I was between jobs and desperately in need of cash as the month came to a close along with household bills. I always love going all out on Halloween with my friends and family. The joy it brings to absolutely everyone from strangers to loved ones while seeing others’ creativity come to life is priceless. I really wanted to wow South Florida this year. I heard of several costume contests nearby offering cash prizes. It was the perfect scenario, it was destiny. A way I could earn the funds I need for my household and have a great time wowing my friends, family, and the rest of South Florida with my creativity and ingenuity. I have always wanted to build a homemade transformers costume, but never liked any of the designs I saw online. I decided to design my own cardboard Prime, a warrior that would not only walk and look similar to the real thing, but would also transform into a truck with the lights and sound Optimus Prime’s infamous Hotrod includes!

I began to sketch how I wanted the truck to look to figure out how I would wear and transform into it as I built it. I then went dumpster diving for all the cardboard materials I needed and headed to a local dollar store for a bunch of the light features. With Halloween only a few days away, I began cutting and securing the cardboard with tape and fishing wire (good thing I am a fisherman)! Next thing, I knew I was half-way done building the autobot! I figured out how to secure my arms and legs without worrying about them breaking during a transformation. I also had to make sure none of the cheap light fixtures would get damaged while dancing, taking pictures with all the kids, and putting on the transforming show over and over throughout the long weekend.

Finally, it was time to paint. I created stencils for his flames and autobot symbol on my chest/back of the truck and purchased three paint cans (all I could afford). I painted away and double checked all the lights: finally he was here, Optimus Prime! I put on the costume with pride and practiced transforming properly. With an air horn for extra flare, my creation was complete. I thrilled all of South Florida with my creation! I made kids and even many adults extremely happy, and guess what, I won the contest! I won just enough money to cover my bills for the month and have been super grateful to all who supported me through the fun but challenging task. What a great ride! Autobots, roll out, and *Air horn sounds as I transform!