Every year we spend months trying to decide what to be for Halloween. We always seem to go back to 80’s fantasy movies. This year it was Beetlejuice. Amber and I would obviously be the dead couple (with the stretched faces). But what about the boys? They ALL wanted to be Beetlejuice. We tried to convince them to be Otho or a sandworm, but they wouldn’t budge.
But then we realized “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!” If you are going to do multiple Beetlejuices, 3 is the perfect number.
Amber and the kids decided that since we didn’t do Wizard of Oz last year after mom died, we had to do it this year. I was very hesitant, I wasn’t sure if I handle the emotions. But I was overruled.
When we were going to do it last year, Bass was going to be the lion (wearing the lion portion of Ezra’s manticore costume). But this year it no longer fit him. So we shuffled costumes around, and now Dae was the lion (wearing the lion portion of Bass’s chimera costume) That meant I now had to be the flying monkey, and Bass got to be my tin man.
I had already started the tin man and scarecrow masks last year. But the tin man mask I had made for myself didn’t fit Bass, so I had to start over. At least Ezra’s scarecrow mask still fit him.
I searched online for info on making costume armor for tin man. I always hated the rubbery cloth from the original movie. I wanted him to be more like an armored robot! I found YouTube videos by people like “Evil Ted” Smith where they used EVA foam floor mats (for like yoga and working out) to build some amazing armor. This stuff is awesome! I will definitely incorporate it into at least one costume every year.
My sister Katie decided to trick or teat with us, so she made costumes for herself and he kids to go along with our theme. Xander was the Wizard, Violet was Dorothy, and Katie was the Wicked Witch of the East, complete with the house that crushed her.
We were all set to do Wizard of Oz this year. Amber had been begging to do it for years, and I finally gave in.
We were just coming home from a Walmart trip to get supplies, when dad called. Mom had had a “massive cardiac event”.
I spent 2 weeks in the hospital at her bedside, but she never woke up…
Needless to say I wasn’t interested in Halloween or making costumes anymore.
As we got closer to Halloween, I told the boys that they could have store-bought costumes for the first time in their lives. They were really excited. Ezra decided to make his own Teemo costume with a hat he found on Amazon. Bass chose a scary jester. Dae found a ride on dinosaur costume that he asked if I could turn into a dragon. Amber bought a broken-doll costume. I saw a scary teddy bear mask that looked kind of lame, but gave me inspiration to make my own.
I made the face look friendly, but when I opened the mouth, there were sharp metal teeth with blood dripping from them. It was great when kids would come up saying “Look at the cute bear!” and then I would “smile” at them and they would run away screaming.
As soon as Daemon’s birthday rolled around this July, I knew it was time to start deciding on a costume theme. Daemon decided that he wanted to be Batman this year, so we all chose characters around that. Ezra decided he wanted to be The Riddler. Bass chose two-face. Amber was torn between Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Since the boys insisted I be The Joker, she felt Harley was the right choice.
I started Daemon’s helmet right away. I considered just using cloth, or maybe latex, but decided I wanted something stronger. I found a pepakura file for a Christopher Nolan “Dark Knight” style helmet. I scaled it up, printed it out, and cut it out of cardboard. About 6 hours of trimming and hot gluing later, and I had a perfectly fitting cardboard helmet. To keep it together a little better, I paper mached it using quilted paper towels.
I wanted to paint it black, but Daemon insisted “no daddy, I want to be Blue Batman!” I went through tons of pictures of all of the different Batmans, and could not convince him that Keaton’s Batman, or even Christian Bale’s Batman, were better than Adam West. I finally got him to agree on Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” Batman. Dark Blue on Dark Grey. Luckily I still had some dark blue felt from my Skeletor costume years ago. I coated the helmet in it, and made a nice ribbed cape.
To make sure Dae’s helmet would fit after it was coated and I had made the neck piece, I made a cast of his head and shoulders. I also made a cast of Bass’s face to model his half-mask on. I have some blue modeling clay that I have used for years, but I really don’t like how soft it is and how easily it deforms with the lightest touch. I have read about “Monster Clay” for years, and finally decided it was time to get some. It is AMAZING. It is like a cross between wax and clay. It is very stiff, and can be cut and shaped with tools, but you can microwave it, or warm it in your hands for a few minutes, and it works like soft clay. I modeled a creepy half-face with a bulging eye and exposed teeth for Two-Face. Looking online for a cheap alternative to foam latex, I found several people using common unflavored gelatin. The recipes all varied, but were basically a mix of gelatin, glycerin (at Walmart in the medicine department), sorbitol and water. Sorbitol is an artificial sweetner, and is supposedly not too hard to get ahold of, but I could not find it anywhere. I finally found a YouTube video where they said to use sugar-free pancake syrup. The main ingredients in that are sorbitol and water. I mixed them all together, poured them into my plaster mold, and waited. To my surprise, it came out great. Since gelatin is made from animal skin, it felt very flesh-like. It could also be melted and re-used.
I swore I would not sew another suit for the boys after last year’s Doctor Who. Cutting down a men’s (or women’s) suit to fit a child is a pain. After several months of searching thrift stores for a child’s green sports jacket, and two contrasting suits to cut in half for Two-Face, I had to give up. I found a women’s XL green blazer that I cut down for Ezra. For Bass, he already had a blue pin-stripe from last year. I cut it in half, and then found a nice bright red blazer at Good Will that I cut down to fit him. I tried to make him a matching pair of pants from the other half of the blazer, but there wasn’t enough material, and it ended up with weird seams and poofy parts. We finally found a pair of red women’s capris that were misplaced as little girl’s pants. I cut them in half, and they matched the pin-stripe pants almost perfectly.
We went through quite a few Harley Quinn designs before Amber and I agreed on something. Most designs were a tight spandex bodysuit, but she is much more comfortable in a dress. She really wanted an 1800’s style dress, but it was just WAY too much work. We found a 1950’s style dress and a circus style dress that we liked, so we combined the two into a final design. Using the duct-tape technique I have used for duct-tape dummies in the past, I created a bodice/corset design to perfectly fit her. I then pinned paper triangles of increasing size around her to create the skirt.
I was really not feeling up to being Joker. I didn’t want to do the Heather Ledger Joker, since EVERYONE is doing that. I considered doing the Jack Nicholson Joker, but could not find a purple suit ANYWHERE. Even online, there was nothing under a few hundred dollars. Going through all of the Joker iterations without a purple suit, I really liked the New 52 Joker. He has gone insane and peeled his own face off, and then re-attached it with wires. Everyone insisted it was WAY too scary, and would leave small children completely scarred. I finally decided on the animated “The Batman”‘s rasta Joker, with crazy green dreadlocks and a huge yellow-toothed smile. He had a straight-jacket and blue prison pants instead of the purple suit.
I started cutting and gluing soda boxes into a basic Joker face, and it felt very familiar. I was building a piñata for my head! I paper mached it using the smoothest paper I could find: an old roll of TP that the dogs had destroyed. It went very quickly, and by the time I finished it, I was totally in the Halloween mood.
To see a gallery of all of our costumes, click here