'Costumes' author wears other hats, too

Mark Walker, author of "Creative Costumes for Children (Without Sewing)" works as a senior financial analyst for the department of neurosciences at Johns Hopkins Hospital. On the weekends, he free-lances as a magician specializing in children's entertainment.

This is the 40-year-old Rosedale resident's second book on costumes; "Creative Costumes" has sold roughly 120,000 copies since the mid-1980s. His other books include "The Great Halloween Book" and two magic history books: "The Master Illusionists" and "Ghostmasters."


Many of his ideas -- and much of the inspiration -- come from Mr. Walker's 20-year friendship with George and Rick Goebel, owners of A.T. Jones Costume company.

He says it's much easier to make costumes for children without sewing because they are smaller than adults.


"If you take a piece of cloth and cut it to size and it becomes poncho that a child can wear and wrap something around the waist, that's the basis for forming a costume. Working off the fold of the material is a key element of all of this."

Any tips?

"White glue holds up very, very well with felt; it is extremely strong. Use a hole punch and lace up the costume with metallic cord.

"A man's woolly socks pulled up over the child's shoes makes the impression of boots . . . If you clean out a bleach bottle and cover it with gold vinyl and braid, it makes a very good crown."