As the Dad I am more than happy to buy a costume from the store just hours prior to trick-or-treating. However, my spouse loves making a Halloween costume more than opening presents on Christmas. Last year we set the bar pretty high and won a costume contest as the family in Brave. This year we were asked for over a month by friends what we were planning. Our 3 year old had seen Despicable Me 1 and 2. Everyone loves the minions. My spouse also had a Lucy-like coat we were off and running. Let it be said that I own a set of saw horses and a skill saw that I have used exactly twice in a decade. I am not at all handy and struggle to fix anything. If I can do this anyone can.
Gru and his favorite Minion
Home Depot is my Happy Place
We needed a body that my 3-year old could fit but that was not too heavy but sturdy enough to trick or treat. We started with a form tube from Home Depot for around $12. These are used to pour concrete to make a pillar for decks. They are made of lightweight cardboard and easy to cut with a razor or saw. The next piece was a half dome Styrofoam “thing” from Michaels for a few bucks. It did not fit exactly with the form so I used a skill saw to trim down the side so it would fit just inside the tube.
After having it fall down into the tube several times which was frustrating I added a little weather stripping inside the tube about a half an inch down to hold the dome in place. You can buy about a billion feet of weather stripping for about .03 cents. Making the head removable is handy since our daughter would want other people to see who was in the costume. It also makes the costume easier to work on with no head attached. Did I mention we live in Texas? Halloween weather can be 65 or 95 degrees.
Tube Top and Styro-Dome
Creating the holes for arms, eyes, and mouth
The tube is pretty easy to cut so we estimated the holes for arms, mouth, and the eye. Let it be said that we measured, cut, and re cut several times to get the placement and the size of the holes correct. The mouth hole where she actually looks through we expanded several times. Once the holes were cut we attached straps on the inside as suspenders. We just used a canvas strap and short nuts and bolts to attach it to the form. Again, several revisions to make sure our daughter could see through the mouth hole.
Trying on for size
Wrap it up
To add some depth and cover up any imperfections we added a layer of carpet padding from Home Depot which was about $20. This step is optional as it adds a little weight but also “softens” the look of the costume. We just rolled the tube up in it like a sausage and attached it by using 3M spray adhesive from Home Depot. We cut out the armholes and repeated the process with plain yellow felt from JoAnn’s Fabrics.
From Eyes to Overalls
For the eye we used an aluminum plumbing connector we found in Home Depot and attached some silver buttons for effect. The strap is just a black ribbon. The actual eye ball was a gushy gel Halloween eyeball from Michaels on a 4” Styrofoam ball. We cut the gel ball, squeezed out the gel, and stretched it over the Styrofoam ball. We touched up the eyeball with shellack and added some color with sharpies. Did I mention my spouse goes all out for Halloween Costumes? Covering the head which is round with felt is a challenge.
After several attempts we decided to follow a picture of the minion “Carl” who has fruit on his head. Like the carpet padding the fruit covers up any imperfections of putting on the felt. Most of the fruit came from Hobby Lobby. We did this at the last minute using super blue, gorilla blue, tape, pins, and probably some spit. A bit of advice is to do this MUCH earlier than we did. The glue was not quite dry before our party and we were losing fruit all night. However, the fruit added a truly unique look to our minion. All the kids recognized Carl. You just can’t miss it. We had some Dickies overalls and since we do not farm or go to Texas A&M we cut them and glued them on the felt. We used the adult size since we needed a really big waist size to fit around the costume. We traced the G logo on the front with a sharpie.
A Unique Touch with Fruit
We placed black gauze over the mouth to hide her face and added some white foam board for the teeth. A simple yellow shirt, black gloves, and jeans rounded out what our daughter wore underneath her costume. This year we placed 2nd in the family costume contest. However, for activities that she could not do with the costume on we would take it off and it would stand on its own. At the party it was the hottest attraction and we probably spent 90% of the evening asking about how we made it. It was a great unique costume that the kids loved to see. There are many ways to personalize the costume with all the different characters from the movie.
This costume took us quite a while to make but not due to the amount of work. We would sit around for days and wonder “how should we make that eye?” Then inspiration would hit us and we would run to Home Depot or Hobby Lobby. “Should she look out of the eye or the mouth?” All of these random questions we would kill some time thinking about as we had no idea what we were doing. Having our daughter watch this process of how we problem-solved together and how created the costume in stages was exciting for her. We hope it inspires creativity. For all of my complaining about costumes I can look back on the last 2 Halloween Costumes and say that they were truly wonderful family experiences.
Family Halloween Time