I've been whipping up Halloween costumes for my twins since... they were in utero. It was one of my few forms of creative expression while I was otherwise busy juggling babies. When my son Mickey was 4 he asked to be Bumblebee from the show Transformers. I was a little Bumble-bummed (yeah I said it) because it was the first year that he asked for something that I thought simply had to be storebought. But, I purchased a cute little costume with puffy muscles that made him proud. It was sweet.
That evening I turned to my husband Dan and said "I bet I can make the car." He sighed back, probably remembering the John Deere excavator costume constructed out of diaper boxes that I had made Mickey the year before.
A few minutes of silence later while he was drifting off to sleep I whispered "I bet I can make it transform." Dan sighed more loudly and rolled to face the other side of the bed while I stared at the ceiling and (as is typical) stayed awake most of the night plotting how to get this done.
The next day that I didn't have work I plunged into our garage and pulled up the largest pieces of cardboard we had waiting for recycling. I grabbed some duct tape, scissors, measuring tape, an Exacto knife, and set to work in my living room.
The rest... well I think the video will have to do the bulk of the talking because ya gotta see it to understand it:
I posted a snippet of Mickey trying on the costume to Facebook that year and it went decidedly viral. It had over 4 million interactions and I received so many messages from people wanting to buy, have me make, or tell them how they can make it that I ended up needing to whip up an FAQ to send strangers hundreds of times.
Because I never knew whether it would work, I didn't document the process in a way to show a true "how-to" but I'm hoping the video helps to better explain the process to anyone who wants to give it a try.
Of course, Mickey LOVED this costume. He'd sit and stare at it before Halloween when I wouldn't let him treat it like a toy (I was worried it would be ruined before the big day). The night of, he stopped at EVERY doorstep and went into "car mode" and then when they answered would "transform" for them. He even decided that night to sleep INSIDE the dang thing.
The best part though was the transformation Dan and I saw in Mickey. Normally a shy, reserved 4-year-old when he went to a local costume contest and got a chance to show off his costume he stood up straight, he puffed out his chest, he put his hands on his hips like a true superhero. These were marks of confidence we had never seen from him before. That's what made it worth all the hours of trial and error and sweat and swearing.
By the way, yes he won the contest... and several others.