When they announced the Halloween party and costume contest at work this year, my wheels started turning. I was really excited because Halloween is one of my special interests, but I very rarely have the opportunity to wear a costume outside of my own home. I made this clown costume for our work/employee contest.
I work in manufacturing, and my interactions with my coworkers are limited. I largely go unnoticed on the job. I wanted my costume to stand out and show off my artistic ability to my coworkers who don’t often get to see my creative side.
I spent probably 40 hours total over the month of October in production and spent about $60 on supplies. The entire costume is handmade, except for the shoes, which I had previously acquired secondhand. However, I did make and add the orange pompoms to the shoes in addition to the suit and hat.
I used a cheap plastic pumpkin-shaped treat pail for the candy bucket, which I then reworked into a clown-themed bucket using papier-mâché clay and acrylic paints. I also handcrafted the sweets in the bucket—two large swirl lollipops and candy corn—all from papier-mâché clay and acrylic paint. The mask was also created by me, starting with a piece of cardboard, which I then papier-mâchéd and painted with acrylic paint as well. I was inspired by vintage Halloween costumes, candy buckets, and trick-or-treat photos from the 1940s.
I ultimately decided to collage the mask staff (a yard stake) and the back of the mask with checkered scrap fabric and an old children’s book I had on hand. My goal was neither scary nor funny, just unsettling, which I think I achieved. Though I unfortunately didn’t even place in the employee contest, I was overshadowed by the “funny” costumes and mascots, and the clown went almost entirely unnoticed.
I think the overall win for me was the dopamine acquired during the creation of the “Cloufit” and accessories, as well as important life skills I picked up throughout its creation. I learned how to make pompoms and even learned balloon twisting skills, just in case. The costume really became a passion project during spooky season.
While the “Cloufit” ended up overlooked at the party, I hope it inspires others out there to get creative with Halloween—even if it ends up losing the contest. The real wins are achieved during the creative process.