commissioner level! (Note: the estimated delivery of December 2013 is for the posters. The costume design will be completed during the 2014 season.)

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Funding period

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