Halloween Costumes: The Hammerhead Shark

A real hammerhead shark*
A real hammerhead shark*

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.

Jen writes:

geetingready2The 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!

geetingready3My 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.

Last year’s Wobbegong costume:
Wobbegong Shark Halloween Costume

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 FlickrAll other photos by Jen Straw.