Last year's icy grill costume was such a hit that I wasn't sure how I'd follow it up. My first idea was to go as a working bicycle pump, but while I thought the concept was cool, I didn't want to get in an inanimate object rut. It was already October before I decided on going as Idaho Senator Larry Craig.
When Larry Craig got caught cruising the men's room at the airport in Minneapolis, his defense was that he wasn't actually trying to pick up the undercover cop in the next stall, but was merely misinterpreted when adopting his usual "wide stance" on the toilet. I think this is what I will remember most about 2007. I have used "in a wide stance" as my Facebook status, played frisbee in a wide stance, and photographed umpires in wide stances. Stance of the summer, no question.
In September, Andrew and Peter and I had gone out to Chicago to do a century bike ride, and Andrew and I brought our bikes in big bike boxes. I'd since left them sitting around my apartment, which meant I had plenty of cardboard to use for costume construction. I built a toilet out of cardboard, masking tape, and some steel wire. It's a full scale replica of my actual toilet, but with the bowl widened enough to accomodate my hips.
I then covered it in two layers of papier-mâché, one using torn up newspaper and then a final layer of torn up paper grocery bags.
I painted it with a single coat of interior latex paint.
I hit up the Salvo for some Republican clothes, and I totally lucked out. I got a great blue suit that seemed just about the right size, some brown shoes, and a patriotic tie honoring the bicentennial (1976 was also the year Sen. Craig won his first reelection bid in the Idaho State Senate). It came to around $25. I only took a picture of the shoes, but you can see how I mounted them.
Around this point in the process, Peter somehow managed to guess what my costume would be. I'd mentioned previously that I was using the cardboard from the bike boxes, and he asked "did you use most or all of the cardboard?" I told him I had only scraps remaining. "And does your costume involve a necktie?" I answered in the affirmative. "Are you going as Larry Craig?" Good detective skills that Peter has.
I went to one of those big costume stores in the East Village and grabbed some makeup stuff: spirit gum, a bald cap, and some gray hair to stick on it. I got some glasses too, but they were totally wrong. I couldn't find any regular, conservative-looking costume frames. Then a friend suggested getting some crappy drug store reading glasses. Good call! I dropped $21 at the costume shop and another $24 at CVS for the glasses.
I found a place online that had backpack-style nylon straps. I got a few feet of that and some plastic hardware for securing it. With shipping it came to $16.
I bought a length of 1/2" PVC to chop up and make into legs, and also a couple support rails to hold the whole thing up and anchor the straps to. $8 including a couple 45-degree elbow joints.
I "fleshed out" the legs using an idea based on some instructions for building a stunt dummy. Basically you wrap yourself in tape and then cut it off and tape it back together. Mine didn't need to be super strong, so I just used masking tape.
I put them on over the PVC leg bones and stuffed them with wadded up newspaper.
The finishing touch was a pair of argyle socks to cover up my skinny-ass PVC ankles. $2.
To get the suit on, I slit some holes in the shoulders and threaded the backpack straps through. I also slit the back of the pants so they could sort of wrap around the front of my real pants. Benny the poodle admired my handiwork while the Colonel kept a wary eye on Benny. You can see why I needed the socks.
Here I am on Halloween in my wide stance. Thanks to Sarah for snapping the picture (the crappiness of the image is due entirely to my shitty camera and not at all her fault).
And here's a side view from a party the weekend before. Photo credit (and associated disclaimer) to Gabe for this one.
|Suit, tie, and shoes||$25|
|Straps and hardware||$16|
|PVC for legs and mounting||$8|