Every year it’s a challenge to come up with a good idea for a Halloween costume, especially for my 3 year old boy who is now influenced by boy things: superheroes, cars and trains. I prefer to stay away from superheroes and movie characters when making costumes for my son.
This year I wanted to choose something that is rarely seen as a costume, but something that is commonly seen in daily life. That way everyone would immediately recognize what it was, but they wouldn’t be able to just buy it online!
My son is currently fascinated with Power Rangers type characters on Japanese TV. Somehow a train theme is involved, so I suggested a “RR Crossing Gate” as a costume idea, instead of him dressing like a character no one knows in the USA.
I figured someone would make a train costume anyway, and then my son could be the flashing gate and anybody from crossing. The objective was to include some interactivity–some kind of ‘power’ with light and sound. He would hold a long gate bar instead of a sword (more peaceful).
For the “Rail Road Crossing” X Sign, the “4 Tracks” sign, the gate bar and the two flashing lights frame, I bought foam materials from an art supply store. I then cut ut out shapes and glued them with Krazy glue.
I found Reindeer nose flashing lights at the same store and embedded them into the two black round frames for flashing lights. I made these light units removable with Velcro so that the lights were accessible from the back and could be turned off and on by pulling an elastic band.
For the glasses, I found eyeglass frames for kids with a lens missing. I glued cut out foam and glitter fabric to them to make special eyewear.
I bought and used a ‘Tin Man’ costume as a base of the costume (it was on sale at an online store). It turned out to be super over-sized (small), so I had to shorten the pants.
I reinforced the funnel hat from inside so that it could hold the RR Crossing “X” on top and I added an adjustable elastic band so my son would be comfortable wearing it without it sliding off.
For the gate bar, I folded and glued white foam sheet, so it was like a tube. Then on outside surface I attached red felt for patterns. Inside of the tube, I realized that something was needed for him to hold it, so I bought a $1 sword that was made of foam. I cut off the blade part, and used only the grip and guard parts. I then, carved out the guard shape to fit inside the gate bar, and stuck it inside. It was tight fit, so I did not have to use glue.
My son is usually finicky about the feel of the hat (perhaps many other kids are too). He gets hot quickly and wants to remove it. So, I offered him any kind of shiny pretty beads he wanted to add as a decoration for the elastic band. I showed him the box full of colorful glass beads that I have. He picked the biggest one that was handmade by me (I’m a glass artist, by the way). I thought it would be too big and heavy, but he insisted and promised that he would wear it. I added the light blue glass bead with silver wire spiral for his hat’s band, placed at his chin. It’s visible in the 1st photo.
I made the costume little by little everyday over a period of two weeks. Every part had to be tried out and fitted on my son’s body.
I let him choose the number ‘4’ to be added on the “4 TRACKS” sign, since his birthday was coming up in only one week. It was a reminder that he was almost ‘4’.
Originally I was looking for a mother and son costume idea, but I could not come up with anything, so I made this RR Crossing gate costume as a solo project. At the last minute, however, I made myself an “American Railroad Worker”, who repairs the gate.
Everyone who saw him said “WOW! Railroad Crossing Gate!”– (nothing else!) with a big smile.
The lights were flashing all the time and my son was excited and happy from morning to evening on Halloween day.
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