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Monday, October 20, 2014

Camping Themed Halloween Costumes: Campfire, RV Travel Trailer, Roasted Marshmallow, S'mores, Firefly

Every year, our family goes camping at some point around Halloween.  I remember doing it with my family when I was a little girl.  Now, it's a much bigger affair - my dad & step-mom, my sisters and their families, my family, and 3-6 other families of friends of ours. 
That being said, we have had a lot of fun in recent years choosing costume "themes" for everyone to participate in if they wish.  We've done Peter Pan, Gnomeo & Juliet, Night at the Movies, Despicable Me 2, and this CAMPING!
I'm not going to lie, this year's costumes have been much more time intensive than past years, but they're SO cool (if I do say so myself.)  All 3 of our kids' costumes have a battery-operated light system incorporated, and now that I've done it, I may never make costumes without them.  It's truly an ingenious way to keep track of my kiddos as they trick or treat.
We have professional Halloween pictures taken annually as part of a charity fundraiser, so I had to have the kids costumes complete by October 4th.  So...they were mostly complete.  I've been making some modifications since then, and I've added a jar of "fireflies" to my daughter's costume, too.  It took me about 2-3 weeks to make their costumes.  (We don't have all of the professional images as of yet.)
I'll be sharing my "How to make a Campfire costume" as a bit of a series.  It was certainly some trial and error.
My campfire is trying to "hide" like his brother the travel trailer had only moments earlier.
He's not REALLY being eaten by his costume.
Campfire Costume made by


I've seen a lot of them out there on Pinterest and other places, but I took a few ideas and then created my own.  (A couple that were instrumental in forming my ideas were campfire costume from SavvyHomemade and this cauldron.  There are a few things I'd do differently if I had it to do again (which I have absolutely no intention of) that would make it less cumbersome, a faster project, and an even better final product.  So, don't do as I did - do as I say. 
1. Determine how big you want the campfire.  This may seem like it should be "built" around the size of the person, but remember that you want to be able to greet others, pick candy while trick or treating, and get through doorways (and fit it in your car if necessary.)  This being said, know that the "rocks" will protrude from your base all the way around, so account for them as well when determining the size of your base. 
2. I used a piece of foam board for the base, and it worked beautifully.  I will say that I should have made it smaller for my little guy.  It certainly has "wow-factor" as it is.  *wink wink*  I covered the board in aluminum foil to help reflect the light from the lights.  I'm not sure how much it actually helps, but it only took a couple of minutes.

3. I used orange wiffle balls  (red, orange, yellow, or white would work just as well) cut in half and placed them around the outer ring of the fire (not under the "rocks" but outside the actual "fire."  I wove battery operated red, orange, and yellow lights through the wiffle balls, and then tucked the remainder in through the hole in the foam board to be used later with the flames.  I affixed the battery operated pack to the foam board with the "on/off" switch facing the opening in the foam board and with the battery access on top.  I left an opening in the chicken wire for easiest access to the light's box.  (If I had this to do again, I would use an entire strand of lights for this part and a separate set for in the flames.)
4. I used chicken wire to create a general shape for the fire and give myself something to attach everything to.  The excess was tucked under all the way around (and inside) the foam board, and I twisted all sharp edges to prevent any sharp protrusions.

5.  I then sprayed Great Stuff foam insulation over the chicken wire outer edges and wiffle balls.  This was to create ash and embers.  I spray painted it white (leaving small spots of yellow) and misted it lightly with black spray paint to create a more realistic look. 
6. I used one (orange) pool noodle cut into 6 lengths for "logs."  You could use orange, pink, brown, red, or yellow, but I wouldn't try it with a green, blue, or purple noodle.  I spray painted them all solid with one color of brown.  I used a second color of brown to spray on some depth.  I finished with quick burst "stripes" of black to finish.  I cut tan foam circles and drew on them with a black sharpie to create the rings on the cut edge of the logs. I attached the logs with zip ties that I poked through the logs and then threaded through the chicken wire.

7. I took a piece of red felt and covered the bottom of the costume and tucked the edges around and into the "fire" side.  I used a good bit of hot glue to make this all stay. 
8. Rocks were created with a couple of different grey fabrics stuffed with crumpled newspaper.  If I had it to do again, I'd probably randomly spray paint the fabric before cutting it with different colors (white, brown, dark brown, and black.)  I sewed these closed, and then I attached them to the chicken wire.  Again, if I had it to do again, I would probably sew each rock to the ones next to it before I started attaching them to the campfire.  Be sure that you attach these securely to the chicken wire/board.  I added some black splotches to the rocks once the entire costume was complete, because they looked really blah compared to the rest of its awesomeness. 

9.  I followed what some of the other campfires had suggested for the actual fire (plastic tablecloths, colored cellophane, wires, spray adhesive.)  I do not recommend that; it was really time consuming, and ultimately it didn't "fill" the fire the way I had hoped.  If I were to do it again, I'd maybe make about 6 of those and make them fairly big to help give the overall fire some stable height.  Otherwise, there are other things you can do that fill it just as well, but with much less time investment.  I actually tried a few other things of my own, too, that I wouldn't recommend.  (I tried a glittered red tulle threaded through to fill in the chicken wire, and although the loose red glitter on the "ashes" was really cool, it took entirely too much tulle to fill the spaces.)  INSTEAD, I would make those 6 or so flames (taking into account the height of the person and where the costume will "ride" on their body) and then I would fill in the inner ring with a second set of lights leaving about 8 lights at the non-battery end to attach to the stabilized flames.  Then, I would use red and orange cellophane (often used to wrap gift baskets) to weave through the exposed chicken wire and under the logs.
10.  I used nylon straps, heavy duty Velcro, and felt (for the flames) to create straps to hold the costume on my little guy.  Due to the weight, I decided to have them criss-cross in the back.  Because of the Velcro, these are adjustable and can be moved around the chicken wire for best balance.
11.  Attach the wired cellophane flames between the logs closest to the costume wearer's body and affix the remaining lights to the flames.
12.  Use strips of cellophane or tissue paper (torn and roughly rolled) to create additional flames and fill in the "empty" spaces.  Use cellophane to cover any additional exposed chicken wire.

Campfire costume in the dark (with only 1 set of battery operated lights.)

13.  The shirt can be easily made with felt and can be no-sew if you wish.  Others have continued the flames all the way up to their head.  Others have made marshmallows on a stick as a hat for this costume.  That didn't work for our family, because my husband is actually wearing the marshmallow/stick on his head since we will be walking around with our little ones anyway. 

Happy camping!

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