• Home
  • /
  • 2016 Costume Contest Winners – Adult Singles Category

2016 Costume Contest Winners – Adult Singles Category

Who says one is the loneliest number? The 2016 Adult Singles category would beg to differ. The creativity and imagination that went into these costumes is something we are in complete awe over. Kudos to you, persons.

FIRST PLACE: Stephen Simantiras – Morristown, NJ

Cincopa WordPress plugin

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

Growing up during the Christmas season meant many things in my home. Aside from Family, food, Santa and singing carols were getting to watch all my favorite Christmas shows. Out of all, I couldn’t wait to watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I was always fascinated with clay-mation process and how flawlessly these small characters came to life on the screen. My girlfriend and I just got back from backpacking Glacier National Park which left me in “mountain mode”. The trip inspired me to bring my favorite mountain man character to life; Yukon Cornelius

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

Yukon was made through a variety of processes. Here is the breakdown:

1. The costume was carefully planned out and built to scale. Before the building process started, I took an image of the character and scaled it in Adobe Photoshop against a scaled photo of myself. From here I used Adobe Illustrator to create 2D line work components. This allowed me to print all components to scale for building.

2. From here I started with the body and built a simple frame around a mannequin. Most of the frame was constructed from polyethylene camping mat material. This lightweight frame was then covered with a light mattress foam to complete the overall body volume.

3. To make the jacket, I covered the entire body volume in paper and made a pattern from it. Using these patterns, I cut all parts from blue felt and began sewing up a full size jacket. Though I based most parts on images of Yukon, I used my ski jacket as a reference for making the hood. Both his backpack and sleeping pad were made from foam and felt. Inside his body was mounted a small fan for airflow and PA speaker system. This would help me communicate with my poor girlfriend in a loud environment.

4. The pants were formed around an old pair of jeans (a comfortable costume is nice). These were padded with the same mattress foam material and covered in the blue felt.

5. The boots were first constructed out of paper to get the proper scale down. These paper templates were used to cut the parts from EVA sheet foam. These parts were adhered together with hot glue and carefully formed with a heat gun. I attached a pair of crocks inside each boot to ensure a proper and comfortable fit.

Both boots were coated in Pasti-dip to get the “rubber boot” appearance. This process was great for reinforcing the foam structure and eliminated any breaks or cracks that would come from painting.

6. His head was the most complex and carved out of pink insulation sheet. The sheet was cut into 14 squares which were stacked and glued with spray adhesive. I used a print out of the face to start carving around. Once I carved the front and side elevation, I slowly used a hand rasp to refine the form and sand the foam to a fine finish. The same was done for the inside of the foam block. The semi-smooth form was then coated with spackling paste to eliminate any impurities in the surface. This was all sanded again to make a smooth form. In order to have a hard surface which would not be susceptible to denting, the surface was coated in a Smooth-on Polyurethane. This surface was carefully sanded, patched with spot putty, primed, and painted in a semi-gloss skin tone. This process took the longest, but was essential to the finish of the head. From here, a hole was cut in his head and mouth area. The mouth hole would be my only viewing area, where the head hole would house a small heat exhaust fan. The beard and mustache were one of my favorite to make. It was constructed from a painted faux fur. After making a template for the beard from paper and measuring the mustache, I cut the fur and painted it using acrylics. The mustache was made in two parts and glued over a wire armature. Once the paint dried, the mustache was bent into its crazy shape and was held in place with spray adhesive…..industrial hairspray! These were attached and a custom hat made of polar fleece was installed. Inside the head, I added a rechargeable micro fan which would help reduce the heat buildup.

7. Last but not least were Yukon’s tools. All tools (hammer, knife, pick, and revolver) were made larger than life out of EVA foam. They were painted with spray and acrylic paints.

The whole project took about 144 hours to make. It started on October 3 rd and took 18 days to create!

