Introduction: How to Make a Bacteria Themed Costume & Meet Neil Gaiman

About: 12v Electronics, Motorcycles, Neon and Dirt

I recently had the chance to attend the Ig Nobel awards, with the Harvard/Radcliffe Science Fiction Association. If I dressed up in a bacteria related theme, I'd get half a chance at meeting one of the special guests, Neil Gaiman. Needless to say, I slapped together the best bacterium costume I could. Complete production time was under 2 hours, and that was with a lot of mucking about.

Step 1: What I Used

The Short:
  • 10 green latex gloves
  • 2 30 gallon black garbage bags
  • black bandanna, beanie hat, and sunglasses
  • various bits of paper and plastic rubbish to stuff gloves
  • black shoestring

The Long of It
Whilst casting about for an idea, I recalled seeing somewhere (here probably) a ghost costume made from a white garbage bag.
I ran out and bought a box of black garbage bags (30 gallon) at a local hardware store and went hunting for latex gloves, because any self respecting Bacillus would be caught dead without flagella. In other words, TENTACLE BITS!!
I did not find regular old latex gloves. I instead found green latex gloves. Booyah. Back in my apartment I rustled up a black bandanna, beanie hat, and sunglasses, all lending to a sinister look.

Step 2: The Body

I started by using some scissors and cutting a skirt kilt out of one bag by putting a slit in the top, stepping into it and tying a knot to keep it there. Perfect.
For the top I made a cut in another bag just big enough for my head to slip through. At this point I realized I needed hand access, but I didn't want my arms showing. After a little bit of mental exertion I found it is better to cut hand holes on the FRONT of the top then along the sides. I simply cut an X and pushed my gloved hand through it. I went with hand at roughly bell button level, going on the idea I would put more "flagella" on my head and feet.

This completes the "body". To wear it, one simply needs to put on the skirt kilt, don gloves, slip on the top, and push the hand out the x slits in the front.

Step 3: The Head and Feet

Initially I intended to inflate the gloves. I decided against this course of action rather quickly.
Using what was bound to the paper recycle and other junk (paper, junk mail, plastic grocery bags etc...), I simply stuffed the gloves and tied a knot. Worked like a charm. I used a moistened paper towel to wipe the gloves down, I simply can not abide the powder they have on these guys.

After stuffing, I tied 6 of them into a "garland" with a shoestring. Any string, or even tape will work. I tied it to the appropriate length to to go around my head, and one across the top (tied loop around head, excess goes across top and tied like an upside down hat string).

The remaining 2 stuffed gloves where mounted on my boots with those wondrous things females refer to as hair hickeys.

Step 4: Putting It All Together

Now to complete the ensemble. 
  • Start with good under stuffs. For me this was an Ibles Tshirt and Wrangler jeans, since I had other duties that required formal-er attire, I also had a nice pearl button flannel and hat, discarded for the costume. Yes I am unapologetically Texan, I'm sorry, its just the way I am.
  • Don the skirt kilt
  • Put on boots, mount adornment
  • Don top, do not insert hand, leave free to manipulate the rest
  • Mount beanie hat, and glove garland. Accessorize with bandanna and glasses 
  • NOW pull the top down and stick your hands out.

Step 5: The Outcome

Now comes the awesome part.
  • Hang out backstage because you are awesome and have a backstage pass because you are a volunteer.
  • Meet Neil Gaiman and gibber about how much you love his work. At some point proffer books and have them signed.
  • Later, while lined up with the rest of your similarily attired posse, bump into The Dude again.
  • Take group photo because you didn't want to be a creep and get a picture of just The Dude and you.
  • Facepalm for being at the back of the pack.
  • Receive compliment of "Simply Excellent Costume" from Gaiman.
  • Spend the rest of the evening enjoying the Ig Nobel Awards, discover just how very insulating and humid this outfit can get
Thanks for reading folks!
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