Halloween is just around the corner, so I thought I would share our son's costume from last year. He really wanted to be a Dalek from the Doctor Who series. I couldn't find any ready-made costumes, so we decided to make one ourselves. I thought maybe someone else would be in the same boat this year, so here are the instructions if you want to put together a Dalek costume for your child (or yourself!).
Cardboard box (big enough vertically to cover your head and hang down to somewhere between your knees and ankles)
A plastic bowl in the chosen Dalek color (you will be ruining this bowl, so buy something cheap!)
Spray paint to match your Dalek color
Black tape (electrical tape or the wider black duck tape works well)
A couple packages of styrofoam balls
Glue (we used a hot glue gun), drill and drill bits
1. Open both ends of the box and fold the sides to create an octagon shape by bending the cardboard in the middle of each side. Make the creases as deep as possible so that your box will look more Dalek-shaped and not like a square. When you're finished, leave one end of the box open and creatively fold the other end in, layering the pieces of cardboard (cutting if necessary) and taping them together so that the box is now closed on one end (this is where your head will go, so make sure you tape it securely).
2. Cut holes for your arms and a slit for your eyes.
3. Spray paint the cardboard box. My advice is to use a high gloss spray paint, which will look much better than a flat finish (though it's a bit pricier).
4. As the paint dries, measure your box to figure out how many "bumps" you will need on the sides (this will depend on how far apart you want to space them and how big your cardboard box and styrofoam balls are). Cut each styrofoam ball in half and spray paint them black (or silver or gold, again depending on your color choice for the costume). Beware: the spray paint will probably "eat" the surface of the styrofoam a little, but they'll still look okay.
5. At this point your box should have dry paint, so use the black tape to outline the shape. You can put tape on all the creases or just at the top and bottom of the costume. Then use a hot glue gun to stick all the styrofoam semicircles on the sides of the costume.
6. Make the helmet: drill a couple small holes in the bowl for the Dalek "ears" -- you want the dowels to fit snugly into the holes. Also add a hole in the front of the bowl for the "eye." When you're finished, place the bowl (upside down, of course) onto the top of your cardboard box (where you previously taped everything--so you will conveniently cover up all that tape!). Use some more black tape to cover the rim of the bowl and make it look more realistic.
7. Make the "ears" and the "eye": be creative here. For the "ears," we used an empty toilet paper roll and cut it in half, then covered it with aluminum foil and inserted a dowel in the end of the tube and pushed the dowel down into the bowl. We also saved one half of a styrofoam ball and put another dowel in the end, then used a combination of black and silver tape to make the "eye," but you might be able to come up with something better!
If you try this, I'd love to see your result! Our son was so excited about his red Dalek costume. Everybody thought he was just a robot, but that didn't bother him. He just "exterminated" them for their ignorance.
Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!