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

As I walked down the street people start singing the Christmas song “Silver and Gold”. There were a few people who started hollering quotes from the cartoon including the phrase “Gadzooks!” I felt like a Disney theme park character where many kids and adults were very happy to see their favorite Ruldoph character walking down the street.

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

I am an industrial designer who teaches CAD and model making on the side at a local university. I have spent much time developing and refining model processes which I teach to my students. I love Halloween because it gives me a chance to apply every process I have learned to my costume. There is no better feeling than bringing a character to life that makes others happy.

 


SECOND PLACE: Daniel Hamlin – Deerfield Beach, FL

Cincopa WordPress plugin

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

A bunch of us decided we wanted to go as the Disney Villains for Halloween this year, and I’m absolutely in LOVE with Octopi, so I thought “This is my chance to dress up like an octopus!” So I chose Ursula (or “Ursa-hunk” as I started referring to my costume as haha). I definitely did NOT want my feet to be seen, since I’m supposed to be an Octopus, so I decided an illusion costume was in order. So I came up with the idea of a rock that it looks like Ursula is sitting on, so my feet were hidden, with the tentacles wrapping around the rock.

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

This costume took me 2 months to make. The 8 tentacles are made of red solo cups and Styrofoam balls, then covered in 2 different fabrics, and are placed all around the rock for a complete 360 view. I used real suction cups for the tentacle suckers. I ordered a white wig on ebay, and shaped it with hairspray and a blow dryer to look swirly. The rock itself is made of PVC pipe for the frame. Then I covered it in chicken wire, with several layers in order to have crevices and raised edges like real rock. On top of that I paper mache’d with paper towels and flower/water mixture. It got a base coat of grey spray paint, with a silver metallic spray used for highlighting the raised edges of the rock. Some glitter to give it a shine, and then Christmas ornament stems around the base to look like seaweed and coral. There is even a hinged door with hook/eye lock to get in and out of the costume! Flotsam and Jetsam were formed out of chicken wire and then paper mache’d, chritsmas glitter feathers were used for their fins, and submersible LED lights spray painted yellow for their eye that lights up. In total, there is 30 ft of PVC pipe, two 5 pound bags of flour (for paper mache’), 40 feet of chicken wire, 6 castor wheels, 3 entire rolls of paper towels, 9 yards of fabric, 7 cans of spray paint, and multiple pieces of Christmas stems for decoration. The costume required a pickup truck to be moved to the block party we attended. Once inside the costume, there was a PVC pipe bar in front of my waist and behind my back so that when I walked, I just pushed the entire costume on its wheels, and it also allowed me to turn left and right. There were also purple LED lights hidden under the tentacles to help them glow.

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

Oh my goodness. The reaction to this costume was INSANE!! My photo was taken so many times, I literally could not take 5 steps without DOZENS of people running up wanting photos at any given point! We were at a block party with THOUSANDS of people and I basically had to stand in one spot the entire night due to the size of the costume, and the amount of crowd my costume created! haha Local magazine photographers shot several photos of me in my costume, peoples jaws literally dropped as they came upon me in this costume. By FAR the best costume I’ve ever created!

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

As much time and effort that went into this costume, it was all worth it. I actually SOLD the costume while wearing it at the block party! A woman offered to buy it to use as a prop for her daughters birthday party!

 


THIRD PLACE: Valerie Anderson – Salt Lake City, UT

Cincopa WordPress plugin

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

I work with two of my good friends from college at a CPA firm. Although the three of us are single, we thought it would be funny to dress up as trophy wives! I bought props from the local thrift store, such as a toy vacuum, a purse, and cooking supplies. I filled my pan with candy and passed it out to the kids, usually offering them a “fresh baked muffin”, which always got a chuckle from their parents. We were the hit of the party! Our office is located at a large shopping mall downtown, and as we walked back to our cars, we had multiple people stop us and ask to have their picture taken with us, and told us it was the funniest costume they’ve ever seen.

