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2015 Costume Contest Winners – Child/Tween/Teen Category

2015 CHILD/TWEEN/TEEN CATEGORY

The 2015 Halloween Express DIY Costume Contest winners in the Child/Tween/Teen category truly demonstrated what Halloween is all about. With this day and age, family time is becoming more and more scarce. We’re proud of the amount of quality family time that went into designing and building these extraordinary costumes. We’re betting the kids had a great time showing them off, too!

FIRST PLACE: Anthony Alfano – Melrose Park, IL

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HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THIS COSTUME?

With my son being wheelchair bound, I have to figure out a way to build his costume around this. Otherwise, he wouldn’t get to fully enjoy Halloween. I have a race track near my house and one day I was watching the horses across the street and at that moment I just knew what to do.

WHAT ITEMS DID YOU USE TO MAKE THIS COSTUME AND HOW?

I used copper pipe for the frame and an old wheelchair for the wheels. For the horse itself, I took apart my sons’ toy riding horse that all the kids who come to my house play with and attached it. Don’t worry, I put the rocking horse back together after Halloween was over. The copper pipe gets bolted to the frame of the wheelchair and I have cables that hold up the front of the horse. These cables makes it look like the horse is galloping.

 

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

People are sharing this all over Facebook and everyone is telling me this is the best costume yet.. I was at two different race tracks and the people there were coming up to us just to take pictures with our son.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO TELL US ABOUT THIS COSTUME OR YOUR EXPERIENCE?

I come up with these costumes every year and I get into it more and more. All of the clothing is handmade by my wife, so you will never see this costume in-store. My son has cerebral palsy and can’t talk or walk. However, him being wheelchair-bound is not going to stop us from having him be part of this day. That’s the reason why my wife and I put a lot of time into his costumes.

 


SECOND PLACE: Crista Booth – Ventura, CA

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HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THIS COSTUME?

There are plenty of Spider-Man and Captain America type superheros running around on Halloween night, so we decided to head in a different direction. We wanted to do something a little outside of the box for a 5 year old, but still familiar to most. Paxton is far too young to watch Mad Max Fury Road, so we explained the character and let him watch how they made the movie. The stunt work and wild prop vehicles are very impressive and Paxton loved seeing the process of how they made the movie look so real. He had his mind made up and there was no changing it…Halloween 2015 was going to be a post apocalyptic one!

WHAT ITEMS DID YOU USE TO MAKE THIS COSTUME AND HOW?

The creation of the costume and war rig was a mix of thrift store purchases and recycled goods from around the house. Finding toddler leather pants was next to impossible, and leather jackets were too pricey even at thrift stores, so I decided to make my own version. I used an old pair of denim jeans and a denim jacket, painting several layers of brown and black fabric paint until the fabric grain was no longer visible. Once they were completely dry I sprayed them with clear matte spray paint and dusted them with dirt, then added another layer of clear paint. I did this process several times (the boots also went through this process). My goal was to have dirty, very worn looking clothes, but not actually have the dirt fall off. Trying to stay true to the character I used thick black thread and placed stitches in random places to give the look of the many repairs. Lastly, I threw them in the washing machine and lo and behold…clean dirty clothes!

The white thermal long sleeve was purchased at a thrift store. Again, I wanted it dirty and sweaty, but clean to the touch. The shirt also needed to be comfortable because it sat directly against the skin, so paint wasn’t an option. Instead I laid the shirt outside and placed hot wet teabags all over it. Paying close attention to the areas that would be stained the most (armpits, neckline and such). After several days in the sun I took some sandpaper and a razor blade and chewed up the sleeves and neckline to show wear (of course cut one sleeve short just like in the movie). Then it was tossed in the wash and it came out perfectly post apocalyptic. The tactical vest was an old mountain bike hydration system cut and resized to fit a five-year-old. The bullets were constructed from pen caps and pointed charms off a bracelet, purchased on clearance at a craft store. A little hot glue and paint and you’ve got bullets! Scrap canvas from an old pair of pants was used to make bullet holders that were then sewn onto the straps of the vest. An old IV line from my dog’s vet office injected with some red wood stain was wadded up and attached with some Velcro. It looked freakishly like old clotted blood! Plastic prop knives (from a dollar store) were painted to look weathered and the handles covered in gauze (gauze was tea dyed and doused with brown/green paint).

The mask was made from children’s craft foam sheets, hot glue, spray paint, Velcro and a large plastic chain intertwined with an IV line. After making a paper template to fit Paxton’s head I cut the craft foam and hot glued it all together, adding little circles with slits in them to look like screws and Velcro to keep it on his head. I then sprayed it with hammered silver spray paint, and it was ready! The craft foam made it flexible so he could talk and of course eat a few pieces of candy.

The knee brace was made from an old leftover piece of corrugated plastic from a construction project, random nuts and bolts, hot glue and paint. We cut the four pieces to fit Paxton’s little leg, drilled holes and attached with nuts and bolts. We were sure to make it pivot easily so he wouldn’t be hindered. Adding a little hot glue along the edges (to mimic weld marks) and painted with some silver and black paint to made it look like old dirty metal. Velcro strips were used to keep it in place on his leg. The shoulder pad was taken from a motorcycle riding jacket, and was a soft foam. It was spray painted and glued and sewn to the jacket. The thigh knife holder was made with a craft foam sheet and made to look like old leather. The texture was achieved by balling up some aluminum foil, placing it on top of the foam and ironing it. The heat going through the foil left creases and imperfections that looked amazing after I dry brushed with browns and blacks. It was all sewed together and attached to his belt and thigh with Velcro.

