For Halloween in 2007, my kids were characters from the book "Where the Wild Things Are."
The headpiece for the Wild Thing provided some interesting challenges. I wanted it to be at least recognizable as the character in the book, and be light enough for my four-year-old to wear comfortably. It turned out fairly well, and was very popular around the neighborhood.
We all love the book. I hope this inspires a few people to make their own Wild Things costumes!
Step 1: Create a base to work from
I started by cutting out a round piece of single-ply cardboard about 15 inches in diameter. I measured my son's head from front to back, and drew an inner circle slightly bigger in diameter than my boy's head.
Step 2: Make a wearable hat-shaped base
Instead of just cutting out the inner circle, I cut it cross-ways 4 or 5 times and folded the resulting triangle-shaped wedges up. Then I curved the whole piece to the desired shape (this curve defines the shape of the upper lip of the Wild Thing).
I used more cardboard, hot glue, and tape to fill in the gaps and strengthen the the upper part of the base.
Step 3: Building up the head
This part is the trickiest part of the whole project. You may need to do a little bit of trial and error until you get results that you are satisfied with. (Don't give up. You can do it!)
I used some fabric to create the dome-shaped upper part of the head.
I measured the circumference of the cardboard base, and cut out two roughly half-circles whose flat sides were each 3/4" longer than half the circumference of the base.
The two pieces of fabric were joined together with a seam along the curved section. I placed the fabric onto the base and glued the bottom half-inch of the open end of the fabric to the bottom of the base, just under the lip.
I then stuffed it full of polyester filling through the holes left in the inside of the top of the base to get a nice, fluffy, helmet-like shape.
If the shape you have at this point is not even remotely dome-like, you may need to go back and modify the shapes of fabric you used to begin with.
Once the dome-shape was done, I sewed pieces of felt together placing seams where they'd appear as cheek and lip creases. This was glued onto the base as before, and pulled, tucked and stitched back to stretch it tight.
Step 4: Face details
The eyes and nose pieces were started by making their basic shapes with crumpled newspaper and wrapping it with masking tape.
Polar fleece was stretched tightly over these eyes and nose pieces and hot glued in place. The nose was glued onto the face, and a few stitches were placed at the top to keep it secure.
The eye sockets were cut with 2 or 3 "X" slices through all the layers of fabric with an exacto blade. I squirted some hot glue into the eye sockets and wedged the eyes into place.
I then added pupils and eyelids made from little pieces of felt.
The horns were made of fleece, stuffed with polyester filling, and hand stitched in place.
Step 5: Hair
The hair was added by cutting and gluing small sections of fake fur in place one at a time.
A section of hair was added to the back that hangs down to complete the back of the head. I sewed a piece of fabric to this section of hair so it wouldn't be so scratchy on my boy's neck.
Step 6: Teeth
I added some strips of foam into the hat opening to make it a little more snug, and covered this with a piece of fabric that was glued in place.
A piece of red fleece was glued down to start the mouth.
For the teeth, I took a strip of white felt that was about 3 by 12 inches and glued it in half lengthwise, with no glue all along about a half inch of the non-folded edge. When it was dry, I cut wedges from the strip to make the teeth
When folded open, the non-glued edge of each wedge created a gluing area for each tooth to be attached to the mouth.
Step 7: Lower jaw
The lower jaw was made by inserting a 2 by 20 inch, 3/4 thick piece of foam inside a sleeve made of fleece.
The sleeve was made by sewing two pieces of fleece together--one was cream colored and the other was red. The front seam was positioned so the cream colored fleece wrapped around the front of the foam to create the bottom lip, leaving the red fleece about an inch back to be the inside of the mouth.
Teeth were added, but this time glued flat, extending out past the lip. The jaw piece was glued to the front corners of the neck piece showing in the last step. Fur was glued onto the bottom of the jaw after if was connected to the head.
A piece of 1-inch elastic, wrapped in red fleece was glued inside to work as a chinstrap.
That's it! The whole thing weighs about a pound.
If you make one, be sure to post a photo and let me know how it went!