The thing about The Great Pumpkin is that, in the original story, he never shows up.  So you don't know what he looks like.  Which means, of course, that I can interpret The Great Pumpkin however I want!

That's what made me decide to build a Great Pumpkin costume this year: no limits!

It should be noted that I don't embark on these projects with a really specific plan.  I make stuff up as I go along, so I don't have real patterns to follow.  These are descriptions of my efforts, and I hope they give you all some interesting ideas for costumes that might interest you!  Here's a list of some of the stuff I used to make this costume:

Lots of thrift clothing, cut up for patchwork
Two spools of button thread
About seven bunches of embroidery thread
Leather scraps (from a Crate & Barrel sample book)
Fake leaves (some purchased from a craft store, most from a couple of  "autumn garlands" found at a thrift shop)
Three or four yards of fabric with patterns that I liked.
One black satin sheet
One sheer orange curtain
One pair of black corduroy pants
One pair of gloves
Polyester fiberfill
Some sticks
One spool of wide orange ribbon
One fuzzy orange blanket from Bed Bath & Beyond, on clearance
One yard of fun fur
Brass eyelets
Copper napkin rings
One kimono and obi
Long-sleeved green thermal shirt


I don't have a sewing machine.  I don't even know how to use one.  So everything I have done here is done by hand.
This is neither a boast nor a complaint, just a statement of fact.  What I'm getting at is: YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW HOW TO SEW IN ORDER TO MAKE THIS OR ANY OF MY OTHER COSTUMES!
I create a pattern through eyeballing, and rough estimation.  If I need to be more careful, I sketch out a shape on newsprint to get it close to what I want.  I build a costume with a liberal use of stick pins and strong button thread.  If you know how to sew, this should be a breeze!  But if you don't, oh well!  Don't worry about it!  You don't need it!

Step 1: The Mask

The mask is where I started.  Once I decided that I was going to interpret The Great Pumpkin, my first notion was that it should fall somewhere in the spectrum between "European Royalty" and "Norse God".  So I doodled up a simple mask design - really more of a shape, than a design - and got to work.  

I wanted the face to look like a Jack O'Lantern, but for the top to branch off into something like horns, or a crown, or antlers.  Somewhere between vegetable and animal.

I've gone into lots of detail about my papier-mache masks before, so I won't clutter up this instructable with that stuff.  You can read all about it in my other publications.  The main difference here is that I didn't make a full, over-the-head "helmet" style mask, it's just a flat one.  Everything else - from the mache recipe, the sculpting methods, all of it - is just the same as my previous masks.

Where this mask differs from all my previous attempts is in how the mask is worn.  Last year's Joker mask was my first "face" mask, as opposed to a "helmet" mask, and it was just worn with ribbon ties.  The Great Pumpkin mask, though, is too wide and flat for that, and required something new.

My solution was the "crown".  I bent a length of coat hanger into a circle that rested more-or-less comfortably on my head, added an arch over the top to keep it secure, then wrapped the whole thing in velvet to make it soft.  Some fake leaves helped make it cool.
So then I ran the ribbon ties through the mask and tied them directly to the crown.  This way, the mask hung in front of my face, resting on the bridge of my nose (I glued some felt to the back to eliminate chafing).  It actually turned out far cooler than I had imagined, because this mechanism enabled the mask to move more freely when I turn my had, gently rocking or swaying and looking generally spooky.
<p>I'm making a version of this right now. I of course will have variations, but I love the concept!</p>
That's great to hear! I want to see pictures of your version!
This is so similar to a costume I am working on now. It looks great
<p>I hope you're going to post pictures!</p>
Wow, this looks awesome
Thank you! For the first time in years I will not be able to make a new costume for this Halloween, so I am making a few alterations to this one and wearing it again!
Your mask looks awestrikeningly amazing!! *-*
How did you get the mouth all crackly near the edges? just cut out slits from the paper mache before priming and finishing? <br>
Nope! It's actually NOT crackly at all, just painted to look that way! Simple painted crack-lines, highlighted at the edges, worked out just fine!
Crazy! fooled me. Good job!
Thanks! It's surprisingly effective, even up close! I really need to find a good excuse to wear this costume a second time. It was really involved but turned out so great that it seems a real shame to only take it out on the town the once.
That's friggin amazing. Looks great...but I think that if Linus had seen that rising out of the pumpkin patch...pretty sure he would've had a heart attack.
Haha, he'd be dead right at the minute he saw it! XD<br>
Thanks! And that was the plan. I was really hoping to find some kid dressed as Linus so I could terrify him, but I don't think kids dress as Peanuts characters anymore!
That might be THE coolest Halloween costume ever...original, handmade, beautiful/scary...awesome! Great imagination and great work. Well done.
Thank you! I am unbelievably proud of this one. I just wish there were more excuses to wear it! You can bet I'll be busting it out at least a couple of times this fall.
I will never be able to hear about The Great Pumpkin and NOT think only of your interpretation. You totally made TGP your own. (wish I had seen this instructable back in October. :P
Much appreciated! And there's always next year...
Does video exist of you in this costume? I'd very much like to see that . . .
No, but I was just lamenting that fact. I believe I have the means to produce some rudimentary footage...
Do it! I just get the feeling that motion would bring out details the still pictures don't show.
Absolutely awesome as usual Matt. You have indeed &quot;Won&quot; Halloween, and you will most definitely be getting my vote in the contest!
Thanks Ian! Can we expect something from you and India this week too?
Sadly no, I am a big Halloween loser. I had problems with my costume and never got it finished (there is a pile of scrap lumber and bicycle parts in the corner of my shop to remind me of my failure). I thought India and I would do an 'ible on her zombie costume, but I have been really sick for the last week or so and we didn't take any process pictures. Sad face. There are some shots of India up on my facebook page though . . . Shianne did the makeup and it looked great!
Your great pumpkin costume will certainly be getting some competition from me next year :P <br> <br>For me, im imagining a helmet style mask (fiberglass perhaps) with glowing eyes, similar horn design (and maybe some sort of vocoder). A height extention in the form of root-boots (fiberglass shell, insulation foam core) and a backpack full of stuff underneath the robes for a bit of a hunch (maybe the backpack can house the electronics for the vocoder..... Arm/claw extentions... <br> <br>Basically, i havn't dressed up for the last 2 years in highschool, and i really want to go out with a bang, and i think i can make a great version of this costume, and have fun with it. <br> <br>(ooo, sound activated glow to the mouth?) <br> <br>Im way to excited over this costume, especially considering ive got a year to make it.
Sounds great! I originally intended to incorporate stilts into my design, but the cape ultimately vetoed that plan. I still have the almost-constructed stilts, which will have to be repurposed for another costume now...<br><br>Still though, I think that the Great Pumpkin SHOULD be very tall, and I look forward to seeing your take on it!
Amazing! Awesome idea, and fantastic execution.
Wow, freakish mask, but it's pretty beast, great design
If Guillermo del Toro had to imagine and create The Great Pumpkin, this is what he would have done.&nbsp; Very magical and whimsical.&nbsp; Great job!<br>
Thank you! I guess it does have a bit of Pan's Labyrinth in there, though I'm more of a Hellboy man myself...
Way cool design. Very very well done.
Thanks a bunch! It was a HUGE undertaking, but so worth it!
Awesome! I was just wondering what the great pumpkin looked like too...
Thank you! It was my goal to set the standard by which all future Great Pumpkins will be measured. At least, that's what the arrogant part of me was thinking!

About This Instructable




Bio: I Build Monsters
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