Oscar the Grouch has been one of my favorite all time characters. I saw a lot of Oscar costumes, but I wanted the focus to mostly be on the puppet (or muppet depending on how you see it). I like to go to a lot of parties on Halloween, and for some reason, the idea of Oscar the grouch getting rowdy at a party really appealed to me (i.e. “trashy” puns, picking fights, etc.). In all, I spent about 10 hours searching/acquiring materials, and about 15 hours of total assembly.
The DIY Oscar the Grouch Halloween costume was an absolute hit. Oscar assisted me with all of my beverages (passing them over his left). I was able to make the fake arms look so real that people could not initially figure out how Oscar was moving. Some people still didn’t figure it out.
He had robotic eyelids that would make him look like he was surprised, or go up and down when he was talking (controlled by my thumb on the inside of the front of Oscar’s can).
I like to make most of my costumes, and this one incorporated a lot of hot glue, chicken wire, duct tape, and a ridiculous amount of green fur. As much as I like the idea of a full sized Bruno costume (the garbage man who normally carries Oscar), this costume was already getting pretty cumbersome, and I needed to be able to get in and out of it by myself (party requirement… should nature call). Instead, I went with the normal garbage man look.
Here’s the scoop on how I made him:
Head: His head frame is made of chicken-wire. I had originally formed the shape around a basketball, and then tried to make it shaped like Pac-man. I wrapped his head in fur (which was very forgiving for hiding the lumpiness of the chicken wire).
Mouth: I found some thick cardboard, and folded an oval in half and used duct tape to make a mitt (a pocket to hold my fingers on one side, and my thumb on the other). I used wire to stitch the cardbooard mouth to the frame all the way around the opening. The black part of the mouth was cut from an old black t-shirt that I hot glued to the cardboard, while the the tongue, a piece from a red shirt.
Eyes: His eyes are a wood ball I found at a craft store. I cut the ball in half with a saw, and dipped both halves in white paint. The pupils are just circles cut out of electrical tape (I used a nickel to trace). I wired the eyes to the head by stapling wires to the flat side of ball, and then threading them to the head.
Fur: The fur was the most expensive part. The cheapest I could find it was for $20 dollars per yard, and while I could have made him with only one yard of fabric, I figured two would be safer. I know how to operate a sewing machine, but didn’t attempt to sew through this thick stuff. Instead, I used hot glue to connect the sections, which actually held stronger than anticipated. It was very thick fur, and I can’t tell you how many beers I drank with a tuft of green fur at the bottom of each glass.
The can: The can is a 20 gallon. I cut a hole in the back of it about the size of a shoebox with tin snips. I folded the edges over with a wrench and covered the opening with some foam tubing (designed to cover sharp edges). I left a spot where I could connect some toolbelt suspenders.
Eyelids: The electronics were a lot less complex than they sound. I found a robot at a garage sale for 5 dollars (one of those dancing types). I started breaking it down until I found a motor that I could use to connect to the eyelids. If worse came to worse, I was going to use the steering mechanism of a remote control car to make the eyelids go up or down. His eyelids were shaped from a coat hanger (over the top of his eyeballs). I connected a straight section of coat hanger from the middle of the eyelid piece, to a rotating motor wheel (similar to the rotating wheel of a locomotive). When the motor spun around in a circle, the eyelids would move back and fourth. I bought a 4 “AA” battery pack and a couple buttons that I wired to spin the motor one direction, or another.
Fake arms: I used PVC pipe and towels to make fake arms and made hands out of coat hangers and duct tape. I threaded the arms through the jumpsuit, and then wired the hands to the sides of the can (hot glue did not fasten solid enough).
This was a really fun project to work on, and allowed for creativity across many different areas.
Here’s a video showing you the costume, check it out: