DancinFool's 's 2013 Halloween Costume Contest Entry - Bowser from Mario Bros.

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Dancin_Fool

Well-Known Member
I started working on this costume a few months ago. My wife had the idea of dressing up the family as characters from mario bros, she thought it'd be a great idea since my company has a history of working with Nintendo.

Since I have some experience building foam costumes I thought Bowser would be a perfect choice. I started off with the model from Smash Brothers and then modified it so it would fit a human proportions. From there I unwrapped all the pieces in Pepakura and printed them off to trace onto the foam.

Having an almost 2 year old at home meant there was little time to work on the costume so I could only work on it after we got him down to sleep so for 3 months I spent a few hours a night before going to bed cutting and gluing pieces. I chose to use EVA foam for the majority of the pieces, the only thing that wasn't foam was the back. I wound up using cardboard for the shell, initially because I had run out of foam and didn't want to buy another roll, but I think it actually works better with a hard shell instead of a squishy foam one.

The last 2 weeks was a real race to the finish. I was up until 2am almost every night trying to get all the pieces finished. I coated all the pieces with a layer of white glue to seal the foam. Then I used an elastomeric paint to build up a skin. I wanted to use latex but it was too cost prohibitive to coat the entire costume. The elastomeric paint provided a good alternative. It goes on really thick and has a lot of flexibility. I used regular interior house paint for the colors and airbrushed in the final details. For the shell I used wood filler along all the seams to try to mask the corrugated edges of the cardboard.

I had a few roadblocks right near the end. Two days before I had to have it finished I was trying to figure out why I couldn't get the head to connect properly with the body. I realized I had completely missed building the neck for the costume. I had to quickly put together a neck. I wound up building it out of cardboard. It was probably a smart choice because it actually took the brunt of a lot of the costumes weight. I didn't have time to coat it with anything, just a quick coat of green paint. Once I had everything together the costume wasn't much more than a giant statue so I had to figure out two things, 1) how do I cut this thing up so that I can get inside and 2) how do I separate this thing so I have some mobility. I wound up separating the costume into 4 pieces, the body, two arms, and the legs. This worked really good for getting in and out of the costume, I could have it on and off in minutes. The big problem though was mobility. I made cuts at the knees and some strategic cuts at the feet to try and get some mobility but I couldn't do much more than shuffle along at a snails pace. The arms worked out well, I cut the forearms off and used hot glue and duct tape at the elbows to get a fair bit of mobility. The downside though was that I have big flapping seams at the elbows. Hopefully down the line though I can fix this up with some fabric to make the seams less noticable.

Halloween day rolled up and everything was ready to go. I just had to figure out how to get the costume to my workplace. In the past I usually just took transit in costume and it wasn't a problem. This time around though the costume was way too big to fit on transit and walking to the bus would have taken forever. My wife offered to drive me to work but we couldn't figure out how to get the costume into the car. Since I had glued the head onto the body the thing was just way too big. Big thanks to my wife, she managed to figure out a way to wedge the body into the backseat and fold up the legs to get them in the trunk.

I got to work with the costume in one piece and it was a huge success. People took tons of pictures! One of my coworkers tweeted a photo which wound up getting retweeted by Nintendo. It also wound up on the front page of Kotaku which was probably the highlight of the day, so exciting ( Kotaku ). Such a great day and managed to get home in time to get some great pictures with my son who was dressed up as Mario before we took him out trick or treating. My wife was going to dress up as Princess Peach, but we didn't have enough time to get her costume finished.

Here are some build pictures:

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And the finished costume (Apologies for any sideways pictures):

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*EDIT* Updated with "Proof Photo" Not the greatest picture, but trying to get a "selfie" by yourself in a costume like that is not easy lol!
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Dancin_Fool

Well-Known Member
Thanks! It really came together in the end. There were some moments there in the crunch where I was really unsure how it was all going to turn out.
 

Dancin_Fool

Well-Known Member
Yup I've got the files. I will upload them later tonight when I'm home from work.

I will warn anyone thinking of building though that it is not the most comfortable costume and some modifications are necessary to make it wearable as a costume.
 

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Dancin_Fool

Well-Known Member
Thanks, I wish we could have got some more photo's with my son. He liked the costume from a distance, but we couldn't get him to stand beside me.
 

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Dancin_Fool

Well-Known Member
Well the contest is coming to a close. I just wanted to send out a big thank you to everyone who voted for me. Doesn't look like I'll be winning but even coming in as one of the top 5 among these amazing costumes is an honor. Thanks again to everyone!
 

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