We have a rule in our house, that Halloween costumes must be made. Originally, I created this rule to hinder scary, gross, costumes (I don’t like to be scared), but it also opens the door for greater creativity. It also means more work for me, right now.
Last year, Husband and I teamed up, and created a robot costume for Son out of a diaper box, footy-pajamas, and a helmet. You can see it here. Amazingly, as Halloween approached this year, Son kept asking when we were going to make his Robot Costume. Hmmm. I’m still not sure if he wanted to be a robot, or if he just things you’re supposed to dress as a robot on Halloween. In either case, I explained to him that he did that last year, and he could be anything he wanted. I gave him a month to think about it.
First, he wanted to be the “Scary Cat Man” from the Thriller video. Yeah. I don’t know if he meant MJ, or the creature from the beginning movie, but in either case, the challenge seemed too daunting. Sure, it would be funny to see a 3 year old dressed in red-leather and loafers, but I didn’t want to spend that sort of money. I simply hoped he would forget about it, and eventually, he did.
Next, he wanted to be a tea cup, and then a clock, and then a chair. There was quite a string of random household items, but again, I felt we could do better. I waited. With one week to go before the big day, I asked again.
“What do you want to be for Halloween?”
“A Transformer Police Car!”
“OK. I think we can do that.”
And off we went to the consignment store.
For those of you not familiar with Transformers, and to an extent, this includes Son, a “Transformer Police Car” is actually the a bad, evil transformer named Rampage. Son hasn’t seen any of the new movies, so he doesn’t know that. What he does know is that he happens to own a small, impossible to put together, transformer police car left over from when his Daddy went through his Mustang phase. Oh heck, I’ll just show you a picture…
You can see that I had my work cut out for me, but I wasn’t afraid. We started by buying a long-sleeve black shirt, and then some black cotton pants, which I had to get in the girl section — apparently, boys only wear jeans and cargo pants. Then, I created some stencils on my computer, and printed them out onto Freezer paper.
Then I began the process of cutting out all the white spaces. After last week’s flask, me and my Xacto have become best friends. Well, maybe more like old roomates that have seen too much of each other; it’s a love-hate sort of thing.
After the pieces were all trimmed, I carried them to the ironing board. Here’s the magic of freezer paper…
It irons on!! You just turn your iron to the highest, dry, setting, which for me was silk, and press away. The plastic on the backside of the paper melts just enough to stick to the fabric, but not enough to become permanent, or ruin your clothes.
(Yes, Husband still had the good camera hostage when I took these photos)
Once the paper was in place, I opened a bottle of metallic, white, puff paint (they don’t seem to sell the same stuff in non-3d paint). I used a sponge brush to paint the now black letters, trying to be careful around the edges. It took two coats minimum to get the coverage I wanted.
Once the paint is dry, I simply pulled the paper off. I repeated this process for a total of two Police with lines, two Police without lines, and one 643. While all that was drying, I worked on the wheels and lightbar.
I went simple. I used the cardboard left over from the Tossbox, cutting 4 circles, and then had Husband draw the rims. I cut one of the rims, and then handed all four wheels to Son for painting. I wasn’t going to make his costume completely by myself. While his paint dried, I cut out four more circles from some mirrored paper I had on hand. Then I very carefully attached the mirrors to the black wheels, and finished cutting out the rims. I would have pictures of this, but as I mentioned, Husband stole the camera!
I used Velcro to attached the wheels to Son’s costume, and although the Velcro is sticky on one side, it didn’t want to stay on the clothing so well. I ended up having to stitch it on, and I broke two needles in the process. It was a painful time, but since I stitched nice long stitches (so I can remove them, and Son can wear the clothes later), it wasn’t a long time.
The lightbar was probably the most difficult piece of the puzzle. I over-thought it. Surprise! When I finally came through, I had a skeletal frame made of cardboard with cardstock folded, and pinned over it.
I know. It’s way more complicated than it needed to be. It’s a sickness.
I painted it the required red and blue, stuck some black tape across the middle, and called it a day.
Oh, and I stole the good camera back.
As soon as it was all dry, I made Son put on the costume, and pose for pictures.
I hope the “let’s make dumb faces for the camera” stage doesn’t last too long.
And the best part of his costume? It’s when he transforms. It’s sad that you can’t actually watch the process. Son will tense up, pull his body in, and then make sounds like metal and hydraulics while he moves his arms and legs into place. When he’s finished, he looks like this…
Some days, he’ll crawl around the house like that, pretending to be some sort of transformer. At least now, he has a costume so others will know what he’s doing.
I’m actually very pleased with how it all turned out. And just in case you’re wondering, no, we didn’t save any money by doing it ourselves. The clothes were $5.38, the paint was 4 bucks, and the freezer paper was around 4 too. Then again, I still have paint left over, yards and yards of freezer paper, and Son can wear the clothes again later, so maybe I did come out on top. One thing is for sure, nobody else will be dressed the same!