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

We used Graftopian Metal Mania makeup for our skin, gold spray paint for our dresses, gold hair paint. All the jewelry and props came from our local thrift store. I also bought board games from the thrift store to use as trophy stands, and then spray painted them black and added the plaque.

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

Besides 500+ (and counting) likes on Facebook, strangers frequently told us it was the funniest costume they had ever seen.

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

We’re single!

 


THIRD PLACE (a): Alissa Murph – Clemmons, NC

Cincopa WordPress plugin

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

The underlying concept for The Luggernaught, a study in Steampunk, has tumbled about in my head for a number of years. Between work and the raising of our children (I like to call them spawn), there isn’t much time left in the margins. But this year mustered a particular focus and determination that carried the day, even though it led me to work late into the night on many occasions. It was just too much fun.

The initial spark came from a video on Etsy that offered to sell a brilliant pair of mechanical hands. I was fascinated by the beauty of their functionality and the way the metal fingers mirrored the wearer’s hands. I had toyed with the idea of making a costume for a while, but these hands truly captivated me. After pondering the engineering behind them (and watching the video about a hundred times), I set about attempting to make my own pair. While they were not nearly so elegant, they did achieve a measure of the same functionality. Inadvertently, the materials used in my version serendipitously lent the hands a Steampunk flavor. This set the stage. They seemed the perfect preamble to a full rendition of the retro-futurist style’s aesthetic — and I’m a sucker for steam-puffing giant robots. Who isn’t?

Now that a direction was determined, the rest was straight-forward (but very time-consuming). Steampunk, a movement born from the writings of famous authors such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, has an incredibly rich visual style, with many examples to be found online and in popular culture by true enthusiasts. While not a great plot in and of itself, the creative direction in Will Smith’s movie remake, Wild Wild West, is an excellent example. My hope was that the final costume would evoke the impression of heavy steel and brass molted together with antiquated technology, including steam piping, rivets, and interlocking cogs.

Despite wanting my robot to have a certain amount of intimidation, my hope was to counter it with a playfulness that was true to the Steampunk theme. This led to details such as the metal moustache that swings just below the eyes. The viewer’s left eye is intended to emulate a monocle that stuffy gentlemen from the Victorian age were prone to wear. The arms include a sort of cuff in the design. I feel like these details, paired with comical proportions in the shoulders and forearms (think Popeye), creates the correct balance between amusement and menace. I hope you think so too.

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

The Luggernaught is made from a large variety of materials. It ranges from PVC and EVA foam to wood and Styrofoam insulation, and more. There’s even an old pair of shoes thrown in for good measure. The process included the building of an underlying frame structure for the torso, made of PVC piping and joints. I have a hilarious memory of being in an Ace Hardware store, treating their PVC selection like a Lego box. A “Helpful Hardware Man” walked up to ask if I needed assistance. After taking a quick look at what I was assembling, however, he retreated and said, “I don’t think I can help you.” This PVC skeleton arced over my shoulders and head and wrapped around my waist. Once the structure was determined, I glued it together and then painted it black. Then, sheets of EVA foam were added. This is primarily available in the form of interlocking floor tiles used in play mats and gym flooring. After watching several instruction videos by cosplay enthusiasts, I learned how this material can be molded and painted with a convincing finish. Googly Eyes from a local craft store can be glued to the foam, and with a coat of paint, they’re indistinguishable from metal rivets. In addition to the EVA foam, Styrofoam insulation was used. While it is harder to paint, it provides more structural stability when it’s needed. For painting, the Styrofoam needed to be brush painted first with a primer, as aerosol sprays have an acidic effect on the material.

