Introduction: Attack the Block Alien Halloween Costume for My Kid
This is from Halloween 2016 but I mentioned it in this write up of this year's costume and some people messaged with questions so I thought I'd go ahead and write this one up as well. Attack The Block is an English Sci-Fi film that is totally awesome and you should watch it right now. I don't care if you're at work. It's got lots of swearing though so might not be appropriate for kids but I'm a bad parent so, there you go. Anyhoo, my kid (he was 9 at the time) wanted to be this alien and it seemed like a good challenge for us so here I will share the triumphs and tribulations of this costume build
Step 1: The Head
The alien in this movie is really indistinct overall as it's a big hairy bear like thing. It's only really distinctive feature is it's glowing teeth which is mostly all you see of them. That was fortunate as, in the movie, a lot of it was CGI'd so it was good to have the leeway to do the practical things you need to do to make an actual wearable costume. I like to re-purpose things that are sitting around so I started with the jaw from a broken alligator toy and an old bike helmet
Step 2: Head
Step 3: Head
Step 4: Head
Step 5: Head
Step 6: Head
Step 7: Jaws
My kid is pretty specific about these projects and generally assumes the role of artistic director. It was very important to him that the jaws opened and closed so this was my first attempt at that. I attached a bicycle brake to the jaws with a cable that ran to a handle embedded in one of the pvc pipes we used for arms. As a note, it was a mistake to use PVC as it's pretty heavy and not the easiest to work with at 4" diameter. I would have been better off with cardboard tubes. Anyway, my kid vetoed this design as squeezing the handle closed the jaws and he wanted that motion to open the jaws instead. To solve this I attached small metal strips on each side and routed the cable to the handle in a way that opened the jaws when squeezed. I used a spring to make it stay closed otherwise. Unfortunately I don't have any good pictures of that at this stage but you can see it in some of the upcoming pics.
Step 8: Teeth
I had a devil of a time figuring out the teeth (I did not yet know of the miracle product that is Instamorph) and tried all sorts of things to no avail. I'll spare you that and just say, "Use Instamorph!".
Step 9: Teeth
Instamorph comes as these little pellets that you add to mildly hot water to form a malleable plastic mass. Though it gets clear when it's soft, it dries opaque which was ideal for what we needed. Also non-toxic so I didn't destroy any cookware
Step 10: Teeth
So, I made the teeth like this. I made sure to make them hollow so I could insert lights. It's much easier to do that than to drill it out later. Trust me on this.
Step 11: More Teeth
Step 12: Teeth and Jaw
The ATTB alien has several rows of teeth (most added by CGI) so I did my best to simulate that with the materials and space I had. The kid wanted 5 rows but we compromised on 2 since he also needed to see out of the jaws and I didn't want to blind the boy.
Step 13: LIGHTS!
The teeth had to be lit up individually for the effect to work so I bought 3 battery powered led Christmas Light strings with 20 lights each. These went into the teeth and the battery packs attached to the bike helmet under the fur.
Step 16: Jaw, Teeth, Light!
Perhaps it is obvious but this thing was pretty heavy. As you can see in this picture I put in a removable brace to hold the head up. It attached to a ring around his torso suit. I made the ring by doubling up an old metal coathanger and twisting it into a ring that I secured to the torso foam with hot glue. This picture also gives a better view of the jaw mechanism.
Step 17: I Like Videos!
Step 18: A Different Angle
Step 19: Testing
This is how it started to shape up
Step 20: Body
This is where I went wrong so I'm not going to post too much of it since, if you do this, you'll want to figure something else out. I decided to reuse the 2015 costume (Nightmare from 5 nights at Freddy's). What I didn't realize is that the foam I used for that costume isn't breathable (it doesn't let air through) so, while it was fine in a costume that was much more open, it was really hot in this more contained space.
Step 21: More Mistakes
I proceeded to compound this error by adding more foam. Later I did create some holes for air to pass through and it turned out ok because Halloween was pretty cold but the kid was still a sweat monster after a couple of hours. Luckily, the costume is easy to remove (if not to carry) so he was ok that night but at later things like Awesome con it was more of an issue
Step 22: Mouth, Legs, Arms
This part worked out pretty well. I got the furry fur from Jo-Annes fabrics. It was pretty ideal. For the legs and upper arms I also reused the FNAF costume which was just foam formed and glued into a band (like a blood pressure testing cuff) and then covered it in fur.
Step 23: 2015 Costume
This is the FNAF costume I am referencing so you can have a better visual of the arms and legs before I covered them in fur
Step 24: Final Costume
Well, sort of final, the bottom parts of the legs aren't on in these because I added them later. If I had it to do over, I would use a morph suit and build out the legs and back using a breathable foam but part of all this is learning so there you go.
Step 25: More Pics
Step 26: During Halloween
Step 27: What Most People Saw
This video gives a good idea of the lumbering walk that the extended arms produced. It was pretty cool but, as I mentioned, cardboard tubes would have been a lot better as they are lighter and will absorb more impact. As always, I'm keen to hear people's ideas as I'm always trying to improve these things and the kid keeps getting older and more demanding.