In the last few years, when considering what to make for a halloween costume, I've begun with characters which have had a strong, positive effect on popular culture.
Strong, popular characters which aren't really human.
I have a really good idea for Halloween 2009, simple in concept with just a couple of engineering challenges.
The first thing I did was to have Stacy take a photograph of me standing up. Lately I've started my design with a photo composite of myself behind an image of the character I'm transforming into.
Concept photo composites from previous years:
The primary challenge this year was where to hide my face. Generally, the first thing people look at is your face, so if you want them to look at your costume, particularly if your costume already has a face, you've usually got to obscure your own face.
This year's costume would need to sit high on my shoulders.
Lately I've abandoned the backpack frame in favor of just bending some PVC pipe with a heat gun. PVC pipes are about a dollar each, and I can usually avoid buying connectors by bending up the shapes I need.
I suggest bending PVC outside, because there is some fume and fire danger. You could probably use a hair dryer if you don't have a heat gun. You could probably use a space heater. I used to use a charcoal barbeque, so don't think you need the ideal equipment to pull this off.
Bending PVC is really easy. Don't let the length and complexity of these instructions concern you, I'm just trying to deliver as much information as possible.
Basically you just heat up a section of pipe until it gets soft, then you bend it.
To bend PVC pipe:
A few people have suggested that I try filling the pvc with sand before I bend it, but I'm pretty comfortable with my method, so I haven't tried that yet.
Usually I try to make compound bends in separate steps, heating, bending and cooling, then re-heating, re-bending and cooling.
Never even once has my pvc pipe become too hot and melted into a globby puddle.
I was engineering this as I went. I needed a long rectangle sitting on my shoulders like a table.
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October 6, 2009.