For many years now, our son has repeatedly received comments on his resemblance to Harry Potter. He has never wanted to be Harry for Halloween because he didn’t think it was scary enough, or shocking enough or even cool enough for his tastes. Well, this year we broke through his perceptions with flair and made him a Homemade Headless Harry Potter!
Our first step in creating his costume consisted of buying a gigantic container of cheese puff balls from our local warehouse club. (To say our fondness of this snack is gone forever is an understatement!) This was to be used as the jar for his head. As we consumed the puff balls I began sewing his robe, adding a Gryffindor patch for that authentic look. (We opted to spend the most money here for appearance of authenticity and reuse factor).
Our local thrift stores provided the dress shirt, tie, and gruesome hands, which were originally meant for yard décor. Our son already had the pants and we just used an old black sweater for the vest. For the frame of the ensemble, we used a rolling backpack with an extending handle. I was fortunate enough to receive this through our local “Freecycle” group. The wand and glasses were bought on sale from a local craft store clearing out their Halloween merchandise.
We began the building process by breaking off the top of a plastic hanger and attaching the rest of it to the handle of the backpack. We adjusted the handle to the proper height, secured both sides to prevent accidental movement, and hung the dress shirt on the hanger. We stuffed the shirt with fiberfill stuffing salvaged from unfinished projects, retired stuffed animals, and unused, unloved pillows. Once a torso was formed we put the sweater vest on and then the tie. The hands were stuck in the sleeves and secured with duct tape. (Duct tape was certainly our friend in this endeavor!) For the neck, we painted a 24 oz. plastic food container flesh color. We had some leftover ½ inch PVC pipe that had a jagged edge so we used that as the bone in the center of the neck. We cut two slits on both sides of the container and put it in the shirt collar positioning it on the hanger. The robe was the final addition to the “body”.
For the jar, we cut out the back and the center of the lid and placed several holes in the bottom for air circulation. To hold the jar up and help keep it in place, we melted a hole in the top of the jar with a large upholstery needle heated with a lighter. We then tied a knot in a piece of thread and put it through a small clear button. This was placed on the inside of the jar and the thread brought through to the other side and sewed into the shirt to anchor it.
To help anchor the hands to the jar we first found the proper placement of the hands and marked where the cuff of the shirt met with the jar. We then melted holes in the jar according to our marks using the same method as before. We used the button and thread again sewing hook-and-eye type closures to the outside of the jar and to the cuffs of the shirt. This helped keep the hands in place. Our good friend, Duct Tape, made another helpful appearance here to secure the hands a little more underneath.
When the construction was complete our son was able to strap on the backpack in a normal fashion. He positioned his head in the jar and we then fastened the robe underneath his neck. He already had on the glasses so our final step was placing Harry’s wand in the hands and voilà! Harry Potter has lost his head!
Cost for Materials: Robe material: $9.00 Gryffindor patch: $6.00 Dress shirt: $1.00 Tie: .50 Jar of Cheese Balls: $5.50 Harry Potter glasses and wand: $4.00 Hands: $5.00 Neck, back pack for frame, pants, sweater vest, stuffing: Free
Total cost: $31.00 Scaring toddlers, baffling adults, finally achieving the “cool factor” while wearing Harry Potter. Priceless!