The paint itself started with a coating with Plasti-Dip, a rubber spray that seals the foam. Then metallic sprays can be ragged on to create the impression of old, battered metal. With the Steampunk theme, my metal choices were steel (silver) and brass/bronze. The torso includes a stove belly in keeping with Steampunk. It was designed to include slots with translucent windows, so as to allow me to insert glow sticks at show time. This gives the sense of a coal-fired blaze within.The eyes are plexi tubes, painted to look as though they’re metal cylinders. The braces that hold them were cut so as to allow the insertion of battery-powered lights – hence the eerie glowing eyes that the final costume boasts in the dark. As mentioned before, the arms were the first to be built. They were also the most complicated component by far. Each finger includes three segments, or digits, of PVC that are connected with metal hinges. The connection points are rigged with springs to insure that the fingers spring back to a straight position when not being flexed. Running down inside each PVC finger is a steel wire coil that ends in a loop that I can pull with a corresponding flesh finger to make the robot’s hand move. This mechanism took my limited capacity a very long time to engineer.

In any case, each finger is mounted to a wooden frame that includes straps to hold to my arm. The arm is then skinned with EVA foam and painted to look like old metal. The cog wheels that you see in the pictures is also made from EVA foam. While the final result looks very heavy, it’s actually very light. Once strapped on, the forearms clip to upper arms tied to the torso, made from additional PVC. This connection is accomplished with a carabiner clip.

Finally, the boots required their own measure of engineering. They actually constitute the heaviest part of the costume. After watching several videos about the construction of stilts, I created an underlying wooden frame that included 2 x 6 boards boosting the bottom by six inches. The base of the frame forms a platform for an old, comfy pair of shoes usually reserved for mowing the lawn. These are actually screwed into the wood base. The frame also includes a pole that rises up to strap to my upper shin. Once I confirmed that this was stable, I proceeded to cover it with additional EVA foam, sculpting it into a Steampunk pattern. The legs of the costume include a connecting piece, also made of EVA foam, that spans up to hook to the torso. This offers more continuity in the design.

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

I think it’s fair to say that this is not your average neighborhood Halloween costume – although I’m sure other entries in this contest will prove me wrong. Perhaps I should limit this claim to my own neighborhood. Suffice it to say, The Luggernaught made a big impression. At a height of something over 6’ 8”, it is difficult to miss, even in the dark. Trick or Treaters swarmed around me, repeating the questions, “Did you make that?,” followed by “How long did it take?” Many people requested photos and some even ventured to pose beside me for a friend.

Some choice reactions came from teenagers. They were dumbfounded. My wife overheard two debating about whether there was actually a real person inside the costume, or if it was actually an automaton. Another young woman asserted, “Geez, I would wear that all the time.” Perhaps a person’s reaction is a glimpse into their psyche. Her boyfriend stated, “Dude, you could sell that for, like, a lot of money. Like, $200.” I refrained from telling him that this would fall far short of compensating me for the materials alone. I simply asked, “You think?” True to the nature of all teenagers everywhere, they promptly posted me to their favorite social media outlets (I think Snapchat is en vogue now?).

Younger children provided the most entertainment, however. One car slowed as it passed me, to take a closer look. A father and his son in the back seat, gaped in awe. I couldn’t help myself, taking an ominous step closer to the car. The feet of the costume are the heaviest part, and as a result, they make a satisfactory ‘thud’ with each step. This evidently proved to be too much for them, because the father promptly rolled up the window and sped off. I consider this a triumph.

But true success came when a swarm of young Disney princesses surrounded me and proceeded to fill the air with delighted screams. It was the sort of scream I would characterize as ‘fun fear.’ I’m not a sadist. Of course, I had to play it up. I bent to make sure the face of the costume leered down at them, and then repeatedly took steps here and there to come closer. They rewarded me with more screams and squeals. This alone made the whole effort worth it.

My wife and I had toyed with the idea of lugging The Luggernaught to a local bar’s Halloween party later, to get more adult reactions. But we’re getting too old for such foolishness, so it didn’t happen. The neighborhood denizens provided plenty. I hope to bring him out again repeatedly over the next few years to make him a fixture of neighborhood lore.

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

I upgraded The Luggernaught this year, adding more detail to the back and adding steam, which I activate by pressing my head back against cans of “spray steam.”