Introduction: Oscar the Grouch

Picture of Oscar the Grouch
Oscar the Grouch is my newest costume. I'm going to attempt to describe how you can make this. This costume took around 50 hours and the cost was around $150.

What you'll need:
- Green Fabric / Fur - 2 Yards (I went to this site -
- 2 - 4 inch styrofoam balls (for the eyes)
- Lots of hot glue (I used 2 bags) and gun
- 1 - 20 gallon tin garbage can
- Pipe insulation (to protect your arms for the holes you cut out in the can)
- White paint
- Black paint or sharpie
- Coveralls
- 1 zipper 40+ inches
- 1 pair of garden gloves
- Wire coat hangers (for eyebrows and hands)
- Brown spray paint
- 1 - 15 inch rubber ball
- A good amount of Paper Mache.
- A pair of Scissors
- 1 yard of black cloth
- 1 small piece of red cloth
- 2 - 2 foot Pvc Pipes
- 2 L shape Pvc connectors
- Duct Tape

Step 1: Oscar's Head - Part 1

Picture of Oscar's Head - Part 1

This step was prob the most time consuming. I had a hard time deciding on what size his head should  be. Ultimately, I ended up using a 15" inflatable toy ball. Considering how many time I resized and reduced the size of this, I now suggest just using a basket ball or similar size. I then used paper mache over the ball. Once it was dry, I just stabbed it and started cutting it in half and then almost into quarters. I then took one top half / quarter and attached them together with a piece of cardboard and hot glue.

The green strap on the top is what holds my 3 fingers (middle, index, and pinky). I attached this strap with hot glue. And then my thumb goes into the bottom loop. The pointer finger goes into the blue loop to move the eyebrows (see step 2).

Step 2: Oscar's Head - Part 2

Picture of Oscar's Head - Part 2

I felt it was important to make Oscar's eyes look good. I ended up using a 4" styrofoam ball. Cut it in half and reshaped with a knife and sand paper. Once I had the desired shape, I then coated the eyes with paper mache. Once dry, I painted them white and then drew in the pupils with a black sharpie.

The hardest part was trying to figure out how to make Oscar's eyebrows move. This was something I considered just not doing. But it does add that little something extra. So what I did was I took a wire coat hanger and bent it. I used 5 rubber bands that I attached to the top of Oscar's head and then looped around the hook close to my finger. So when I press down on the hook with my pointer finger the eyebrows go up and then back down due to the rubber bands. I just used some excess green fun, cut it, glued it, and then used brown spray paint, for the single eyebrow. I put a small amount of hot glue in the center of the brow to hold it.

Then I started to cut and glue the green fur to the head.

I cut the black cloth to fit the mouth and cut out a tongue shape from the red cloth and glued that to the black cloth.

Step 3: The Arms

Picture of The Arms

I took the 2 pvc pipes and cut them in half. Connected them by a L connector (glued them together). I then added cut pieces of foam from the Pool Noodle. Glued and taped them to stay in place. I bent some wire coat hangers to made the shape of the hands (looking back, this was a waste of time. just stuff the gloves with paper towels or toilet paper. Glue / tape the hands to the end of the pvc pipe. Then stuff the arms through the coveralls and glue them where you want them.

Step 4: The Can

Picture of The Can

I cut out 2 holes for my arms to go through. I just took a drill w/ a large bit so to be able to start cutting. I then cut out 2 holes in the front of the coveralls. The holes in the coveralls were cut by figuring out were the holes were gonna be then finding the center of these holes and kinda pizza cutting outward. This was so I had these slices to glue to the inside of the can. I attached the fake hands to the handles with lots of hot glue. Just make sure to adjust them to where you want them to stay before applying glue. 

I then cut open the back of the coveralls from almost down to the crotch up to the collar. I attached the zipper with more hot glue. 

Step 5: Oscar's Hands and Body

Picture of Oscar's Hands and Body

I cut out a tapered square then glued both ends to make a short of funnel for Oscar's body. The hands don't need to be very long. I traced them out, cut them, and then glued them. I cut out 2 holes in the front of his body to attach the hands / arms. These holes need to be placed more in the front of the body than on the sides. I then took the same approach for attaching the body to the can as I did for attaching the coveralls. I cut 2 holes in the back and again pizza cut them and glued to the coveralls. 

I had to have assistance when gluing the head to the body. Someone held the head while I glued (I think i suffered my 8th or 9th burns during this process). 

I then added that pipe insulation to protect you from bein' cut by the can.

Step 6: Finish

Picture of Finish
Well I hope this was easy enough to follow. Thanks a lot for checking it out! I'm really excited to wear this out for Halloween! Let me know if you have any questions! I'll be happy to answer them. I'm sure there are some things I forgot to add. I'll update if I remember some steps. Thanks again!


