My name is Sean and I used to work for a company called Mueller. They sell underground water flow control products, i.e Fire Hydrants. Two years ago they had a Halloween costume contest at work so I decided to be a smarty pants and go as a fire hydrant to make it a big joke. In order to pull this off I had to go over the top, but that’s my philosophy. Go Big or Go Home. I was an inside sales rep so I knew all the components which gave me the leg up on this one.
I had a great vision in my head on how I wanted to do this. I went out to Wall Mart and got red cloth and a foam bed spread. I then went to Michael’s craft store and bought styrofoam, in all shapes and sizes. My mom used to do day care so she had some cheap red and black paint and aluminum foil. I also went to the dollar store and bought a pair of white gloves.
After it was all said and done I was $100 in (but that’s okay I did really get my use out of it and the laughs were so worth the money). I began to wrap the foam bedding around my body to make the cylinder. I also cut out holes in the top for my arms to go in. My mom has sewing stuff so I grabbed some red thread and sewed it together. From there I sewed the red cloth all the way around. I know why guys don’t sew, because I poked my fingers like 9 times and man that hurts! First blood….
I had now completed the “body”. See knowing the components of a fire hydrant was a plus because I could really take off with this.
The components of my costume are the following:
- Operating Nut: Nut at the top of the fire hydrant which allows the fire fighters to open and close the hydrant
- Bonnet: the top of the fire hydrant which covers the bearing housing and let’s the operating nut to be exposed. It also allows grease to be poured in to lubricate the working parts of the hydrant.
- Hose Nozzles: side nozzles which allow the fire fighters to hook up their hoses. (Usually two, one on each side)
- Pumper Nozzle: Various kinds depending on the city spec. A popular model is the Storz quick connect, which is a 1/4 turn vs a threaded kind like the hose nozzles. They are marked “Storz” on the front of the cap.
- Body: A cast of the fire hydrant which gives it the bold outline of the ones we see on the street today.
- Traffic Flange: at the bottom of the hydrant, had 8 bolts which secures the top half to the lower barrel.
- Chains: Allows the fire fighter to remove the hose caps and the chains will hold them so they don’t get lost or thrown in the dirt where dirt can get into the threads. (Also looks really cool).
Once I got the body made I started working with my styrofoam pieces. They composed of a large sphere (which I cut in half) two circles and two smaller circles, a ring (like the one around Saturn), and another larger ring (traffic flange) and a rectangular block for making square shapes for the nuts on the hose caps and bolts around the traffic flange). First half of the sphere: I cut out the inside so it would fit like a hat on my head. I then glued the smaller sphere around to give it the shape of a bonnet. I cut out a square piece from the rectangular block and made the operating nut. Bonnet complete!!
I then took the circles and made a square out of the smaller circle and then made a cube from the rectangular block and created the hose nozzles x2! From here I made bolts in a hexagon shape (real deal) from the rectangular block and glued them on the large sphere to create the traffic flange. (I had to cut the flange in half in order to fit it around me because the inner dimension was too small). I painted everything red, except the bolts and op nut, the bolts were grey and op not bronze (op nuts are made out of brass like material)
Pumper Nozzle: this is what makes my story. So I’m cutting out this sphere to make it look like a pumper nozzle with an exacto knife and as I am doing this at 8 o’clock at night (Halloween at work is the next day), I slip and cut my palm of my left hand open and start spewing blood all over the place!!! I had to run to the sink (and I’m a queasy guy so I’m like about to pass out) and just before I start falling back my mom slips a chair under me and saves me lol. So I’m as white as a ghost, my sister gets the neighbor who is a nurse to come have a look at my hand as I am now on the couch with my legs in the air trying to rush the blood back to my head. She looks at it and is like, oh ya, you’re gonna need stitches (one of my fears!). So I’m thinking to myself “great and I’m still not done my costume”.
Four hours later I get back home from the hospital with 2 stitches and a bunch of pain killers and I reach back for the exacto knife and my moms like “what are you doing!!” I’m like “Mom I’m winning 1st place tomorrow”. I kept working until 2 am, finishing up the pumper nozzle and painting it red and putting the words “Storz” on the front in black paint to let the paint dry. I also used PL and glued the traffic flange to the red material (that stuff sticks to anything). Also painted the bonnet.
I got up at 6 am and ran downstairs with my hand throbbing in pain, popped a Tylenol and realize the glue hadn’t stuck well to the cloth so I McGivered it and sewed the red thread around the traffic flange to give it extra support. And more glue of course….
So from here the styrofoam pieces are all painted, so I glued and sewed them on to the body and grabbed aluminum foil and started making chains and linking them together from the hose caps to the pumper nozzle. I took the bonnet and found a large white elastic at home and I used that as a chin strap so I could keep it on my head.
Costume complete! So I have the body with all the styrofoam on it and the bonnet. What about me? I had a long sleeved red under armor from when I played hockey (yes it was washed) so I threw that on and I had my black running leggings. (If you think about it the black leggings are the lower barrel. The lower barrel is the black shaft that connects from the main water line and brings water up and out the hose and pumper nozzles). They coat the barrel with a thick black epoxy coating to prevent the barrel from corroding.
That combined with the white gloves gave me a home run with this costume. So I’m all stitched up, big band-aide on my hand and the white gloves I put the costume in the back of my jeep, make it work on time for 8 am, throw on this costume( had to get on a stool and then hop in) put the bonnet on and walked around saying good morning to people.
This was one of my best costumes, I had people on the floor laughing. Mueller is a very large American Manufacturing company (we are the small 5% GP in Canada) and I got put on the website and even the higher ups saw it lol. (I don’t know if that’s good or bad, probably more bad than good lol). One of the best parts was telling people the story how I bled and cried over the fire hydrant lol. I said I put blood sweat and tears into the company now (I was still pretty new at the time lol). So I earned my spot in the company now lol
I won 1st place, but it was a journey to get there. I am glad I made it and this story will always stick with me and the people who got exposed to this costume. Best part was people’s reactions because everyone knows we sell fire hydrants at Mueller. Even the people in accounting. No one would be bold enough to dress up as one…except for me. Go Big or Go Home.
Hardest part was suffering through the pain in the hospital and then coming back and grabbing that exacto knife again after I had just cut myself open. I still have a pamphlet I used to help guide me through the details of how the hydrant should look when carving out the styrofoam and it still has my blood on it.
The costume is still in my basement, some of the paint has worn off from a 500 person party I went to and some of the paint rubbed off from being so tight to other people all night lol. This costume covers all the areas, it’s hilarious, everyone knows what it is, it’s home made so people appreciate it more, and I can still look cute to a girl when wearing it.