Happy Hallween + Construction Equipment Costume Tutorial {DIY}

Happy {day after} Halloween! I hope you have enjoyed a few sweet treats today! 

Confession: my sweet neighbor always gives us these amazing sugar cookies. I've gotten into the habit of eating ALL of them before my children/husband have a chance. I do sometimes have my husband taste (a bite!) so that I don't feel bad for not sharing. They are just so good. I need to get the recipe. Or actually maybe I don't...

Anyway, back to Halloween. 

My boys dressed as {super fancy, cardboard} a scooper/excavator + a crane. 

To preface: while I am crafty, I am not above buying Halloween costumes. Generally, buying a costume is much easier and, in the end, costs less once you factor in time + materials. But, I'm also a sucker for a cute face. My little guy is obsessed with any kind of construction equipment. In particular, this boy is in love with scoopers {excavators, for those of you not up on your construction lingo!} 

My little guy inspired the idea of a wearable scooper. I could find zero costumes to purchase, so I decided to start cutting some cardboard boxes to fit him. Keep scrolling to find out how I made this costume. 

Here is my big guy enjoying his crane costume.

I used a variety of rope/binder hooks/pulley's and even wanted to use a metal hook, but it ended up being too heavy. My big guy kept asking how to make the hook go up and down....needless to say, no dice. Next year he can engineer his own costume. 

The costume was slightly cumbersome, sometimes making it difficult to ring doorbells and occassionally turn around without hitting into someone else.

These boys absolutely loved Halloween. They had the greatest time and didn't want to stop trick or treating. 

Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures, please feel free to email me (danielle bartran at gmail.com) if you have any specific or urgent questions. I made the two costumes simultaneously, so the instructions are mixed in about how I constructed both vehicles. 

You will need: 
For crane costume:
  • 1" metal binder clips
  • metal pulley (Walmart)
  • hook (I originally purchased the only one I could find at Walmart, it ended up being too heavy so I made one quickly out of cardboard and painted it silver)
  • rope
  • round cardboard tube (like a paper towel roll)
  • construction hats (dollar tree) and construction vests (from Amazon)
The cardboard boxes were new/fresh unused boxes that I purchased at Walmart. I used two boxes per costume. I used a 6" wide x 18" long acrylic sewing ruler and penciled the design onto the cardboard based on a miniature toy scooper that is my son's favorite

The costume is held together with hot glue and special cardboard screws (and some of the pieces from the digger kit) from the {awesome!} company Make-Do. The box is held on the children's shoulders with duct tape. 

Once I drew the designs, and was happy with the overall appearance, I trimmed the cardboard using a box cutter/utility knife and the acrylic ruler. I measured how wide the children's backs are. I didn't want the costume to be too wide, but also didn't want the box to be to small for him to fit inside (for example, for a back that is 12" wide add 2" and construct the box to be 14" wide. I cut all of the main pieces first, then assembled the pieces before cutting the secondary pieces (the crane supports + the scooper tires and the actual scooper.) 

The arms of the scooper are made from multiple pieces using the cardboard screws. I then glued the main braces onto the box. I found it necessary to score pieces, which means you use the utility knife to cut halfway through (just gently across the surface without cutting all the way through.) 

For the straps, I measured the distance from the front of the box, over the shoulders and to the back of box. I then cut two pieces of tape to that exact measurement. THEN, I cut two pieces with an additional 8 inches. I centered the shorter tape on top of the longer tape. The excess 4" + 4" longer tape then sticks to the inside front + back of the box. 

I painted the single color parts with spray paint first and then with acrylic paint (the black was high gloss which I really liked!) The main boxes that had more than one color I only painted with acrylic paint. I also used google to find images for the logos, I printed them out onto card stock and glued them on strategically. 

The tires for the scooper are a small plate and a tea-cup plate. I actually trimmed along the edges with the utility knife directly on the cardboard. They were painted and then glued on at the last minute--I didn't want the tires to have to hold up the entire costume for an extended period of time. On the crane,  the "make-do" wheels were colored with a crayon, and then screwed onto the boxes. 

I did not attach the hook to the crane until the last minute because I was concerned about the weight of the hook on the supports. Ultimately the metal hook I purchased was too heavy, so I quickly cut one out of cardboard and spray painted it gray before attaching it to the rope. 

The downside {and extremely exhausting side} is that it was difficult {actually impossible} for my little guy to see his feet. That made walking almost unbearably slow...in the end we carried him most of the way, putting him down at each door step. 

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