Dr. Octopus Costume                    

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Ahhh, Halloween.

I really cherish having an awesome Halloween costume. If you go through the trouble of building something big, and strapping it onto a backpack so you can wear it all night, you will be rewarded with a great crowd reaction.

Halloween 2004 landed on a Sunday. This meant that a great costume could be drawn out for the party trifecta: Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.


Unlike my costumes in previous years (fish head, paparazzi, silver wings, California and Jenga), I decided on a unoriginal design. I went as Doctor Octopus, the super-villain foe of Spider Man. I didn't like using an unoriginal costume idea, but damn! It would be so cool to be Dr. Octopus, I couldn't resist!

Dr. Octopus, if you haven't heard of him, is a mad scientist who wields four flexible super-strong metal arms with large, strong pincers.

There were many challenges to the costume. His long arms are described as in almost constant motion, with lights and pinching pincers.


It would be really tough to make the arms move, but I thought I could probably get the pincers on my costume to pinch.

I also thought it would be great to construct a defeated spider-man figure for the arms to be carrying, above his head. 

On the first weekend in October, I made my first trip to home depot to figure out what might work for the pinchers.

I bought 3" flexible black plastic drain tube and strung a long rope through it. I had an idea that attaching the rope to one end, and pulling the other end would make the black tube curl up and twist around like a monkey's tail. 


To make it more flexible, I cut a bunch of slits along the arm.

That did not work.

I moved on to the pinchers, making several drawings.. 

before I moved to cardboard. 

The cardboard mock-up helped a little, but the three-finger pinching action required something solid to work out the engineering for the moving parts, so I cut some fingers out of 3/4 inch MD fiberboard.

Using a 3" drain tube connector as a base, I screwed this monstrosity together out of springs, clothes hangers, screw-eyes, plumbers tape, screws and string.

Unfortunately, it was a contraption. The coat-hanger wire was too flexible, and the wooden fingers were too heavy for the pinching-action to work unless the force of gravity was helping them.

I needed something lightweight, like styrofoam, but strong enough to hold a the threads of a screw.

Please read page 2 of the Doctor Octopus costume.

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November 23rd, 2004.  

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