November 1, 2015

DIY: Gumball Machine Costume

Oh, hello.

You didn't think I was going to let Halloween pass without an update did you? Of course not.

I'll just say it: it's unreasonable that we only have one day a year to wear costumes. I fantasize about a Second Halloween - we'll give it a catchier name, probably - in late April, about six months after the big day, so everyone gets another chance to dress up and fit in those costume ideas they never got around to. Plus, topical costume options will be doubled! When something great happens pop-culturally in the winter, it's way too late to costume-ize it at Halloween. With Second Halloween, this MAJOR problem is solved.

My brain is basically a snow globe of raining costume ideas all year long. I make mental notes and ponder construction options pretty much weekly. I just love costumes! I generate a lot of ideas; some I try to force on others, and some I'm storing away for future Halloweens when I have it in me to wear another costume that I can't sit down in. This year, though, I actually pulled inspiration from my own past brain! When I made this post about DIY Halloween costume ideas, I included a gumball machine option, and this year it struck me as a fun thing to try. Thanks, 2014 brain!

Here's how I made it:

The Gumballs
There are a lot of ways to go about this portion of the costume - last year I suggested a glass bowl full of pom poms, but I was committed to using real gumballs so I bought enough bags of those at Target to arouse suspicion at checkout. 

I then cut a 15" circle from cardboard, covered it in white felt, glued approximately one million (ok, like 300) gumballs to it, and used black felt as a trim to give a finished look. 

I added that cartoon-style "shiny" detail at the top to imply that the circle was glass. Just like when I was drawing a balloon as a child, it just seemed like the right thing to do. 

Finally, I attached some black straps to tie around my neck. Side note: that kind of hurt so BEWARE.

The Hat
The base of this hat is a paper bowl. Yup, that simple. I snipped off the lip of the bowl to give it a straighter side.

Next, I cut a circle out of red fabric, wrapped it around the bowl and glued it on the inside. I suggest glueing in small sections to keep the edges as neat as possible. I have some folds, but I made peace with it after some soul searching.

The top piece is the bottom of a small plastic cup covered in gray felt. If you're keeping track, that means this hat is about 95% disposable dish ware.

Finish by gluing some elastic string to keep it on your head.

The Machine
For rational people, step one should be: Buy a red skirt. Since I always have to be a hero, I made this one myself after deeming all store-bought options "too red," "not red enough," or "lacking the spirit of a gumball machine." Don't be a hero.

I used gray, white and black felt to make a metal-looking piece for the coin slot and spinny dial. I attached this to the skirt with tape, since I wanted to wear the skirt again.

I put a "hole" at the bottom when the gumballs would come out, and glued a gumball there, as well.

Finish with some silver trim courtesy of duct tape if you wish.

The Finished Costume

Classes are starting now at my distinguished photo posing academy! You'll be a pro after covering such topics as "Why are these hands on my face?" and "Hey, what's over there?"

So now I have to know - what were you for Halloween? If you didn't dress up, what do you wish you could've been? Because sometimes imagining costumes is just easier, right?


  1. Ah this is so so good! It's the attention to detail that makes it (like the shine on the glass and the real gum balls) :) I just did some day of the dead makeup, which was a lot of fun but nothing as impressive as what's going on here!

  2. My sisters and I had a red gum-ball machine growing up. Mom used to give us cartons of gumballs for Easter to load the machine with. Looking at your costume gave me a flashback to all those Easters. You are too talented, lady. Stop it! Give some of your talent to me, please.

  3. This is such a nice one! The attention to details makes this very interesting! But the way look out for this one stuff here with really nice examples of makeups!

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  5. This is awesome! Also, I'm being a hero. I'm working on a self-drafted pencil skirt for this costume. Thank you very much for the inspiration!

  6. Extra highlights, for example, the capacity to turn the machine 360 degrees and a vertical rotate for handling drills, just as combo baseball/softball machines can and will play into the cost.mélybölcsős szállítás Europa-Road Kft.

  7. Costume renting is an alternative you could have when preparing for a Halloween party. From the same spot where you might buy your costume locally, it is also possible they offer rentals.
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