My 14 yr old son and I were sitting in the mall brainstorming on costume ideas for his 6 year old sister. He looked around and began naming things he saw. In a little figurine shop he saw a lighthouse. As soon as he said it my wheels began to turn in my brain. This turned out to be a nice bonding experience for my son and I because we worked on it together.
The most challenging part was to find the round tube for the lighthouse base. I tried folding cardboard and it just did not look right. I went to Home Depot and in the cement aisle they sell round tubes for making cement pillars. I purchased one and had to cut it in half but it was still way too heavy so I peeled several layers of cardboard out of it to make it thinner and lighter. I spray painted in white and then spray painted a black spiral on it. I cut out arm holes and the put straps inside of it so it would sit on my daughter's shoulders and not slide down her arms since the tube was wider than my daughter.
Next, I purchased a styrofoam wreath and chicken wire and a wire trash can. I spray painted the wreath and chicken wire black. I hot glued the chicken wire to the wreath and mounted that on a cardboard disk. I took the insert out of the trash can and pulled off some of the metal bars to make it more open so my daughter's vision would not be obstructed. I mounted the trash can upside down onto the cardboard disk that the wreath was already mounted on. I then took a bucket I got when we went strawberry picking and cut two squares in it and spray painted it black and mounted that on top of the trash can. I purchased a battery operated police beacon and removed the red cover. I pulled out the lightbulbs it came with and mounted a small flashlight to the part that spins. I mounted that inside the bucket, on top of the trash can. On top of that I used a cool whip container with a cardboard disk around the base and on the very top I mounted a small bottle topper I had and also a small seagull. I could not find an actual small seagull so I painted a yellow chick from the dollar store white and gray.
My daughter has won first place in 6 local contests and when they announce she has won people actually cheer. We can not walk 5 feet without people stopping her for a closer look. At one festival a man walked up and handed her $20 and said it was the best costume he has seen in years. My son beams with pride every time someone compliments the costume. Even if we had not won a single contest this process would have been worth it just to see my son feel good about making something. I think we will make creating a unique costume together a yearly tradition.