Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween 2007 - Making of the Beaker costume

Since 2000 I became obsessed with making crazy Halloween costumes.
Those being:
2002 - The Incredible Hulk
2003 - A ghostbuster
2004 - Optimus Prime
2005 - Doctor Octopus
2006 - Cobra Commander
Past pictures of the above can be found in these links:
link 1
link 2

This year I out-did myself and decided to dress up as Beaker from The Muppets. I give 100% credit to IAN BARRET for suggesting that character as my costume for this year.

After spending a couple of weeks getting all the materials and a good few nights putting it together, here is the result:

I was so focused on building the damn thing I never organized any plans for the night! I almost didnt' have a party to go to, but in the end went to two house parties.

Every year I put together a cool costume but I never got a response as this year. I got a bunch of comments including:

"You are the most amazing costume maker int he world" - Andrew Ladd
"You are the king of Halloween Costumes" - Guong Le
"I think you're too old to be dressing up" - Josh's Mom

A lot of people asked if I had bought my costume. The answer is no, i made it completely by myself (with a little help from my mom - she sewed the nose).

Like all my past costumes, I got a lot of help and inspiration by looking online to see what others had done. So, I decided to share with the internet how I made MY costume:

My costume is made mostly of foam, cardboard, fabric and tape:

I started with a big square of foam I bought from Fabricville (a sewing supply warehouse).

I apologize for the lack of photos but basically I took a baseball cap and cut the visor part off. This was the base for my head support. I then took a cardboard box and cut a large squarish piece which I then folded many times to make it bend and wrapped it's base around the hat. After tapping everything in place, it basically looked like a one of those straight chef hats. This piece was then covered with a larger piece of foam (so it started at the top of the cardboard but extended pass my forehead all the way to my shoulders. The foam was then wrapped in pink fabric that I bough tand secured temporarily.

From here on I had a hard time figuring things out because i wasn't sure where to place stuff along the base and could see anything while wearing it. Most of it was done by "guestimation".

I moved onto the eyes and nose.

The eyes were basically two plastic decoration balls I found (for what purpose they are for I'll never know). Unfortunately, I found the hard way that they were two small in proportions to the rest of the mask. To fix this problem I wrapped them in foam and tapped the ends shut:

For the nose I bought a piece of styrofoam:

and then wrapped that twice in foam to get the right size:

I was starting to get somewhere:

With help from my mom (last years Cobra commander costume needed a LOT of sewing which my mom did - this year I just need help with the nose) I got the nose covered with orange stretchy fabric.

I attached the eyes and nose to the mask by basically cutting holes in the fabric/foam/cardboard and farcing the ends of the
nose/eyes through the holes. To keep them from falling out, my mom sewed the nose onto the foam/fabric and on top of that I had attached string to the ends of each piece which I then ran across through the mask and tied to the other end of the cardboard, like so:

Since I pretty much had once shot with everything, I didn't want to cut the string and tie it off yet so I lef tit lose and throughout the rest of the building process, the left eye kept popping out...

SO i had the eyes and nose done but needed a mouth. I took more cardboard and taped it onto the hat going downwards, below my forehead (this time only folding it around the front half of the hat). Then I cuta frown though the fabric, foam and cardboard and made it so it folded outwards:

Now I had somewhere to see!

I sewed some black fabric onto the eyes for pupils:

Now that I had an opening to see, I didn't want people to see my face, so I covered the hole with half black fabric and half mesh so I could still see:

As an added effect I took some fishing wire and attached it to the mouth so I was able to open it by just pulling on the wire:

The last thing needed was hair. I cut the cardboard on to and folded it and the foam down and added a few stiches to close down the top:

For hair, I bought two bright red boas for Halloween:

They were mostly feathers but I couldn't figure out any other alternatives to making the hair the size I needed. I took the boas, wrapped them around the top and stitched it all over to keep it secure.

The final result:

The rest of my costume was basically a REALLY big blue shirt. I knew i"d never find a shirt with a 25 in collar so I took the biggest I could find and made my own collar. I had a tie and I wore a lab coat.

Beaker was ready for damage!

Monday, October 22, 2007


Last week at work, an alarm went off. It was the first time I heard such an alarm. It was basically a loud ringing noise followed by a recording saying that an alarm was activated and the situation is being looked at and that we should wait for further instructions. Following that alarm, another message came on shortly telling us to evacuate the building.

In the end it was just a drill.

Today, the alarm went off again. This time it was for real.

I was in my office and thought I smelled smoke. My first thought was "Oh yeah, I borrowed the glue gun from work. I better take it out of my bag". Then the alarm went off and I realized that I REALLY had smelled smoke.

My office didn't even wait for the evacuation message, we left during the investigation message.

Soon after, the rest of the building followed.

Turns out a dumpster on the main floor int eh back garage caught on fire. I'm guessing from a cigarette and the smoke just traveled to through the vents.

We're all okay and a=now it's back to work.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Pop Montreal

Right now, Montreal is being flooded with all kinds of concerts in part of an annual event called Pop Montreal. I think the bands are usually more independent, underground types (someone correct me if I'm wrong), but I know they get some big names too (this year Patti Smith is in town).

My friend Sean runs a music blog called Said The Gramophone and was presenting 3 shows this year. One of them I attended last night. There were three bands: Yeasayer, Plants And Animals, and Grizzly Bear (they played in that order). Plants And Animals are a Montreal band while the other two are from Brooklyn.

I'm not very good abut explaining music, but I thought the show was really something. Before Sean even mentioned the show to me, I had never heard of any of the bands. The quick knowledge I got of them was from this link.

The show was at the Ukrainian Embassy located near Hutchison and Laurier. The place was pretty small. The inside was like a cheesy auditorium. There was a second floor balcony.

Overall the three bands were really good. I felt that the first and last band were more similar to each other than the second band, but each were unique in their own way.

Grizzly bear were really dynamic and in turn I decided to support them and by their acclaimed album Yellow House. I'm listening to it now and it's GREAT rainy day music.