In Case You’re Interested in the How of Things

While most parents dash out to a drugstore to fulfill a narrow expectation of what is acceptable as Halloween apparel for their children, we design, craft and construct complex costumes which we seal our son into like a mummy in a sarcophagus whether he likes it or not. Yesterday I wrote a post regarding our series of vending machines that we built as costumes and how we arrived at an arcade fortune teller machine. Today we will go behind the scenes, and I’ll tell you a tale of cardboard, hot glue and a few well placed electric lights.

It all started with a sports equipment box from U-Haul.Then a trip to the fabric district for a half yard of red velvet for the curtain and bow tie, giant ric-rac and some green felt for the table. The metallic fabric was a remnant that I got for a steal at $1.98 for a yard. Perusing the button section, I found the perfect ruby gem for the turban! Home Depot for wood grain contact paper, 1/2″ pipe insulation and a plastic light globe.

The front windows and arm holes were cut out, the bottom of the box was trimmed down, and covered with wood grain contact paper.

For the turban, I cut 15″ wide strips from the metallic fabric, used quilting batting to plump it up, folded it in half and sewed it together. We wrapped the long strip around our son’s head until it looked right, and safety pinned it into place. I placed the turban on a mannequin head and hand stitched it together, adding the button gem to the front.

There were fittings along the way.

I was obsessed with the idea of having fancy schmancy wallpaper for the interior of the box. I found a pattern I thought would be a good fit in a book on vintage fabric, scanned it in Photoshop and printed it out. We applied it with a glue stick.

The shelf was made from a cardboard scrap, the bottom of the globe traced and cut out. I used Elmer’s glue to adhere the green felt. When it dried, we cut the felt and put the globe in place, and attached the shelf in the box with a hot glue gun. The coin slot was foam core covered in silver paper, the 25¢ graphic glued on top. The change return button was Brian Bubonic’s stroke of genius – part of a mechanical pencil with a washer to hide the sins! The velvet curtain had a dowel as a curtain rod, and was wired to the back of the box to hold it in place.

The overhead lights were two basic battery operated closet lights velcroed to the ceiling. Originally we had battery tea lights for the globe, but they didn’t seem bright enough. I spotted this child’s lantern in the drug store for three dollars. We unscrewed the globe and duct taped the base to the bottom of the crystal ball. The pipe insulation was cut and placed around the edge of the armholes for comfort, and to give it a more finished look.

We took dozens of pictures trying to capture the eerie effect of the costume lit up, and we kept on admonishing our kid to STAY STILL!

Here’s a happier fortune teller!

Here is the creative team. Joe, Tina and Uncle Brian who ably assisted.

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