by Susan Russell and Freddie Wilson (Knoxville, TN USA)
Homemade Spy vs. Spy Costume
Every year we try and think of something bigger and better to do than the year before. My fiance had one about 10 contests before meeting me and I have won only one in my adult life. I wanted us to do something that would be big and funny and for some odd reason, I thought of Spy vs. Spy costumes. I liked it because you can’t buy that costume, I had never seen anyone else do it before, and it was something my fiance and I could do together. He liked the idea and began thinking of ways to create a giant coned shape head.
To begin making the head, we purchased some sphere-shaped balloons at the dollar store and collected weeks and weeks worth of newspaper. We bought glue and mixed it with water and began to paper-mache the balloon. We put several layers on the balloon, let it dry, and when we felt it was sturdy enough, we popped the balloon inside–viola, a hollowed-out sphere.
Then we bought poster board, shaped it into a cone and ducted taped it to the sphere. We then added paper-mache to the entire cone and sphere to make it sturdy. We created the eyes by tracing a large mixing spoon, because it was oval-shaped, and cut out the eyes with an exacto-knife. We then covered the entire head with white pleather and covered the eyes, on the inside, with black mesh material. The mesh allowed us to see out without others really being able to see in. A co-worker of mine, who is an artist, drew the facial features and teeth. Foam rubber was inserted inside each head to help keep it from wobbling and moving.
The hat was made out of a hula-hoop and a waste basket. The hula-hoop was laid flat on our island and the wastebasket, turned upside-down, was placed in the center. Then we put duct-tape all around the trash can, adhering it to the hula-hoop, to fill in the empty space. Then we added a skinny piece of poster board around the top of the wastebasket to create the notched look. We covered the entire hat, on top and underneath, with material.
My fiance’s mother is a very good seamstress and was gracious enough to make the shirts for us. We found a pattern for a women’s coat that had a high neck widened at the bottom. To make the bottom appear even wider, she inserted a hula-hoop around the edge and sewed material, around it, to close it up.
The only items we didn’t make were the pants, gloves, and shoes. The pants were purchased at the Goodwill store and the gloves and shoes were purchased at a Halloween store–the gloves are called “Cartoon” gloves and the shoes are jester shoes that were spray painted to match our costumes.
We also purchased items to make the bomb and dynamite. The bomb is a kid’s toy ball spray-painted black with a black spray can lid glued to it. A piece of rope was glued on top of the cap to look like a fuse. The dynamite is an empty Pringles can spray-painted red. It also has rope glued to the top of it to look like a fuse. Each item was velcroed to the glove of its respective Spy vs. Spy costumes.