To build the War Rig we used Paxton’s worn and abused Fisher Price F-150 and removed the windshield, replacing it with some metal screen material. Using a hot glue gun it was glued in place in a way to make it look like it was welded in. Then the entire thing was spray painted in flat black. Using more of the corrugated plastic, a menacing front guard was hot glued into place. To create the look of welded metal on the truck a hot glue gun was used again (we went through a lot of hot glue) to create what looks like welds all over the body of the truck. PVC pipe was used to hold the foam skull. The foam skull was from the dollar store and wrapped in carpet latex and paper towels for a corpse look. The goggles on the skull were created with pink craft foam, then painted to look like leather and metal. Weed eater line was used for the details and an old motorcycle goggle lens was cut for the skull goggle lens. Plastic chain was screwed into the steering wheel to create a more burly look.

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

Paxton instantly transformed into a post apocalyptic warrior, walking with his head held high and shoulders square, ready for trick or treat battle. He piloted his war rig door to door trick or treating with the confidence of Max Rockatansky himself. Paxton loved how stoked everyone was, especially those handing out candy. A lot of women mentioned how much they liked Tom Hardy! He had to stop the War Rig many times for photos on Halloween night and never strayed from his character.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO TELL US ABOUT THIS COSTUME OR YOUR EXPERIENCE?

I’m sure a lot of our friends probably thought I was a little nuts while putting this costume together, but once they saw how it turned out they were into it. Most of the parents liked the electric truck (the war rig) so Paxton could drive himself around with his heavy bag of candy. It saved us from carrying the candy and a worn out mini Mad Max at the end of the night!

 


THIRD PLACE: Lon Davis – Olathe, KS

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HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THIS COSTUME?

My son, Reese, loves dressing up for Halloween and loves to come up with challenging ideas to incorporate his wheelchair into the costume. This year, he decided to tackle turning his wheelchair into Baymax (from the Disney movie, “Big Hero 6”) so that he could be dressed as Hiro riding on Baymax’s back.

WHAT ITEMS DID YOU USE TO MAKE THIS COSTUME AND HOW?

First, we built a custom framework out of PVC pipe and wood that would support the weight of the costume in front of his wheelchair and then another frame for the back of his wheelchair. Then we calculated the size we would need to build the costume to fit around his wheelchair, but still small enough to fit through a doorway. We started by using foam floor mats and began working on a pattern to cut out each of the pieces and build the costume. We knew we wanted the wings to be jointed so they could fold out like Baymax was flying and then swing in to fit through doors. The wings were built out of pink foam insulation boards, carved and painted. The head, body, arms and legs were all built out the foam floor mats in individual sections. Each section was painted multiple times with plasti-dip to seal it, and then painted multiple times with spray paint to give it a nice gloss finish. Finally, we added tap lights to the feet of Baymax so it looked like jets firing from the back.

For Hiro’s costume, it was built with colored foam in the same fashion as Baymax. We then used Velcro straps to attach to Reese’s body.

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

The response has been amazing! I’ve never had so many people want to take pictures of him in his costume before. People would call other people to the door of their house to see his costume. When we went to a local Trunk or Treating event, he won first place in the costume contest. When he took it to school and “flew” through the gym during the parade for all the parents, he was the only costume that received a round of applause as he went by. It really made Reese beam with joy seeing everyone love the costume.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO TELL US ABOUT THIS COSTUME OR YOUR EXPERIENCE?

He’s already working on next year’s costume ideas. I guess I better get to work if I need to top Hiro & Baymax.

 


THIRD PLACE (a): Genevieve Thompson – Gonzales, LA

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HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THIS COSTUME?

My nine-year-old daughter Dani LOVES dragons (and snakes, lizards, alligators, tarantulas, scorpions, sharks, etc.), and her favorite dragon is Smaug from The Hobbit (she claims he was just misunderstood). We read the book as a family a couple of years ago and she just loved it. She decided a while ago she was going to be Smaug for Halloween. I looked, and there aren’t any Smaug costumes available for purchase, so we were off to the drawing board. She is very artistic, so I put her to work as well.

WHAT ITEMS DID YOU USE TO MAKE THIS COSTUME AND HOW?

For the body we bought plain red leggings and a shirt. My daughter drew on all of the scales (I helped with the front of the shirt) and we painted on the gold and added sequins. The wings are a light shiny fabric attached to the sleeves, with wooden dowels placed inside so she could grab them and make them flare. I used a lot of hot glue (didn’t feel like getting the sewing machine out). The mask is made from a milk carton. We added cotton for depth, aluminum foil horns, and covered it all with masking tape. I added scale details using hot glue as a medium. Then we had fun painting it. My daughter did the eyes, behind which we put tea-lights when it’s dark so they glow. It’s cool. It doesn’t look it, but the mask is actually really light-weight. The tail is made of the same fabric as the wings. It was stuffed with cotton and a wire hanger (to shape it) and hand-sewn on to the back of the shirt.

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

Reactions were those of amazement. No one could believe we made it from scratch. I was told I’d missed my calling in life, and should do this professionally, lol. No thanks. I must admit that I liked the challenge, though. I’ve made other costumes for my daughters in the past, ranging from Tinkerbell to TRON to Nightmare Moon (we’ve even made a Creeper). I think Smaug has been the most challenging. My favorite reactions are of how cool my daughters were for their costume choices (my other daughter Riley, age 10, decided to go as Legolas to compliment her sister). That, I can’t take credit for. Everyone was taking their picture, oohing and aahing, loving it.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO TELL US ABOUT THIS COSTUME OR YOUR EXPERIENCE?

The best part for me is how much my daughter loves it. She finally gets to become a dragon! Dani’s favorite part is chasing all the little kids around, growling, “Eat ya’ later!”