Sunday, November 29, 2009

Halloween 2009

How-to Make a Pac-Man Costume:

First off, you need to ask yourself, just how badly do you want to have a homemade costume? Are you willing to risk your relationship with everyone you love? Are you on any medications that make you emotionally unstable? Are you emotionally unstable if you don't take your medications? If after answering these questions, you still think making this costume is a good idea, please read on.

Step One: Buy Two Hula Hoops.

When I first decided to be Pac-Man for Halloween, I read this. Written by Geoff42, he suggests that anyone trying to create a Pac-Man costume creates a frame out of PVC that he curved using a ring roller. But those things are dang expensive, I figured I could take a shortcut, and use hula hoops.

Step Two: Throw Away Hula Hoops.

Buying hula hoops was by far the stupidest decision I have ever made. Unless you are incredibly short, if you use hula hoops as the frame of your costume, you are going to have no room in your costume to move around in. A bonus frustration in using hula hoops is that the plastic they are made of is very pliable. It bends and warps just by looking at it. Because of this, it's almost impossible to find one hula hoop that's a perfect circle, forget about finding two. But if you're like me, you bought two hoops, thinking that they would be the same shape, and didn't realize how mismatched they were until you got home.

Step Three: Buy two foam core boards in the biggest size you can find.

I managed to find some at a hobby store that measured 5'x3.5', that's pretty gosh darn big. Perfect for drawing a perfect 3.5' radius circle. That is until I discovered that I can not draw a perfect circle. Not even using these "simple" instructions.

Step Four: Find a smart person to draw a circle for you.

Mr. J was not only the closest person to me physically at the time, but he's one of the smartest people I know. Surely he would be able to draw me a perfect circle. For Christ's sake, he saves lives for a living, a circle should be easy.

It wasn't.

After a few hours of sobbing into the shower curtain, because you're never going to be able to leave the bathroom, because the bathroom is the only safe place in the world where no one would ever think to judge your Halloween costume that is not perfectly circular, come out of the bathtub, come to terms that it's just a Halloween costume, no one will ever be able to tell that it's not an exact circle, and accept the sub-par circle Mr. J has drawn for you.

Step Five: Cutting (not your wrists).

You thought you freaked out when the drawing of the circle wasn't perfect?

You're going to absolutely die trying to cut out the sphere with an x-acto knife. You are going to slip, you are going to end up with an even less perfect circle than you started out with. You are going to cry for so long in that bathtub that you are going to wipe the skin around your eyes raw.

Step Six: Painting.

I'd read somewhere (because for the life of me, I can't find the link) of a guy who made a kick ass costume, but wished he'd painted the inside black. To make it look a little more polished.

Using poster paint, I slathered black all over one side of each of my two freshly cut out circles. And that's when they started to warp. Not just a little warped either. My two circled warped into giant sized replicas of Pringles.

At this point the urge to cry will be gone, because by now you have opened the day's third bottle of wine.

Step Seven: How the fuck am I going to fix this?

You've already spent a lot of money on useless hula hoops, paint, warped foam core board, wine and Xanax*. You can't afford to buy new foam core board, it wasn't cheap, and you are poor. So you go to the hardware store and buy PVC pipe and some joints for the pipe. You created an elaborate skeleton for each board that will force it to be flat, or at least close to flat. I used stick-on Velcro to force the warped board onto the PVC pipe. For some reason it worked better than mounting tape, go figure.

Step Eight: Making it look like Pac-Man!

There was no way I was going to paint the outside of this costume yellow. I'd already been burned by the evilness known as poster paint. Using spray adhesive from an aerosol can** I glued yellow felt to the outside of my costume. On top of the felt I painted (despite my anger at the paint) the mouth and the eyes. Using extra felt and Velcro, I made straps to hold the costume on my person.

Step Nine: What do you mean you want one too?

Since it was a group costume that I was making this costume for, I tweaked a few of these steps to design a few ghosts, fruit and even a wife for myself that others in my group made. As shown in the video below.

It was hell to make this. But we did win first place in our company's costume contest!

*and yellow pool noodles, I don't even remember how I was going to incorporate those.
** Sorry environment!


Pagan Lizard said...

me thinks there seems to be a trend with you and work halloween costumes... they're awesome but really, is the loss of your sanity on a recurring basis worth it?

Suicidal Jane said...

Every November, I tell myself, "I'm not doing this next year!"

And every year I dream up something bigger and harder.

And for three years in a row, none of my costumes have had eye holes....

Pagan Lizard said...

i'm seriously having flashbacks to the penguin costumes and watching you try to walk around the closet. that alone should have deterred you from doing it again.

then again, when i had to rescue you, the costume came in handy for you to sleep on.