This year, I wanted to test my crafting skills by creating a Muppet costume. I knew that this would be a challenge that could look amazing if done right, but, if half-assed, could look like clown shoes. I started off by looking through all of the Muppets and deciding which one would be the funniest character to portray during a Halloween party. After much deliberation, I went with a Count Von Count costume (so much alliteration!). I felt that he was the perfect blend of:
1. Hilarity – Counting things in an exaggerated Dracula voice
2. Relevance – It is after all Halloween, and he is a Vampire
3. Satire – With Mitt Romney threatening to cut PBS funding, it also provided the opportunity to cater to the politically minded with cardboard signs stating “Will Count for Food”
Once I had my Muppet picked out I studied pictures of him and took measurements of his facial features so that I could proportionately fit it onto a 17 inch round head.
Count Von Count
Creating the Papier-mâché Head
I made the head out of a 17-inch round balloon and Papier-mâché. You must use about 4-5 layers of Papier-mâché to ensure that the head is firm and sturdy enough. I suggest using a blend of flour, water and Elmer’s glue to help create a proper paste. Also, don’t be afraid to get a little messy – it’s inevitable.
Upon drying, I then measured and carved out the mouth and base so that my eyes would match up with the hole in the Count’s mouth. From there, I used insulation foam, a pillow and a small bicycle helmet to create padding and stability so that my head would rest comfortably inside the head of the costume.
Fleece Covering and Facial Features
Using a spray adhesive, I wrapped the entire head in lavender-colored fleece, covering all of the Papier-mâché. While doing this, it is important to eliminate as many visible creases as possible. I was able to achieve this by pre-measuring what areas the Count’s hair would eventually cover.
Using the measurements I had extrapolated from the picture of the Count, I created the eyes out of foam core and fleece, and the ears and nose out of cardboard and fleece. I then created the eyelashes and pupils with black poster board. Finally, I covered any other exposed areas with remaining fleece.
Touch-ups, Mouth and Fangs
One of the final steps for the head was gluing everything on and adding some minor touch-ups to finish. I used black women’s panty hose to cover the mouth (from the inside) and more foam core create the fangs, and a clear plastic dinner plate for the monocle. Everything was secured with a glue gun and spray adhesive. All that was left is the hair.
I purchased black fur from a fabric shop and used the same spray adhesive to glue it to the head. Creases are less of a factor with this because the fur is so thick that any creases, if present, were barely noticeable. Then, using scissors and a razor I essentially played barber, attempting to replicate his widows peak and side burns as appropriately as possible.
Now it was time to focus on the accessories and body of the costume. I knew that I wanted to keep my body fairly human-like so that I could move around easily. I matched my outfit as closely to the Count’s as possible and wore a black vampire cape with a white dress shirt and vest. I wanted to eliminate as much skin exposure as possible, so I fashioned some gloves (4-fingers, of course) out of the leftover fabric. After that, it was show time. Count away.