Manbuddha (author)2011-11-22

you got shafted!!! you should have one first place!!!this costume is awesome ...Who Does't love Muppet's... brilliant!!! Oscar rocks all sesame street!

porcupinemamma (author)2011-10-23

Absolutely Fabulous!!!!!!!!!!

ChrysN (author)2011-10-13

Awesome, I love how you can move his eyebrows too, nicely done!

kazmataz (author)2011-10-13

This is fantastic! Now all we need is a Slimey the Worm, and the gang's complete.

sheinonen (author)2011-10-13

Amazing. Looks like he came off the set of Sesame Street!

tomf_22033 (author)2017-08-08


That's totally amazing.

I'm just blown away as you did a great job and it's super cool.

crivait made it! (author)2017-03-01

Thank you very much for creating this instructable. This is the best! I had wanted to make it for a long time and started and stopped, but this past Halloween I finished it, and everyone loved it.

Lilbake69 made it! (author)2016-11-07

Great instructions to make this. Thanks, well worth the hard work.

vespaking3000 (author)2016-09-12

Do you have anymore pictures of the inside of oscars head?

auger282 made it! (author)2016-04-01

Thanks for this Instructable! I didn't quite exactly follow your directions but I did base my design on some of your information. Thanks for posting the Green fabric that was super helpful. With your help I was able to win 1st place in the Boston Costume Dash (a costumed 5k, yes I ran a 5k in this!!).

Here is a youtube video of me at the competition!

ggq3533 made it! (author)2015-10-24

I want to thank you for the instructable!!!! I made mine to be a fixed prop for my son's 1st Sesame Street themed birthday party. It turned out awesome! Thanks again.

GB_Costumes (author)ggq35332015-10-24

That looks amazing. You did a great job. He must love it.

starwarsgeek1 (author)2015-03-09

it looks just like the real one!!!!! great job ?

vjames1 made it! (author)2014-11-09

Thanks for the great instructable, here's my final results!!

SteveGerber (author)2011-10-15

This is a great costume! I'm thinking it would be even more awesome if you could make him talk. One way would be to have a set of prerecorded digitally recorded phrases that you could trigger, but the phrase set might get old rather fast since Oscar couldn't really hold a conversation. Perhaps a better solution would be to give yourself a costume that covers your whole head (Bert or Ernie perhaps?) and then have a toggled microphone leading to a speaker inside Oscars mouth. That way you could speak for Oscar (insulting people in the proper context) without anyone seeing your mouth move. You'd want to rig your own costume mouth to move too, of course, so you could have conversations with Oscar. Or maybe your costume could be the muppet Beaker would doesn't talk too much. ;)

GB_Costumes (author)SteveGerber2011-10-15

I feel like mastering vantriloquism would be easier...

mntbkrguy (author)GB_Costumes2011-10-20

First: Awesome Job!

In the show the garbage man has a rather simple face and never talks so Steve's idea of wearing a mask would work and no need for the sound system or moving parts on another mask.

I am don't think it's needed because my first thought was how do you drink your beer with your hands in the puppet! but I am sure Oscar can be somewhat helpful in holding the glass.

Again great job! I was completely thrown off in the video trying to figure out how you controlled the puppet.

SteveGerber (author)mntbkrguy2011-10-20

I didn't remember that there was a trash man on Sesame Street, but apparently his name is Bruno.

mntbkrguy (author)SteveGerber2011-10-21

That's him, I didn't realize his garbage can was so dinged up That would be an easy detail to add.

GB_Costumes (author)mntbkrguy2011-10-23

Yeah, I thought about doing that. But like you said, you didn't realize it looked like this. I figured nobody else would either. This costume takes a long time to make as it is. But could you share what you would do to add this look?

mntbkrguy (author)GB_Costumes2011-10-24

This is just off the top of my head off the top of my head, but I might see if scrubbing it with some scotch-bright pads and then some baking soda. I am not sure if that will have the same effect as the patina on an old garbage can but it may add some age. If you do want to try it maybe do the bottom or where it will be against your chest so no one will see it if it's not going to work. I haven't messed with the different chemicals that speed up the aging process of metals but it is definitely on my list.

You are completely right about no one noticing. I can see everyone so enamored by Oscar who would pick out something like the condition of the garbage can. It only stood out after seeing a side by side comparison.
Again great work!

greenphreak (author)mntbkrguy2014-10-25

As I'm making a version of this costume, I found something that works well for "aging" a new galvanized metal trash can:

I'll include pictures when I'm done.

GB_Costumes (author)mntbkrguy2011-10-23

Also, Thanks for the comments!!

ag6 (author)2014-03-05

Made it for this years "Rosenmontagszug" at Cologne (Germany). Love how impressed the people were! Thanks for this Instructable!

