Lego Couple Halloween - New York

Around this time of year, I still get a load of questions from various sources about the costumes we made for the NYC Halloween Parade in 2007. The costumes were two ‘minifigs’ – bride and groom…

So here we are two years later, and I thought I’d do a post about the making of the Lego costumes – to tie together some of the photos, videos and a few more details about how we made them.

If you’re here for the travel photography related stuff… then skip to a different category on the right hand side – this is a random off-topic post about oversize Lego Halloween Costumes!

Styrofoam sheets for the lego headsFirst off, credit where credit’s due – we checked out different sites thoroughly before starting, and as such we came across this site, where the person did exactly what we were trying to do… but back in 2003. This gives a lot more detail about how to make the heads.

Naturally we picked the windiest day of the year to start the project, which started with hauling a LOT of Styrofoam sheets from the hardware store back home. 8 foot by 2 foot and they act like sails on the 20-block walk home!

Once we got them home, it was a matter of selecting the right size of circles, and then cutting out about 28 circles (14 per head), excluding the ones that we needed for the gigantic top hat. Once the pieces were cut, I then stacked up the circles, and cut out head-shaped holes in the middle so that they sat on our heads snugly.

Lots of in-place testing to ensure a snug fit and then it’s a case of gluing them all together, (there was a layer of plastic on the outside of the Styrofoam which seemed to successfully stop the foam melting when I applied the glue). Next is sanding them and cutting them with the correct ‘curves’ in the top and bottom layers:

Cutting out the lego head holes Testing the lego heads Lego heads starting to take shape

Cutting the holes for the eyes and the mouth were a tad scary – this after all was the crucial bit which gives the minifigs their characteristic ‘look’.

Installing the fan Making the 'bit' on the top of the lego heads

Another thing I discovered when testing out the heads for so long was that this thick insulating polar styrofoam really does insulate. Well. Hotly. So well that it was like being in a claustrophobic muffled cave next to the sun. Luckily it was at this point that I was able to make a small vent hole through the rest of the top of the head to the top.

I made the vent hole appear in the ‘bit’ / ‘pip’ / ‘plug’… whatever you call that thing that is on the top of lego heads that allows you to clip on hats etc. To keep it covered up I used a mesh in the top. A trip to radio shack then provided the fan (actually a low power computer fan), a switch, a block battery and some wiring. A bit of soldering-time later, and the fan ensemble was embedded in the top layer of foam in the head, and installed so that air blew ‘up’ out of the head. The ‘bit’ with the mesh covering was then installed on top of that level.

So when painted, it looked like:

Lego Head Halloween Costume

One slight downside was that the vibration from the fan in this hollow-echo-chamber was a little annoying. The upside was we didn’t pass out from the heat. The battery was slipped into a little chamber carved out of the head further down, on the inside of the head between the human head and the outer layer of the lego head. There was also a switch embedded on the inside of the neck, so that we could switch the fan on and off easily when wearing it. Repeat for head number 2.

Cutting the lego bodies

The bodies were then made from vinyl (black for the groom, white for the bride). This was then strengthened on the inside with a layer of poster-board glued to it. My better half took care of all the body-making with me standing around awkwardly to model them when needed. To make the bodies / trousers / dress more ‘square’ looking, we also glued in Styrofoam triangles into the 4 corners of them, to make sure that they kept their corner look and to give it strength.

To make the patterns on the outside of the groom, we then used the remaining white poster-board to create the shirt and bow-tie. The whole front was a single cut, apart from the two white buttons. It basically looked like a wierd white wine-glass shape of poster-board, with the bow-tie and two black buttons cut out, showing the black vinyl underneath.

Lego figures

My better half then also made the hands and flowers, which loads of people commented on because it was one of those ‘finishing touches’ that make all the difference, and were exact replicas of the 3-pronged Lego flowers that you get. Again these were foam for the base, rolled up paper for the stalks and foam for the flowers… painted suitably! Though the chewing-gum glue halfway through the parade to stop the flowers from slipping down the stalks is optional! The hands were made from the curved sides of Quaker Oats tins… I think we still have the contents of all 4 tins in our cupboard somewhere, in zip-lock bags.

Oh and last but not least, the top hat and ‘veil’ was again made from Styrofoam. And also fitted with vents for the air being pushed out of the head, to allow it to escape out of the top of the hat / veil.

I should also probably mention here that our biggest mistake (or our best decision, depending on how you look at it) was that for one reason or another, we didn’t try on the whole costume until we actually got down to the parade. We tried the heads. OK. We tried the heads with veil / hat. OK. We tried the feet and the trousers. OK. We tried the trousers and the bodies. OK. It was a totally different situation when we put on the entire outfit. Imagine looking out of two toilet roll tubes, which are both about 2-3 inches away from your eyes. That’s all you can see. Luckily we had a bunch of people who were able to help negotiate us around sidewalk ups and downs / scaffolding / other people / cars / bits of other people’s costumes etc. And to those people… thank you! (You know who you are!).

The reason I mentioned that it might have been the best decision was that because it was so claustrophobic and impossible to move in them, we might have chickened out if we knew about the issues beforehand! I’m glad we didn’t…

Anyway, if you’ve come across this post because you’re doing something similar, then good luck and have fun! If you’re just browsing then thanks for reading!

Also a couple of videos – Me walking on the way to the parade:

And my other half and me, dancing!

And… more videos of the New York Halloween Parade Lego Couple over on youtube!

Related Posts:

Sock Monkey, Muno and Mr X – Halloween Costumes 2010
Where the Wild Things Are – Halloween Parade Costumes 2009

Pacman and Ghosts – Halloween Parade Costumes NYC 2008

More pictures from the ‘making of the Lego heads and Lego couple’
Photography Portfolios – Travel Photography