I worked a lot with PhotoFabric, a colorfast fabric that has a paper backing to allow you to put it directly into your inkjet printer. I was able to then print images of merit badges and the Wilderness explorer logo for his sash, hat, and little flag. At first I had some problems because the thick fabric paper would jam every time I would try to print on it. I was ready to give up, but decided to just pull the fabric away from the paper backing and just stick the fabric into the printer. I had to be careful to make sure the fabric wouldn't bunch as it was pulled through, but it printed out perfect the first time! It was amazing- I just printed these out!
Then they have you run it under water until it runs clear, and then you iron it.
Russell's backpack was pretty easily made with a variety of things I found at the thrift store nearby. I was able to find the perfect little things to go on it. I got some various tiny pots and pans, and a little handbag with a long strap to become his backpack. I cut the straps off and made little backpack straps and straps for the bedroll with it. I got a little dog harness from the dollar store, and it became all the little brown straps that I hung little carabiners on to carry the pans, compass, rope, flashlight, bugle, etc. The rest of the outfit was just some Russell-ish articles of clothing that Calvin already had or that were easily found.
The BEST part about the costume was that Calvin LOVED it. Seriously, when he'd see his backpack around the house, he'd beg to put it on. He has been wearing the costume since Friday and has never once wanted to take the backpack or hat off. This costume was exactly his kind of thing!
On Friday, we went to our church Halloween party. Everyone loved his costume again this year as he won the costume contest again! Our chili also won the Chili Cookoff for the 2nd year running (I have to give all credit for this to Jennifer)! We had lots of fun! And between the clanging of his backpack and the balloons tied to him, we could hear and see Calvin no matter where he was at the party! A great unforeseen perk of this costume!
On Saturday, we went trick-or-treating at Macey's (the grocery store-- I'm not misspelling the name of the department store). Calvin didn't really get the idea of going around and holding out his bag for candy, and instead just wandered around the store, finding himself being tripped over by the other trick-or-treaters. He began causing quite a disturbance when people started getting out their phone and taking pictures of him. One woman took a picture, and then another man ran up saying, "You're doing pictures?!" and whipped out his iPhone to snap a quick shot too. I felt excited and flattered that they liked the costume so much, but then get a little scared as shoppers started to stare to see what the ruckus was. We left shortly afterward. Calvin loved the attention.
Sam and I went as Red and Mokey from Fraggle Rock. These were a little more whipped together and not quite as polished as Russell, but I was very happy with the product nonetheless. Let me tell you though, if you ever need colored tights, don't waste your time trying to find them anywhere. We went to about 15 different stores and finally found purple ones, but never found yellow. Save yourself some time and just buy white tights and dye them. The dying didn't take long and they ended up just the color we wanted. Also, I was happy with the wig I made for Mokey. Only took yarn, a hat, a glue gun, and an hour.
Phew! I am pretty burnt out from crafting costumes, but so glad that everything turned out well. I don't know how I can ever make a cooler costume for Calvin, though. I need to start planning now for next year.
Calvin trying on his not-quite-finished costume for the first time.
*****For those interested in making this costume, I found the merit badges here. Just print them whatever size you need them, cut them out, and sew them on a sash!*****