After hearing about stories from 9/11, our sons learned what heroes were. They were truly inspired to be heroes and to save lives. They love visiting firehouse open houses, watching shows like Chicago Fire, and learning the events of true firefighters coming to the rescue on the daily news. It was no surprise when they decided they wanted to be firemen for Halloween. With a 2 year old and 5 year old, Halloween is tiring on their little legs. We decided to turn our Radio Flyer wagon into a fire truck for them to conveniently sit in when they were worn out from going door to door. In going with the “fire” theme, mom and dad decided to be a fire hydrant and fire extinguisher.
I’m a big fan of DIY costumes that don’t break the bank, so I love to use everyday items around the house or items that can be purchased for very low costs. The fire hydrant structure is made of a circular pop up hamper. The top and bottom ring are made from pool noodles. The top dome is a plastic water drip pan (made for hanging flower pots). The very top of the hydrant is a microwavable Kraft easy mac cup. The sides of the fire hydrant are made of foam rings (used for flower arrangements). All those items were covered in red felt and hot glued together.
The fire extinguisher main structure is also a circular pop up hamper, 18″ in diameter. I needed a round top and couldn’t find anything lightweight that was 18″ in diameter, so the round top took some extra creativity. I built a structure out of gluing pool noodles in a circle making it the diameter I needed. Then I cut apart the plastic water drip pans (originally 14″ in diameter) in a pizza pattern (triangles), and glued around the pool noodles so that I would have a smooth surface. The circular top of the extinguisher and the pressure gauge are foam circles (used for flower arrangements). The lever/handle is a foam block cut into the appropriate shape. The fire hose is a pool noodle – so cheap and incredibly useful! All those items were covered in red or black felt and hot glued together. The fire extinguisher instruction label was hand drawn – it helps to have good handwriting and artistic ability.
The fire truck took the most effort. We knew we didn’t want to paint, nail, glue or damage the original Radio Flyer wagon in any way. So my husband built a structure around the wagon using 2″x2″ wood furring strips. Then we used 2 sheets of rigid insulation to build the entire outside of the fire truck and nailed it onto the wood structure. To cover the printed rigid insulation labels, it took 3 coats of red or white paint. The front of the fire truck has working flashlights as headlights. The grill of the truck is cut from wire closet shelving. The bumpers were made using wood base trim from Home Depot with layers of foam behind it to make it thicker. We also glued on some black ribbon to give it some extra detail. On the sides of the fire trucks, we built little ladders out of some play “kids wood” foam. I printed a fire department label and “Keep Back” label and laminated it to stick to the side/back of the fire truck. The taillights are made of circular reflectors. We also purchased a black and yellow reflective tape to put onto the back of the fire truck. The top fire truck lights are working bicycle reflective lights that blink similar to an actual fire truck. So at night, the flashing red lights and working headlights make it look more real.
The number of laughs we got along with the car honks as we strolled down the street, made our many hours of hard work well worth it. It was especially humbling when real firefighters stopped us to tell us how much they loved our costumes. There were a few confused dogs wondering why the fire hydrant had legs and was on the move. Thankfully I avoided any major “incidents” with dogs!