I made this quick easy iBrain costume that left me fully mobile. It got several laughs from those close enough to read it, but I was mostly in videographer mode, and not mugging for the crowd.
Pirate and Dr. Dooby on their way to the parade in the East Houston Street General Destruction Zone.
Queen Tut and undead friend on Spring Street.
Also on Spring Street. Could be Mark Jenkins but I don’t think so. It is not as meticulously done as his work.
I got there at 5 to mingled in the set-up area and avoid being trapped in the incredibly crowded pen for the non-organizational participants. I exited at 4th Street around 8 when my camera’s battery was dead. If I remember right the pen is not even opened until 9, it is absolute hell if you are in an elaborate costume.
I still have some last minute painting and modifications to do before the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade tonight. Music by Marilyn Manson.
For more information on how it was made and the parade click the Halloween links below.
The view from the Skeleton Cam in the costume’s sternum. The tips of the skeleton fingers are soft cotton for safe interaction with the people.
With the rain melting the paper mache, the mechanism for making my jaw hinge up and down lasted until 14th Street. But the costume still gathered a lot of appreciation.
The rain thinned out the numbers of participants and audience, but the parade was still well attended.
I’m hoping Saturday, Zombiecon day, will be cool and clear, and that the stores we invade are not too warm. This costume is really made for outdoor use in the Halloween Parade. Indoors, I’ll definitely be sweating. The illusion should be fairly effective in daylight, but up close inspection will likely reveal the puppetry tricks. The jaw and arms are operated by my hands under the cover of the robe.
But the forecast is for rain on Saturday, I might fall back to just make-up for Zombiecon, and save the puppetry for the parade.
Halloween and Zombiecon are coming up. I decided to go with a mask over that damn bloody make-up I’ve been doing for the past couple of years. This is paper mache formed over a balloon, and cardboard. It is not quite done.
My first task when I make a mask is to insure good visibility. The holes are covered with black scrim to hide my eyes and face, but because the eye holes are so large, I can see I can see pretty well. Peripheral vision is very important in a parade mask. The small holes below the right eye in the photo are there to allow me to see where I place my feet, which is also very important. The jaw will eventually be operated like a rod puppet.
I added more holes for added vision and ventilation. I think it adds a bit to the look as well, like the bone is rotting. The mouth can now be operated by pulling a string.
I was asked many times during the parade how I make the arms move. People kept looking for puppet strings. There are no strings, the arm pivots up at the shoulder joint when I pull down on a wire attached to the top of the arm. The elbow, wrist and finger joints are made springy using heavy piano wire. The harness rests on my shoulders and is cut from sheet metal padded with a covering of black duct tape. No straps are needed, it is good to be able to get in and out of costumes quickly.
The arms are relatively light weight, and are padded especially well at the fingertips. It would be easy enough to hit someone in the face, especially in the crowded pre-parade participant cattle pen. Also for safety, this time mine, the shoulder joints are designed to come off and not drag me with them if they get grabbed by something or someone dangerous.
The feet were attached to my black sneakers with elastic. The one on the right still has the litter it gathered from the parade route stuck to it.
More how-to, when I get around to it.
This is what I looked like last year. This year I did a gruesome drooling bloody mouth effect, that probably overshadowed the skeletal effect.
I’ve yet to find a photo of me from the parade on Flickr. Though I was stopped innumerable times to pose. If you know of any photos or video of me, please let me know.