Picture of OPERATION - The Halloween Costume: TAKE 3

A fully "OPERATION-al" Halloween costume

Inspired by the original created by Felix Jung ( in 2004 and somewhat by Jack W. Bell's take in 2005 (, I took it upon myself to reproduce it this year with the addition of the mask and light up nose, hence the “Take 3”.

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Picture of THE CIRCUIT
I started out first experimenting with the aluminum flashing. Previous costume creators used electrical boxes and aluminum foil. I thought aluminum roof flashing would be perfect. I picked up a 6V piezoelectric buzzer (Radio Shack) and a 10 Candela LED (Fry’s) and was off and running. Since my electrical engineering knowledge is wanting, I found these sites helpful for dealing with the LED and See image #1 for the original circuit diagram I was going to use.

The switch would be metal kitchen tongs (Felix’s idea) with the circuit completed by the flashing surrounding each hole. Each hole then connected together. Everything worked fine but I was disappointed with the fact that if the flashing was only barely touched, then LED and buzzer were feeble. I wanted a steady buzzer and LED no matter how lightly or briefly the flashing was touched. A little research led me to an IC, specifically a 555 timer in a monostable circuit. My favorite site was They have excellent descriptions and examples of 555 timer circuits. Or try this one So the circuit grew (see image 2).

To help determine what size capacitor and resistor to use for the timing circuit try the following program I went with a variable resistor (a 1Meg Potentiometer) so I could play around with how long the buzzer and light would go off. The 6V was 4 AA batteries in a case I picked up at Radio Shack. After putting everything together on a breadboard (it worked!), I tried my hand at soldering. Only two attempts to get it right. Image 3 is a shot of the circuit board.
ck323 years ago
What type of buzzer did you use?
NavySWO91 (author)  ck323 years ago
I picked up a piezoelectric buzzer at Radio Shack. Pretty sure it is this one
rbfe4ch475 years ago
This is an awesome Instructable. I do have a question for you though about the circuit stuff. I am totally circuit dumb though and have a question for you. Would you entertain the idea about possibly building one for me and I would pay for shipping and everything. Just let me know, and once again this is awesome!!!
Chezzo5 years ago
I made an Operation costume: Take 4! My wife and I cut sheet metal and foamcore shapes. I think it was one big shape behind, one cut out shape, then came the sheet metal, then another foamcore cutout, followed by the fabric. We wired it to a piezo buzzer then to a LED that I attached to my glasses, and to a set of large metal cooking prongs.
leglez6 years ago
I am in the process of building this, but I didn't go with your 555 circuit. I ended up going with the original one but modifying it. I put 3 LEDs in each box, and then wired them in a series I believe and connected the positive lead to the alluminium box, and the negative lead to the power. I then put a 47 Ohm resistor in front of the tongs. This makes it so that depending on which box you touch that box lights up. I am going to change it from 6v to 12v though because with the buzzer the leds are very dim.
ambiguus7 years ago
Great costume! Curious though, did you use the same type of wiring attached to the tongs that you used for the inside, or did you have to use something more durable? For that matter, what type of wiring did you use?
NavySWO91 (author)  ambiguus7 years ago
Basic Radio Shack 22-gauge stranded wire used throughout. For the tongs I drilled a hole and attached the wire with a small bolt and locking nut. Worked fine.
Murf7 years ago
Awesome instructable... Loved this one so much I had to make it for myself. Think I'll skip the mask, and instead of the light up nose, I'm going to try and wire a red LED into each compartment which will light up with the buzzer :) Here goes nothing :)
Ward_Nox7 years ago
craft stores like Michel's have blank masks year round (full faced is usually more female styled but once painted it shouldn't be noticeable)
Ward_Nox7 years ago
reminds me of the "pumpkin" (apple II) computer costume my mom made me for Halloween a mililon years ago (i wore it for like 4 years and won best costume almost every year)
My wife who usually just rolls her eyes when i show her a "cool" instructable actually giggled at this one. Nice