Woohoo, I’m not an entire year late yet! Since I have some newer projects I’d like to post, here’s an older one I haven’t gotten to yet.
Ezra’s Halloween costume for 2017 was Gaara: a character from the Anime/Manga series Naruto. The main props we needed to build for this costume were his sand gourd, and the leather bandolier. The clothing portions were all done with street clothing for simplicity.
Here are a few pictures of the finished costume, with a few more showing how it was constructed and made to work.
Gaara manipulates sand, and so he always carries with him a giant gourd-shaped container made of sand. This prop defines the character, but it’s huge and potentially unwieldy. Construction was theoretically simple: use paper mache. However, it wasn’t easy.
As a base, we used punching ball balloons, chosen because they’re larger and thicker than ordinary balloons. For our first few attempts, we taped the balloons together before applying paper mache. This was a problem when one of the balloons deflated, and the half-finished shell shrank and wrinkled. Extracting the bad half and replacing it didn’t work well, so we eventually ended up building up the second balloon separately and attaching them with masking tape and then paper mache after the shell was hard.
The cork on top was a natural cork from the craft store, and the lip was formed using Crayola Model Magic, which is basically an air-dried clay with the consistency of foam. It’s easy to work with, light, and takes paint well.
The whole giant peanut was painted tan, and then the seals were painted on after tracing the outline from a stencil, and cracks were hand-drawn.
After the gourd was completed, it was obvious that the decorative pleather bandolier would not be strong enough to support it without it sliding around and looking horrible. To solve this problem, I constructed a harness out of leftover nylon straps and buckles. The picture here shows Ezra trying on the harness for fit. In actual use, the harness went under his black shirt, and the attachment buckle went through a small hole in the shirt.
The buckle was sewn to the red sash around the gourd, and clipped onto the harness. This made it removable, so he could take it off at school, and supported the weight completely without putting any stress on the leather bandolier.
The leather bandolier was not difficult: I made a pattern out of paper, cut, and sewed it up. The multiple matching metal buckles came from a snakeskin leather purse from the thrift store, and were hot-glued into place.
The pleather came from one of our many trips to Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, and the white sash and foot wraps were muslin cloth. He rounded it out with red hair dye and Halloween face paint for the eye liner. The forehead tattoo worked better with acrylic paint than cheap Halloween face paint.