Lemon Laura’s Ice Cream Truck was a big hit at a school Halloween dance and town parade where she could easily maneuver around with the lights glowing, ice cream truck song playing, ringing her bell. She could also relax in a chair inside the costume while children drew and wrote on the whiteboard side of the truck and she handed them different colored dry erase markers.
We have been making homemade costumes for the past 4 years. This year my daughter Laura (age 8) was torn between being a large whiteboard that children can draw on and an ice cream truck. So she decided we can combine the ideas by making an ice cream truck with one side a huge whiteboard.
Here’s how we accomplished it. I started by buying large 30″ by 48″ foam boards, super glue and hardware from Home Depot, such as corner braces, mending plates and utility hinges. My two first concerns were not making it too large that I couldn’t transport it and how she was going to move in it.
I did a lot of measuring to make sure it could fit in my minivan and that it would be able to fit through standard size doors at school. To fit in the minivan, I had to make it in pieces that could be taken apart and reassembled. Thus, I made the top a separate piece that got attached using surface and barrel bolts.
I found dollies to use for her to move in the costume that looked like she was driving the truck. I attached a dolly underneath the front of the truck and the back using velcro just in case I needed to detach the dollies to fit in my van.
To attach the back dolly I needed to add support to the back bottom that was strong enough but not too wide so that Laura could walk over it to get into the costume, so we could attach a chair to the back dolly, and was the same thickness as the foam board used in the front. I found wood boards at Michael’s that would work.
A children’s folding chair was velcroed to the dolly. Laura was able to sit in the chair and hand out ice cream cone shaped silly bands and erasers through the serving window.
Having the foam boards cut out and attached in the shape of a truck with the dollies for movement and support, the next step was to create doors with handles, cut out windows, cut out spaces for tires, and make tires.
Tires were made by cutting out foam board, spray painting them black and painting silver hubcaps. The tires were attached with brackets and velcro to be removable to fit in the van. We made the driver’s side of the truck into a large whiteboard by attaching stick-on whiteboard contact paper. We added hooks to hang dry erase markers.
Now it was time to decorate. We added battery-operated working lights on the front and back, reflectors, Caution Children sign, old New Jersey license plates, pictures of different ice cream bars with prices that we laminated and glued on, battery-operated colored lights and plastic ice cream cones around the top, a steering wheel that rotated and a bike bell that rang, etc…
Laura’s older sister who is very artistic hand-drew a variety of ice cream cone and ice cream bar pictures giving the ice cream pictures faces and character.
Since it was easy to see the bracket and bolt attachments by looking into the costume from the front, we made a curtain from fabric we had around the house on a dowel behind the driver’s area and on the ice cream serving window. For Laura to keep the curtains open if she wished, I attached hooks inside the costume. Attached to the top was a speaker with an iPod that played the ice cream truck song.
As the driver, Laura wore white shirt and pants, with a white apron and white food vendor’s hat.