This year, I offer a twist on the Simpson's Halloween.
* Check out more pics of the completed costume in the last step *
Step 1: Inspiration and Design
My costume draws inspiration from the Simpson's Treehouse of Horrors III Halloween Episode that originally aired on Oct 29th 1992. The episode opens with the skeleton couch gag shown above. This was the 64th episode of the series which features the Evil Krusty doll that Homer buys Bart after forgetting to get him a birthday present. While the doll is nice to Bart, it repeatedly tries to kill Homer, until Marge calls Krustyco and a technician points out that the doll was set to Evil. These two features of a classic Simpson's episode were the perfect starting point for this year's costume build.
Step 2: Making the Couch
- Use double sided tape to hold pieces of blue foam together during assembly. It's quick and easy and you can usually buy rolls at the dollar store. Be careful when sticking styrene plastic to blue foam with double sided tape. It won't necessarily stick long-term.
- Hot glue works really well with blue foam. Lower heat glue will stick much faster and won't melt the blue foam.
- Use some cotton batting under the material for your couch to give it a cushy feel. This provides a great look, but be careful later if you intend to put any screws through your couch. The cotton really wants to wind around the screw and makes some attachment as little more difficult.
- I used sheet styrene to wrap around the arms and back of the couch. It's readily available from plastic suppliers and provides an excellent way to finish off details and structures.
- I used some packing tape to reinforce all of my joins and connections. Buy the good stuff though... dollar store packing tape just doesn't cut it.
- Make sure you plan out the assembly of your couch. I made sure to cover specific components of the couch with fabric before final assembly.
- If possible, buy your fabric at a thrift store or Value Village. I was extremely lucky to find a huge belt of fabric in the perfect colour at value village. It was so large, we couldn't find the price on it. She let me have it for $6.99. When I got home and unraveled it, I found the actual price of $14.99. A similar sized piece might have cost me hundreds at a fabric store.
- To make the piping around the arms and back, I simply hot glued some wire to edge of the fabric and rolled it over. This is much faster than getting someone you know to sew it for you. I still haven't mastered those skills.
- I made a door for the back of the costume using a sheet of styrene. I glued a steel strip down the closing edge of the door, and install several rare earth magnets in the foam part of the couch to help keep the door closed while the costume is on.
- I originally intended to wear the couch with some suspenders, but after I started testing it with all of the skeletons, the weight and size of the couch caused it to hang forward. I installed some support legs at the front, but it was still awkward to pick up the couch to move it. Ultimately I had to install a support structure with some wheels. This made life so much easier in terms of transportation and ease of getting in and out of the costume.
Step 3: Sound Module
It was 15.99 retail, and arrived at my door in less that a week for approximately $25 shipped. I opted for the model with 4 buttons and speaker input. The software to load the WAV files in on their website and it is really straight forward and easy. I then scoured the internet for Evil Krusty sound clips. Let me point out some key features:
- Because the module comes without a case, I decided to quickly model and 3D print a housing for the board, batteries and buttons.
- I also purchased a pop-up speaker from thesource.ca for 12.99 on sale. This little speaker gives my sound effects some serious volume.
- I cut out sections in the foam part of the couch to mount the module and speaker, making sure to allow access so that I can turn the speaker on and off. I also needed the ability to remove the module if necessary for changing batteries and loading sounds.
Step 4: Krusty Mask
After a bit of research on how to best paint a mask, I purchased some PROS AIDE online. It's basically a rubbery adhesive used in the special effects industry. You simply mix this with some water and some acrylic paint. This mixture is often referred to as PAX paint. The mixture proportions vary depending on where you get your information. I mixed about 40% Pros Aide, 50% paint, and 10% water.
- You want to brush it on with thin layers and dry it with a hair dryer. The whole process is actually quite fast and the results were better than I expected.
- For the hair, I used a cheap Halloween hat purchased at Value Village. Sometimes when you make stuff like this, certain materials are just meant to be. After I cut apart the fuzzy green hat, I used every part of it without even trimming anything away. PERFECT!!
- I used an old ball cap to extend the back of the mask and to give me something to attach the hair to. I glued some wire inside of the hair pieces so that I could manipulate the shape and direction of the hair once everything was glued in place.
Step 5: Skeletons
I then found Skeleton-Factory.com
I purchased the following skeletons for under $70 shipped.
