My two-year-old daughter decided to be Oscar the Grouch for Halloween 2011. The costume includes the head (like a helmet), a jacket, and the garbage can.
The most difficult part of making the Oscar the Grouch Child Costume was finding the proper fur for Oscar. The fabric stores didn’t have the right colour or shagginess, but we were lucky to find a small rug at Walmart that was perfect. They had many colours that would be perfect for the various Sesame Street characters. We also got lucky and found a plastic mini garbage can that looked great and fit my daughter well.
All I had to do was cut out the base of the can so her feet could stick out and attach it to her somehow. I began work on the costume in August and spent many late nights working on it. It wasn’t finished until a few days before Halloween. The costume turned out really well and she received many compliments.
My daughter really enjoyed being Oscar the Grouch, as shown on this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM1T7_Hjm3U). Now that Halloween is over, Oscar is sitting in the corner of my daughter’s room peeking out of his can. If she feels grouchy, she can always put him on and vent her grouchiness.
[CONSTRUCTION OF THE HEAD:]
When planning the head, I knew I wanted my daughter’s head to peek out of Oscar’s mouth. Luckily, my daughter had a few books with pictures of Oscar that I used to try and keep the proportions of the head accurate, while sizing it for her face to fit within the mouth.
I used 1.5“ thick rigid foam insulation board material to make the head. We had some of this material left over from home renovations. Also the foam is light, strong, easily carved (using a sharp utility knife), and takes paint well. I started by making an oval shape in the foam with a hole in it for my daughter’s head. This piece formed the upper lip and perimeter of the head.
Next, I made side and front cross braces that formed the top of the head and then added a jaw. To get the right shape for the eyes I purchased a foam egg from a craft store and sliced it in half. Construction adhesive and screws were used to fasten the eyes. I painted the eyes before adding the fur.
I cut out four pieces of fur to cover the top of the head. The lower half of the head was one big piece of fabric that draped nicely to cover the neck. All of the fabric was glued to the foam head with construction adhesive.
Two pieces of brown fur scraps from my mom were glued on for the eyebrows. I trimmed back the fur on the upper lip and around the eyes to get the right look. Finally, the mouth was painted black and the head was ready to go
[CONSTRUCTION OF THE JACKET:]
My wife sewed the jacket out of the remaining carpet material. She made a pattern using one of my daughter’s existing jackets. The shaggy fur helped keep my daughter warm since it is usually pretty chilly in Canada on Halloween.
To support the can, I decided to use nylon webbing and plastic clip fasteners. One side of the clips and webbing were sewn to the jacket and the other side of the clips and webbing were sewn to the can using a sewing awl. The fasteners were adjustable to position the can just right and also allowed the can to easily clip on and off the jacket. Also there were no unsightly straps showing. This method of attaching the can worked very well.