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
One spool of wide orange ribbon
One fuzzy orange blanket from Bed Bath & Beyond, on clearance
One yard of fun fur
Copper napkin rings
One kimono and obi
Long-sleeved green thermal shirt
A NOTE ON HOW I SEW:
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.