I’ve made a couple of successful costumes in recent years (Cher, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Spy vs. Spy) but I didn’t have any good idea this year.  Plus, I like to get started early, but I moved in July and was occupied with getting settled most of the summer.  Then in early September, while watching the Geico commercial, I thought to myself, “I bet I could make a Geico Money [Wo]Man costume pretty quickly.”  And so the planning began…

I bought 1000 bills of Motion Picture Money on eBay in ones, fives, tens, twenties, fifties, and hundreds. From far away, they look real.  At first, I was going to use a haz mat suite as the base, but figured it wouldn’t be the easiest thing to get in and out of (especially when using the bathroom, lol) so I opted for a sweatshirt and sweatpants.  Not only is it easy to get on and off, it’s soft, comfortable, and warm. I started at the bottom of the shirt using a hot glue gun to attach each bill. I tried to use a staggered pattern, creating a base with a few bills and then used the rest of the bills to fill in gaps and holes. I used the same concept on the pants as well.

The head is made out of a head sleeve that hunters use. I glued the fake money to it the same way I did the suit, but wasn’t worried about making the head look exactly like the commercial since it would be covered up with a motorcycle helmet. The front part of the sleeve can cover the mouth, so I used it as the beard. I folded several bills in halves and quarters and glued them to the sleeve, tucking them over the fabric. This stiffened the material making it easy to sit across my chin. The helmet is actually a kid’s army helmet that I purchased at the Halloween store and spray painted black. I also found some motorcycle gloves, with the fingers cut off, at the Halloween store. The real Money Man looks to have bills wrapped around each finger, but I knew I would need to be able grab or hold onto things so I glued a bill in the top of each finger hole to cover my fingers. The boots are women’s motorcycle boots that I found on Amazon.

The face was the most challenging part for me. The real Money Man seems to have what look like the back of one dollar bills painted all across his face. The most prominent pieces are the “one” across his left cheek and the pyramid on his forehead. Since I am not that good of an artist, I came up with the idea of using temporary tattoos. I didn’t find any tattoos of money, but I did find some blank temporary tattoo paper online. It’s not cheap so I only bought of pack of five sheets. I took a picture of the back of a dollar bill and filled a whole page with it in Microsoft Word and printed it on the tattoo paper making my own temporary tattoos. Since I was limited on paper, I only practiced tattooing my face, once, with a couple of tattoos. It went pretty well so I tattooed my entire face the night I debuted the costume.

While the tattoos overall looked good, the edges were noticeable and makeup did not help to blend everything together. Plus, the only way I found to remove the tattoos the same day was to use pure acetone—not the best skin care product. So, I decided to use strictly makeup for the face after that. I found a mint green concealer that I used to cover my entire face and then I used a sponge applicator to apply white makeup and white powder to help set it and make it look textured. Even though the makeup wasn’t an exact match to the money, it blended in nicely, especially in dark lighting. The eyebrows and mustache are bills, cut to size, and attached with spirit gum.

I’m naturally introverted so I’m always nervous about debuting a costume and this one was no different. The initial staring and sidebar comments make me feel foolish, but after that, most people came up to me, everywhere I went and told me how good the costume was or how they loved it. I had many ask to take a picture with me. There were a few who pulled a couple of dollars off, but I saved a few bill for repair. The only uncomfortable part, physically, about the costume was the head and face. It was hard to turn my head so I’d have to turn my whole body. My face felt stiff the first night with the tattoos and was hard to talk. It was a little easier without the tattoos, but I didn’t talk much to help keep my mustache on. Wearing a sweatsuit covered in money kept me warm if outside, but usually had me sweating once inside. I entered eight costume contests around town and won first place in four of them, placed second in three of them, and third in the other.

This costume is my favorite and most successful costume so far.