The winner of last year’s Dabbled Halloween Contest was the incredibly creative Jen Straw, who designed a fabulous wobbegong shark costume for her son. She also sent me a writeup of how she did a wonderful Hammerhead shark costume for her son the following year, but I didn’t get it posted before Halloween was over. So I saved it until this year, and I thought it would be a great way to get everyone inspired and go make your own creative costume! I love how she explains her trail and error process… that’s so much of creating something new–you don’t always have to follow directions.
The head has two pieces of very lightweight craft foam, and the body and fins are made of craft felt (we were on a budget this year! Both the front and back had two layers of felt, both for extra reinforcement (especially where the fins were sewn in) and to create a pocket for the head stuffing. The head was secured with a head ring from a batting helmet (as was Wobbe’s), but the neck was just a tiny bit too tight, so it didn’t sit too well. He ended up wearing it like a hoodie for much of the evening! And, since I made it to a generally large scale again, the whole thing is over 6 feet long from tip to tail. I had to tack it up in the back so that he wouldn’t trip.
The gills were hand sewn with black yarn (in a modified embroidery stitch), which also reinforced the arm slits (a happy coincidence!). The scallops on the head were just a single large stitch (from front to back) which was pulled tight to create the shape- a technique that I learned in 7th grade home EC when I made one of those crazy “Stumpkin” pantyhose dolls. Good times!
My biggest problem was with the eyes. I struggled to find a way to make them look right, and it took me several tries (it was also the very last thing to be finished, right before they left for Trick or Treat). I ended up using a large glass gem (a larger version of the glass gems that you might find in a glass vase with flowers), which I covered with felt and painted black. I tacked it onto the head, then added a round “ring” of white felt to accentuate the eye and make it more dimensional (plus it looked really weird without it!). I had tried to use the glass gem itself as the eye, but I couldn’t figure out how to attach it and still create some dimension (I was trying to “sink” into a makeshift eye “socket”, but it kept popping out!). So, not perfect, but it worked, and they stayed on. Well, almost- we lost one of the rings somewhere in the neighborhood.
On of my favorite things about this one is the mouth-I cut a rounded flap for the hole (the flap itself became the lower jaw), and I added teeth around the top and bottom, and a free moving “tongue”. Anatomically, the Hammerhead’s mouth is actually in the right spot for the head hole, but it ended up looking more like the shark had swallowed him.
… you can read more here.
And see a bunch more pictures of the costume here at the Flickr Set.
Jen’s husband did a book based off the Wobbegong shark, you can check out the shark’s website here!
Thanks to Jen for sharing!
*Photo credit: “Real” Hammerhead photo (CC licensed) by Kiwi Flickr. All other photos by Jen Straw.