This Sweethearts candy costume is easy to make and requires few materials. You will need:
A long, but skinny rectangle box (but big enough to fit on the person wearing it), paint in the colors shown in my pictures, red Marks-A-Lot markers, large piece of Styrofoam board about 1-2 inches thick, box cutter, scrap piece of cardboard about 2X2 feet, large sheet of clear plastic such as a shower curtain, hot glue and gun, duct tape, jig saw, and several pages of news paper, flour, water, salt and a large bowl for paper mache.
First measure where you will need to cut your arm holes and the hole for the head. Then draw a nice sized heart on the front of the box. Draw out your lettering on the front and two sides of the box. Cut out the heart, the holes for arms and head, and the whole bottom of the box for the legs with a box cutter. Paint the box in the colors shown. While the paint is drying, take a large piece of Styrofoam and draw several hearts on it that are relevant to the size of the box as the real candies are. I made 15 hearts for this costume.
My husband is a roofer, so instead of white Styrofoam that tends to be very messy when it’s cut, I used a roofing material that is a yellow foam-like material that has fiberglass in it called, polyisocyanurate or just polyiso roof insulation. This may be similar to some exterior wall insulation board. If you know someone who just built a house or know a construction worker or roofer, they may be able to help you out with some scraps. When working with this, you must wear gloves, protective eyewear, and protect your clothing as this material will get stuck to the fibers of your clothes and be tracked into your home. I suggest wearing a large garbage sack over your clothing with holes cut out for your head and arms. It may seem strange, but it will do the trick and you can just throw it away when you are done!
If using regular Styrofoam, you may want to work in your garage so that you can easily sweep or vacuum up the mess without scattering it all over your yard or house. Cut out your hearts with a jigsaw and use extreme caution. I did not use regular Styrofoam, so I am not familiar with how a jigsaw will handle with using it. You could just use a sheetrock saw (a small manually operated serrated saw that is about the size of a butcher knife) to cut the Styrofoam. Once those are all cut, then you can start the paper mache.
Mix flour, salt, and warm water in a large bowl to a consistency that is close to a thin gravy. Tear strips of news paper down the page in 1-2 inch strips. Coat the news paper strip in the flour mix and then use fingers to scrape off excess. Apply to heart cut outs. Repeat until all hearts are entirely covered in paper mache. If it is a nice sunny day, you can put them in the sunshine to speed the drying process. Once they are dry, you can now paint. Paint them in the colors that the candy hearts come in such as pastel, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and white. Once they are dry, come up with the messages that you want to put on the hearts like, call me, or hug me, etc. Use a pencil to letter the hearts. Once you are satisfied with the size and appearance of the words, then use a red Marks-A-Lot to color the message. You can use a red sharpie, but I found the Marks-A-Lot to be easier to work with. Now take the sheet of plastic and cut it to the appropriate size to fit the heart window. Glue it from the inside and stretch it tight so that there are no wrinkles. Arrange some of the completed hearts so that your favorite colors/messages will be showing through the heart window cutout of the box. Situate them so they look random or scattered and glue them together that way. Only use as many as can be seen through the heart window cut out of the box. Don’t waste any by putting them where they won’t be seen at all.
Now that you’ve glued them together, you need to see how much room you need in the box for the person, so you’ll need to use your jigsaw (or sheetrock saw) to cut through the clump of hearts you’ve glued making room for the person, and preserving the beauty of the ones that will be seen through the heart window. Glue the cut clump of hearts to the scrap 2X2 cardboard in the middle. Bend the all the sides of the cardboard so that they can be taped and glued to the inside of the box around the window, so that the candy hearts are in position and stay in place. Take any left -over candy hearts and arrange them and glue them as desired on the outside of the box.
Now you have a wonderful Sweethearts Candy Costume that is ready to wear!