GB_Costumes (author)ag62014-03-08

That's awesome! I'm happy to see others making this.

vjames1 (author)2013-09-06

I did come up with one other legitimate question. How did u make the ridges above the eyebrows? Is this just foam covered with paper mâché?

vjames1 (author)2013-09-06

Forget my last comment, I answered my own question by actually reading your directive :)

vjames1 (author)2013-09-06

First of all, great work! You've truly inspired me to build one of these costumes although I highly doubt it will look anywhere near as good as yours!

I have a question if you don't mind.

You mentioned that you cut two holes in the front of the body to attach the arms/hands, if this is the case what attaches to the two holes in the garbage can? The head and ???

I only ask because I was under the impression that the other hole in the can was for Oscars left hand, which obviously cannot be the case if its attached to the body.

alejzp (author)2013-04-16

Ohhhh very very nice... I have thought about doing this costume but I had a doubt since the first time I saw it... it is regarding the head... And now that I see you did it so well I'll ask you and hopefully you can help me...

OK you have the paper mache head ready, you cut it in half and then in quarter as the main guy explained... when you attach the cardboard to make the mouth how deep does it go? I mean from the whole circule the hard palade lets call it how deep into the mouth goes? is it half of the circle so that you have space for your hand?

Another question I have is if the semicircle you have lets say the top part of the head is it the hole circle or you also have to cut some of the paper mache on the back of the head? is the back of the head soft or hard?

amenhotep4 (author)2012-10-21

We did it!!! Best Costume Ever!!!!
We went for the more traditional Bruno with the jacket and the red shirt. I can't even look at Oscar anymore, he creeps me out.

GB_Costumes (author)amenhotep42012-10-21

Nice job! Looks great!

amenhotep4 (author)2012-10-08

do you remember what the approximate dimension of the body is?

detroitgrass (author)2012-09-23

Looking at the parts list. It says you used a tin can. All I can find are stainless steel trash cans. Where did you buy the tin can? Also, if you cut the 4 inch ball in half for the eyes, you only need one 4 inch ball.

GB_Costumes (author)detroitgrass2012-09-23

Yeah, stainless, buy just 1. Sorry I blew up.

Makkie74 (author)2012-05-05

It's great! I'm a guy from the netherlands , and i'm going to make this custume!!!
I'll hope its going to be easy..



seanpbell (author)2011-11-19

I am going to keep my eye out for a old beat up trash can and when i see one im taking it and replacing it with a brand new one ,im sure the owner of the can wont mind at all for the upgrade,how did u go about covering the back of the head and neck areas ?

GB_Costumes (author)seanpbell2011-11-22

I just used the green fur and glued it... Took lots of patince and glue... I also, posted on facebook asking for a old used tin garbage can before I purchased one.

seanpbell (author)2011-11-19

great costume im woreking on one for next year, i plan on installing a very small speaker either in the front of the can or in his head and download a bunch of sayings onto an mp3 player which will bev in the mouth which i can control with my hand,im wondering how did the head hold up with just paper mache? i have made something similar but covered it with fiberglass but i think it may get to be av little heavy. so you have to take it off to use the bathroom? is your hand inside his head or behind the head under the fur?could u post a diagram of how the eyebrows are rigged up ,i think i got an idea of how it is but i want to make sure

ftt (author)2011-10-21

Is the top section of the head bigger than the bottom section?

GB_Costumes (author)ftt2011-10-23

No they are they same size.

svassair (author)2011-10-21

Where did you get a 20 gallon tin garbage can?

GB_Costumes (author)svassair2011-10-23

I found this at Menards. Any hardware shop should have one.

amenhotep4 (author)2011-10-19

Do you have approximate dimensions of the pieces of fur you cut for the body and the length of the arms? This is the greatest thing I've ever seen. The only problem with showing up at a party in this is trying to top it next year.

SHIFT! (author)2011-10-17

"This is a terrible, terrible idea and a horrible Instructable. Truly the worst costume I've ever seen on this site." (Remember everything is backwards for Grouches, so I actually LOVE this muppet replica! But don't tell Oscar-he hates to be loved.)

dennisdiamond (author)2011-10-16

WOW!!! NIce job!!

zzebrowski (author)2011-10-16

Awesome. So jealous.

GaryB101 (author)2011-10-16

Mass props to you! That's beautiful!

skipernicus (author)2011-10-16

That is a beautiful thing - a clever illusion. Since you did so much work making the costume animated, I really want to see it in motion.

haventmadeabombyet (author)2011-10-14

I'd hate to wear this at a crowded party, but so far this is my favorite Halloween Instructable . Nice job on the arms, btw.

tburke3 (author)2011-10-14

Very cool costume of my all time favorite Muppet!

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