MST3K: The Halloween Costume
Happy Halloween! Or, as I celebrate it, Bon Chance* to Make a Creative-But-Time-Consuming Costume Day! You remember last year’s?
And three years ago?
After I won the contest last year, I considered retiring. Or reviving my Liz Lemon costume from five years ago (so easy).** I didn’t know how I could top Geek Girl. But I was with my sister, shopping at Unique Thrift for picture frames to make an earring holder*** when inspiration struck. I came around the corner and there, on the shelf, was a gumball machine.
But not just any gumball machine. The same shape as the head of Tom Servo, only miniature. Who is Tom Servo? you ask. Only one of the greatest comic robot geniuses of our time. And in that moment, an idea was born.
I put out a call on Facebook back in April asking for the following:
– a bowling pin from a child’s set (~8″ tall)
– a pair of ventriloquist dummy hands
– two small ping pong balls
– a junior hockey goalie face guard (the kind with the wire bars, not the Jason/Friday the 13th kind)
– red spray paint
– a large Barrel of Monkeys
– gold spray paint
– plastic platters with high sides
I can’t tell you what they’re for and you won’t get them back…I also can’t pay much but would negotiate some type of baked good exchange. I was kind of hoping to keep it hush-hush, but I have some clever, equally geeky friends who knew immediately what I was up to. After the initial flurry, I kind of forgot about it. The gumball machine sat on my bookshelf but that was still the only piece I had until early September.
Amassing the pieces took patience and time. I had to be ever-vigilant when I was out (anywhere!) because inspiration (and equipment) could be found anywhere. Crow’s neck rings, for example, were protective plastic pieces from a three-tiered shelving unit my coworker had recently, which is also where the box backing/theater seats came from. The “springs” that form Tom Servo’s arms are actually two halves of a bracelet I found at a booth at the teacher’s convention exhibitor fair.
Most good things take time; this one has taken a lot longer than I thought. Part of that is due to the fact that the idea sort of evolved as I was making the costume. Part of that is because I’m a procrastinator; I hesitate before making cuts or gluing together parts because I didn’t want to mess it up. Fear of commitment? Permanence? Maybe. And I wanted to do a good job, not just slap something together (although there was a fair amount of duct tape and hot glue involved and I burned two fingers (I’ll post pictures later)).
Tom Servo’s hands are keychains (not ventriloquist’s dummy hands), his body is a Barrel of Monkeys with buttons and doodads (not a Money Lover Barrel bank), and his “skirt” is a round Ziplock storage container I spray-painted white and glued pipe wrap to (not a Halloween Boo Bowl and car engine block). Crow T. Robot’s hockey mask cage, bowling pin face, and torso made of platters are the only things that I didn’t adapt (although his eye socket is made out of a soap dish, but it isn’t the same kind). And really, the bowling pin is foam (not plastic) so hat’s not the same. Instead of a Floralier body, he’s on a cheap lampshade I got at Goodwill. His arms are the metal parts of an angle divisor my dad took apart for me wrapped in pipe wrap. I don’t know what to use for hands.
Here are some photos of how I made it. I’ll explain more in my next post.
I’m sad that I’m not completely finished, that I have some logistical issues I’ll have to fix before tonight’s party (or at least the two tomorrow…), but I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. And it was really fun to make, despite all the time, obstacles, and burned fingers.
Many thanks to the following (for parts, encouragement, spray paint, and/or labor): my parents, Libby and Matthew C., Lyndsay and Spud M., Ingrid, my coworkers, especially Lisa & Meg, my fellow partygoers tonight (Charlie and Julie), and Phil S., without whose sweatshirt this costume wouldn’t have the authenticity I so desired.
* “Bonne chance” means good luck in French (so it’s got double meaning, which you know I love).
**Basically, I wear my own clothes and have awkward interactions with men. So, you know, like every day.
***That’s a different post for a different day.