Our Halloween Bash

This is the first time we have a) thrown a Halloween party, and b) co-hosted an event with another couple. Β Our friends J & H are pretty awesome people — and she knits, like me, so you know she’s cool — and we decided to combine our party lists and have a joint bash at our house.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen several of the details Steve has made, and it was pretty cool to see our decor “in action” during the party.

Now, let us welcome you to our party:
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We chose a pretty iconic couple as our costumes:
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Our boys were Sans from Undertale and a (not so) terrifying T-Rex:
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Our guests ranged from Futurama characters to the villainous Joker, to Luigi and Diet Coke to Khal Drogo and his beloved Khaleesi. We also had Egyptian royalty, Indiana Jones, Nemo, Harry Potter, mad scientists, Frankenstein and his bride, groovy chicks, Miss Scarlet in the library with the rope, the Tardis, Walter Sobchak, Rosie the Riveter, and many other friends who made our party so much fun.
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Word has it that the mysterious Lord Stonehouse, ancient owner of our home, made an appearance at midnight, but it remains a rumor.

Steve worked super hard to transform our home and I think he did an amazing job, and H made delicious food for everyone to fill their bellies – thanks to everyone, friends old and new, for coming to our party!

How Steve made the Gipsy Danger costume

A few of you have asked how Steve made our son’s costume from the movie Pacific Rim – I asked him to write down an overview of the process.

Disclaimer 1 – he’s not a newbie. He’s been making costumes for a few years now and while some of the techniques were new to him, he’s always been good at putting things together. There is no way I could make something like this. I can sew and knit and make jewelry, but I’ve never made stuff like this.

Disclaimer 2 – he’ll be traveling for work in the upcoming days and won’t be available for any further or more detailed explanation. There are a lot of good tutorials on YouTube for building armor like this out of foam, and some cosplayers are very good at sharing their techniques as well.

Here it goes:

I started the build using a program called pepakura that ‘unwraps’ 3D images into their component sections. There is an artist on http://www.therpf.com which is the Replica Props Forum – a home for cosplay and movie prop reproductions. He ‘built’ the model for Gypsy Danger and I used this to print out the helmet. I printed it on cardstock and assembly was pretty easy with hot glue.

Once I had a basic shape and size for the helmet, I then used EVA foam mats which are the anti-fatigue floor mats that you can buy at Home Depot or Lowes or other home-improvement stores. If you find these on sale, STOCK UP! They aren’t cheap and you will go through them… I cut the foam mats into parts and bits and used hot glue to bond them. Almost all of this was done by eye. I wasn’t going for an EXACT duplicate of the movie, but a close approximation.

Here is someone that did a complete screen-accurate build – http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=191528&p=3267895&viewfull=1#post3267895

I followed many of the online tutorials for cosplay armor of Master Chef (Halo), Iron Man, and a few others. The real key is using a heat gun (not a blow dryer or embossing tool but the actual ~$30 one you buy at the hardware store) to heat mold parts into curves.

For the lights, I bought some very cheap book-lights from a Dollar Store. I glued these in place with hot-glue.

I sealed the foam with a glue wash (50% white glue / 50% water) for some sections and spray rubber (FlexiSeal or equivalent) for other spots that I needed to cover some bad seams with filler. Then I painted the entire thing in a base coat of exterior latex paint. This gives the armor a consistent and smooth coating. Over that, I used auto-body spray paint that had a slight metallic reflection. The movie Gypsy Danger was more of a naval battleship blue, but my son wanted it more metallic.

The visor was a bit of yellow plastic sheeting from the old-school notebook dividers that one uses in primary school – Like these – http://www.staples-3p.com/s7/is/image/Staples/s0204755_sc7?$splssku$

Under the entire suit, he wore a black turtleneck and black stretchpants that I picked up at the sporting goods store. While I was there, I spotted some Lacrosse gloves that were close to Gypsy Danger’s gauntlets, so I grabbed them (most expensive part of this build) and painted them the same way as the rest of the costume.

Also for the chest, I used an old CPU fan and powered it with a 9V battery so it would spin. πŸ™‚

The build took me about 50 hours over the course of 2 weeks and I didn’t finish until the Halloween Morning. But I was learning through trial and error and that cost me a lot of time.

All the best!!!

Steve

Right in the “feels”!

Okay, so I’ve shared plenty of my husband’s amazing creations for our boys – be it cakes, costumes, or piΓ±atas. Something completely unexpected happened recently and I can finally share it with you all – one of our boys’ homemade costumes will be making its debut on the big screen!!!

This is the costume our youngest wore 3 years ago – he was obsessed with Godzilla and daddy obliged. Alex had some sensory issues at the time and didn’t want his hands covered, and he loved being able to see out of his costume:

A couple of weeks ago, my husband was contacted by a lady on behalf of Make a Wish Illinois – a young boy’s wish was to be Godzilla, and a movie would be made with him starring as “Madzilla”. She had found his costume and inquired about getting it for the movie. We donated it and have been waiting to see some pics of sweet Maddex wearing the costume. Now, you can see a series of pictures at the Chicago Tribune. People like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and football legend Mike Ditka will also be appearing in the movie.

