Animal and Beaker Costumes Bringing Joy to Nursing Home
Three years ago my girlfriend and I spent two months on home made minion costumes for a bar crawl costume contest. The costumes ended up excellent and we were a crowd favorite, but unfortunately did not win the contest.
We became discouraged at first, because we were convinced we had the win. My mom Carla and her friend Kim work at a nursing home/ rehab facility. They have little costume contests between the nurses to excite the elderly residents. My mom and her best friend asked us if they could borrow our minion costumes. They ended up winning the resident vote. Not only was it heartwarming that they had won and our hard work was appreciated, but also that the resident’s families were there to share the fun.
The grandchildren had a blast taking pictures with them and have actually requested them each year after that. It was a given that we would be making their costumes the next year as well, which was the chicken and the egg. We home made those costumes as well, and sure enough another win. It wasn’t about the win or the silly twenty-five dollar gift card.
Each of the residents mentioned how excited they were for the next year’s costume ideas. My mom and her best friend had become a Halloween legacy among all of the residents and their families. This year, they wanted to find something that could suit all ages so they came up with the idea of the Muppets. With the show returning on television, we knew that the children would recognize them, along with the parents, and residents.
My mom chose Animal, because she thought he was the most energetic character that could really get the people moving. Her best friend chose Beaker because he was the silliest character and would make people laugh. Instead of having scary costumes, they found a way to put on a show for the residents while also celebrating a holiday.
They took the win again this year, and yet again the residents are pleased to have something to look forward to next year. Here are the materials and steps we took to make the costumes.
- 1 metal mesh looking 12 inch diameter trash can from Office Max.
- 1 yard of light pink fabric.
- 2 half 4 inch Styrofoam balls, with 2 black felt balls.
- 1 full 4 inch Styrofoam ball.
- 2 Orange feather boas.
- Spray adhesive.
- Hot glue.
How to Make the Beaker Costume:
- Hot glue the pink fabric tight around the garbage can.
- Flip the garbage can over.
- Make a circle out of the cardboard and glue the feather boas to it.
- Glue the cardboard and boas to the bottom side of the garbage can.
- turn it upside down and spray the adhesive glue to it and push it down.
- Glue the black felt balls to the half Styrofoam balls for eyes, and glue them to the garbage can.
- Cover the full Styrofoam ball with orange fabric for the nose, and glue it underneath the eyes.
- Then cut the pink fabric to make the shape for the mouth where the persons eyes will be so they can see out of this opening.
- Purchase a doctors coat, tie, and button up shirt.
- 1 large 16 inch balloon. We used a “punch balloon”.
- Materials for Paper Mache.
- 1 each yarn of orange and red.
- 2 3 inch half Styrofoam balls and black felt balls.
- 1 4 inch Styrofoam ball.
- Hot glue.
- Orange Spray Paint.
- 1 black boa, 2 orange boas, and 1 red boa.
- 1 sheet of orange felt.
- 1 yard of black mesh material.
- 1 sheet of red felt.
- 1 bag of cosmetic sponges.
- 1 band t shirt, long sleeve orange shirt, long orange socks, big converse looking slippers.
- Dog collar and tie out chain.
- Drumsticks (we found electric ones that make noises at walgreens).
How to Make the Animal Costume:
- Blow up the balloon to full size and put 3 layers of Paper Mache on leaving an opening on the bottom for your head.
- Spray paint the entire head orange once Paper Mache is completely dry (we waited 2 days).
- Glue the eyes in place on the head (we traced position of facial features before gluing anything).
- Roll up the felt sheet and cut in half and place half on the bottom of the eye and half on the face part.
- Place the nose over the orange felt in the center under the eyes.
- Hot glue the black boa above the eyebrows.
- Cut opening for mouth where the person will be able to see.
- Hot glue the black mesh from the inside to cover the opening cut for the mouth (we used 6 layers).
- Glue orange boas around the mouth.
- Cut different lengths of the red and orange yarn and hot glue them piece by piece in a layer fashion up the head so there is volume.
- Fold the red felt sheet in half and stuff it with pillow stuffing and then sew it together in a tongue shape, and take a black sharpie to make the line on the tongue, and glue it to the mesh.
- Cut the cosmetic sponges to look like the teeth and glue them on the sides of the tongue.
- Hot glue some red strings by the cheek area as a finishing touch.