How to make a Tron costume in 10 days or less?

“Nan, can you make me Tron for Halloween?”  My grandson asked sweetly, 10 days before our town’s Trick or Treat night. “Sure, Buddy”, I answered with complete naiveté.  I was not sure who or what a tron was but each year I try to make something special for my grandson.  He loved the movie Tron Legacy when it came out and wanted to be Tron ever since.  However last year I was on vacation so he had a store bought costume.  So this year, on October 16th, I promised him I, indeed, could make him Tron.  Uh-oh!

Where to start?  Find out what a Tron is.  Rent the movie.  Oh my Gosh!  How was I going to pull this one off?   I know, You Tube!  So, I went to You Tube and watched many a video on how to make a Tron Costume.  Cool. But now I need to see one on how to make a Tron costume without breaking the bank in the process! I can afford a motorcycle suit or a wet suit. Hmmm, nothing on You-Tube like that.  Okay brain, start thinking. Stare at images of Tron and think some more.
Let’s start with the basics.  Black sweats are very affordable so let’s start there.  I had to buy pants one size smaller and they still were too baggy so I took the legs in 2 inches, now they fit like leggings for boys.  Great now I have black sweats with tight legs.  Oh well, it’s a start.  Black sweats = $12.00.

How to light-up the suit?  Well, I needed some reflective tape and maybe a rope of led lights (battery operated, of course). I found Glow in the dark Duck Tape at Walmart for $4.00. But for the rest it’s Amazon to the rescue!  I found Reflexite REF-DB Retroreflective V92 Daybright Tape: 2 in. x 15 ft. (Silver-White) = $23.00 and 9ft Blue Neon Glowing Electroluminescent Wire (El Wire) = $6.00.

Unfortunately, I needed a sturdier canvas for all of this tape and wire than a fleece sweat shirt so I found some flat foam 11.81 in x 17.71 in sheets at Joann Fabrics for .99 each. I bought 2, one for his chest, one for his back.  Perfect size!  However, I didn’t realize that you can’t sew foam (until I TRIED to sew foam) and that was how I planned to attach the led wire.  I tried taping the wire down but it wouldn’t stick in the small strips that I needed. Bummer!  So off to the Dollar General for a roll of black Duck Tape = $3.50 and dust masks (.50 for 2) for his shoulder armor, spray painted black.

When I showed my grandson my design (the tape laid out on the foam/shirt) he was elated to say the least!  But then, I ran into the problem of the foam ripping and the tape not sticking to the wire and foam.  I HAD to finish this, my grandson was counting on me! So, I put it aside for a day or two, knowing on the day before Trick or Treat my creative juices would flow…and they did.

I cut arm and neck curves on the foam pieces to fit like a vest.  I sewed the tops of the foam (like straps) onto the sweatshirt. I knew I couldn’t sew the sides down because he wouldn’t have been able to get them over his head so I put stick-on Velcro on his shirt and the vest and attached them when he was dressed.  I covered the front and back of the foam with black duck tape.  I then cut the glow in the dark tape and placed them on the suit in the shapes.  (I didn’t measure anything,  I just cut what I thought the pictures looked like).  It looked pretty cool with just the glow tape but I decided to put the reflective tape in the middle of the glow tape to make it really “pop out” at dusk when it’s not totally dark outside. After I got the reflective tape on I added the LED wire to just the front of the suit and secured it with black duck tape. On the back of the suit shirt I added a disk made of 2 small paper plates with a hole cut out in the middle, covered in black tape with glow tape around the edges (later, I added a glow stick necklace around it) and attached the disk with Velcro, then I added reflective and glow tape to the back. On the pants I put reflective and glow tape on the front and just glow tape on the back. Since it was raining and cold I added black gloves with reflective tape to keep Tron’s hands warm. (Tron’s mom made him wear a black stocking hat as well.)

Success! All of the Trick-or-Treaters knew he was Tron! Not just Tron but an AWESOME Tron!! He was the neighborhood Rock Star!  SUCCESS!

I could have spent $30 for a “store-bought” Tron costume but it would not have been as much fun as showing my grandson what we can do when we use our imagination and ingenuity.  I spent around $55-$60, (pardon me using a credit card ad here) but my grandson’s smile and hugs were truly PRICELESS!