To say that we are beyond happy is a complete understatement. It’s so gratifying to see the looks of wonder and the smiles on our boys’ faces once Steve completes a costume, but to have helped make this sweet boy’s wish come true? Indescribable.

Have a wonderful week!

Labor of Love

Because, in the end, that’s what it was.

My husband Steve has been making costumes, piΓ±atas, and cakes for his boys for the past few years. I figure we are close to the time when our kids, or at least our oldest, won’t want a homemade costume any more. Maybe that won’t happen, but I will always remind my kids that the endless hours spent in the garage, the numerous trips to Home Depot or Lowe’s to replace a dead part or buy more X-Acto blades, was all worth it the moment they saw their costume and the smile reached all the way up to their eyes.

Credit goes mostly to Steve, of course, who is given a challenge and decides to knock it out of the park, but to the people that help in different ways – Gran, who came over and painted and glued and kept Steve company until 4 in the morning one night. Grandpa, who goes to every school parade to cheer on his grandsons, and who helps them get ready in the classroom.

Yeah. By the way, those are penlights πŸ˜€

Our boy at his school parade:

Side and back views of Gipsy Danger:

(by the way, our son’s sweetheart is somewhere on these pics, but I didn’t tell you that – sshhhhhh!)

Steve also made the call to go to Aidan’s karate studio party in the afternoon. He was desperately wanting sleep but Aidan was very excited about going, so daddy went, too:

My friend J’s daughter and Gipsy Danger had a lot to discuss:

There was a costume contest, and my boy posed and flexed for the judges.

There was a little drama around trick-o-treating time, but all was well in the end, and now my dining room table is full of Gipsy Danger parts. We’ll save the head, of course, for our (someday) Hall of Fame. Aidan loves the gloves he wore as part of the costume so those are being worn today πŸ˜€

My husband’s dedication to making our boys’ lives magical is definitely something I am thankful for.

More costume progress pics!

Or, as I wanted to title this post, “I used to have a green bowl”

But it was meant for a greater destiny

Steve has been coming home after long hours at work, and then putting in long hours into making this costume for our oldest:

His mom has been helping him, and we went paint shopping yesterday:

Our boy has been very patient trying things on:

Again and again

Now, if you saw the movie you’ll probably recognize the costume. Otherwise, you’ll have to be told what it is, like I was πŸ˜€

Two more days, people!

The guessing game begins

My husband has started work on our oldest’s Halloween costume. It is pretty darn awesome so far – here’s a (tiny) sneak peek!

Here are a few of the costumes we have made in the past:

Aidan as Drago from Bakugan

Alex as Wubbzy

Alex as Godzilla

Aidan as the Xenomorph from Alien

Most of the work here is Steve’s. I sewed the wings for Drago and made the Wubbzy outfit while Steve painted the face on it and shaped the tail. Everything else was done 100% by him. Long hours of work, lots of attention to detail, lots of love for his sons to have a great costume. Most of the time he stays up the night before Halloween to make sure every detail is perfect, and then gets rewarded by the boys’ excitement in wearing their fab costumes at their school parades.

It has worked so far that whenever one of our boys wants a homemade costume, the other wants a store-bought one, so when Alex was Godzilla, Aidan was Captain America. Last year Alex wanted to be a monkey so we got his costume from Old Navy. This year, he wants to be a monkey again, which makes it easier on Steve πŸ˜€

I’ll be posting more sneak peeks of Aidan’s costume as progress is made!

Behind the scenes with the Xenomorph

My husband spent about 40-50 hours making the costume, including the entire night before Halloween. I did my best to keep him fed and Mountain Dew-ed but that was pretty much the extent of my contribution, this project was all him.

Here are some pics I took during the making of the Xenomorph costume:

The wire frame for the head.

The torso, made up of wire ribbing with duct tape over it, blackout vinyl, electrical conduit, pipe insulation, and vacuum hose. The back horns/pipes are made up of pool noodles.

My little vampire (so cute with his missing teeth!) putting on the helmet that supported the head:

The head structure during drying time

There are two pieces of clear plastic on the top — made from soda bottles — which is where my boy could see out of. It was very hard to see him, though, which made for a better illusion.

Thank you to everyone who has posted/emailed us such nice comments. I think Steve rocked it out of the park with this costume and I’m so proud of him! Have a great weekend!!

The Xenomorph from Alien

Last year, my husband rocked making a Godzilla costume for our little man Alex — he even made the SF Chronicle’s list of finalist in their costume contest!

This year, it was our oldest boy’s turn to get a daddy-made costume, and he requested the Xenomorph from Alien. At 7 1/2, he has never seen the movie (neither have I, by the way) but he saw the alien itself on youtube and decided that was it. And daddy obliged:

Yes, my husband is insane πŸ˜€ He worked on this costume for about two weeks, roughly 40-50 hours, and has yet to go to sleep since yesterday. But he loves making stuff like this and even more so, when his kid loves it as well. And our boy did.


I love his sweet classmate’s face here, the kids loved the costume and kept asking my husband how he made it.

My husband and his parents were there to help our boy put on the costume, here Gran helps Aidan walk out of the classroom and line up for the parade:

I love the look on Steve’s face here, so happy that his boy loves his costume!

More pics from the parade:


Happy Halloween, everyone!

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