This year I decided to opt out from boring practice of buying standardized Halloween costumes for my kids and build ones myself. This Instructable is for the one I built for my son. I hope it is interesting not only because it is cool and unusual, but also as a fun reading about different costume-making technologies.
The costume starts with an idea. I spent quite awhile thinking what my 10-year old boy might love. Star wars trooper? Alien? Ninja? Well, I probably can make a not bad snow trooper costume, but admit it: there are hordes of troopers out there on the streets and they are plain boring. I was looking for something standing out of crowd, wild, ridiculous, having as much Halloween spirit as possible and I was totally failing to come up with something cool. And when you, parents, can't solve a problem there is only one way to proceed: ask your child.
It appeared that he already had the idea fully baked and polished in his head and the idea was CYBORG PUMPKIN! What can be more ridiculous and Halloweeny than a Cyborg Pumpkin? I don't know. I think that was an awesome idea, so we both proceeded with discussing the implementation details right away.
In this instructable I'll explain all the steps, successes and mistakes and I hope it will help you to come up with a great costume for the next Halloween. It doesn't have to be Mutant Cyborg Pumpkin™®©:, so start your own project from step 0: Come Up With a Cool Idea.
Step 1: It All Started as a Prototype ...
Here is one important principle I stuck with during this project: always have a working version of the costume. With two kids we had to demo the costumes 5 times and every time these were different costumes. The idea was essentially the same, but after each demo I was adding new cool features.
So always be ready to present your costume and start with something really simple. Like, for instance, a cardboard costume. What could be simpler: knock off the bottom of a cardboard, cut three holes and you got your "FedEx Ground Shipping" costume. It's free, it's simple and I didn't see any "FedEx Ground Shippings" trickortriting on the streets, so it is original too. And if your child will tell you that tomorrow he/she has to show the costume on school parade, you're ready. Not quite awesome, but ready.
The Cyborg Pumpkin costume started exactly this way. And the cardboard box made its way as a part o the costume all the way to the final version and beyond. Why beyond? Because this costume will never be done, it's always work in progress and every few days I plan to add new feature to it. So next year this costume may be still in use but it will look totally different.
Anyway, back to the costume. I started documenting the project too late and can't show you the full-scale "Ground Shipping" Costume, so here is the model.
Even on the model you can notice that this costume must be very difficult to wear, take it off and move around. I realized that bulletproof vests consisting of two shields connected to each other over the shoulders is not just a fashion trend, but also a necessity. So I quickly cut out the sidewalls too and the next version looked like it’s shown on the picture.
It is difficult to realize the potential of this suspiciously-looking piece of cardboard until you see the following picture where I bent the cardboard to form something like thorax (an ancient version of bulletproof vest). Proceed to the next step to see it.