- I started by approximating the size I would need for each skeleton. I then cut and laminated pieces of blue foam using spray adhesive. I clamped these overnight to get a good bond. Make sure to buy a good quality spray adhesive. I used Elmers which seems to do the job. I carved the first skull out of a foam head. I do not recommend this at all. I ended up using this skull for Lisa, but it was not fun to work with. The white foam is not dense enough.
- Draw the basic profiles of your skull on each side of the block.
- Use a hack saw, and band saw, or a utility knife to remove large portions of foam. Please wear a mask, Blue foam dust is not healthy to breathe.
- Use a hole saw and some forstner bits to hollow out the eyes. Use smaller forstner bits to hollow out the nose and the mouth.
- Continue to carve with a utility knife making sure you have a sharp blade. Finer details can be carved using a dremel. I`m still using the cordless one I won from instructables a couple years ago for my chucky costume.
- Carving the skulls for Lisa and Maggie was a little more difficult. Rather than trying to carve all of the little hair spikes out of one block, I decided to hot glue each one on individually. This took a little more time but it seemed to work out okay.
- In order to protect the blue foam from spray paint, you need to coat it with something. There are several options for this. I chose to mix drywall compound half and half with latex primer. I painted 3 coats on each skull with a light sand in between coats.
- I then attached my skulls to the skeleton and used a light beige spray paint and some black spray paint to blend the skulls in with the plastic bones.
Step 6: Take a Seat
- Before I attached everything, I did a quick mock-up to determine the placement of all the parts.
- I started by building the legs for Krusty. This started from the boots up.
- I drilled a hole through the bottom of each boot and bolted them to the couch.
- I filled the boots with actual plastic legs from the dollar store. This provided some structure to the legs.
- I then cut the green pants to the appropriate length and slid them over the legs. I added some cotton stuffing to fill out the look.
- I then added some dollar store knee pads for the knees and added some additional stuffing to the wast area.
- The top portion of the pants were then hot glued to the opening at the top of couch.
- I poked holes through the couch using an awl, and then used zip ties.
- I also installed screws from the underside of the couch directly into the plastic skeletons. I tried to get as many points of attachment as possible while being discrete at the same time.I
- I used a length of pvc pipe for the main pole of the lamp.
- I used length of rubber tubing I found in the auto shop for the neck of the lamp.
- To help hold the curved shape of the neck, I put some brake line on the inside of the tube.
- The lamp connector was printed on the 3d printer.
- I bought and old lamp shade at Salvation Army for $0.99
- I then hot glued an Insta-bulb to the inside of the lamp shade. I bought a 2-pack of these at Canadian tire.
- The main pole of the lamp is screwed directly through the couch into wooden blocks that I glued on the inside.
Step 7: Krusty's Attire
- White Gloves - Value Village $0.99
- Purple Polo - Talize $7.99
- Green Pants - Salavation Army $2.99
- Blue Bow-tie - Value Village $0.99
- Yellow Compression Shirt - Online $40 (I had to have it)
- Cut the back of the Polo shirt right down the middle.
- Cut the compression shirt up the seams to the armpit on either side. I had to do this because the shirt was so tight to wear.
- Hot glue the edges of the compression shirt to the purple polo.
- Cut out a rectangular section in the yellow shirt to allow for the switch.
- Cut a small block of wood and cut grooves in it on the router table.
- Vacuum form the wooden block and then spray paint it the appropriate colour. I covered the rest of the switch with grey vinyl because I didn't have any grey spray paint on hand.
- Cnc cut a plastic template to spray paint the letters on the back of the shirt. Make sure it sits flat so that you don't get over spray. I wasn't as careful as I could have been.
- Add a strip of velcro down the right hand side of the shirt to complete the look.
- Consider whether or not to add the plastic pull string. It might be something that everyone grabs if you go out to a big party.
Step 8: Duff
- First I cut down a red bull can and attached the label. This worked well, but I didn't have any more cans, and I didn't want to buy a red bull just to use the can. I found the first one in the recycling at school.
- I then decided to use some empty beer cans. I cut off the top and bottom with some scissors.
- I then glued the two ends of the can to a sturdy cardboard tube that I found. The diameter was perfect.
- I then located a decent image of the duff label online and printed it out to the appropriate size.
- After laminating the labels, I stuck them to the can using double-side tape.
Step 9: More Pictures....
Thanks to my brother for snapping some great pictures of my costume this year.