Willy Wonka for Halloween

halloween, costumes comments edit

I’ve always enjoyed the concept of highly detailed and accurate costumes. This crap they sell on the market for $15 that includes the shirt, hat, boot covers, and a laser gun all in one package might fly for less detail-oriented folks or people short on time, but I’m a big fan of authenticity.

The problem is, I generally end up being one of the “short on time” crowd, so I half-ass myself a costume at the last minute involving a quick trip to the military surplus store and a liberal application of creativity involving everyday household items. Halloween shows up altogether too quickly and the night before I’m cobbling something together. It kills me, too - I’d like to have something better than that. If I’m going as Dracula, I want a pair of custom fangs and a high-quality cape. I have yet to be a Ghostbuster because I need accurate props with real working electronics.

This year I’m taking the project on early, though: I’m going to be Willy Wonka (from the new movie).

Jenn and I went last night to the fabric store and I ended up picking up three patterns - one for a coat (which will need to have the collar slightly modified); one for a shirt (I’ll have to find some paisley fabric); and one for a civil war jacket which, once the sleeves and collar are removed, looks just like his vest. I’ve also purchased some finials that can be used as the handle on his walking stick and I’ve ordered some clear PVC pipe for the body of it.

I’m getting a head start so I can actually make all this stuff and go for the authentic look. Now, admittedly, I’m already conceding a few of the details. I won’t be able to get the “W” pin he has at his collar. I’m not a good enough tailor to make a coat that has pinstripes that match up so I’m going to go with a solid color instead. The shoes probably won’t be quite right, and the bottom of the pants (if I go with a pair I have already) won’t be right, either. And I can’t find the actual finial that was on his cane, nor can I find quite the right tip for it, either, but we’ll make due. Oh, and there’s no way I’m springing for a real top hat. The point is, it’ll be of a much higher quality (and will be much more fun) than the $15 kit.

Of course, the patterns already cost me $25, the finials were $15, and the PVC pipe was $30 with shipping (it only comes in 10’ sections). So budget-wise, I’m way over the typical Halloween costume budget already. It’ll be fun to make, though, and I think that’s really what matters. Plus I’ll be happier with it when it’s done. I’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE 10/02/05: The costume came out well. Here are the details.