An alien costume ranked so high, you might say it was out of this world. According to Ryan, age nine, "It should have curvy black eyes and wear a robe." Fitting the bill is this trick costume, inspired by finalist Kim Harvey and her son, Andrew.
In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup of flour and 2 cups of cold water. Add to a saucepan of 2 cups of boiling water and bring back to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar. Let the mixture cool and thicken before using.
Place the inflated balloon in the bowl. Using Papier-mâché glue, apply 1 layer of newspaper strips.
Let them dry, then cut 2 1/2-inch vertical slits into the top of the cardboard tube, about 1 inch apart.
Fold out the tabs and press them against the bottom of the balloon (A), securing them in place with masking tape. Cover the balloon and the top of the tube with another 2 layers of newspaper, letting the glue dry each time. (This may take a while, so plan accordingly.)
Paint the head and the top of the tube green. Once they're dry, use craft glue to attach black paper Alien eyes, brushing a thin layer over them as well to smooth them against the head.
The Trick Harness, part 1:
This harness fits the average eight- to 12-year-old. Adjust the dimensions to fit your child.
Use the utility knife to round the corners of the cardboard rectangle and cut slits where indicated (B).
To make the harness more flexible, roll it vertically into a log and then unroll it. Next, thread the ribbon through the slits as shown (B).
Have your child try on the harness and adjust the shoulder straps as needed. Tighten the waist belt to fit snugly, attaching Velcro strips to the overlapped ends.
The Trick Harness, part 2:
Hold the Alien's head behind the harness so that the chin is about 2 inches above your child's head and mark the tube where it meets the top of the harness.
Cut the tube 5 inches below the mark. Then cut a 3-inch vertical slit in each side of the tube (remember to keep the Alien's eyes facing forward). Stuff the gloves with fiberfill and safety-pin them inside the turtleneck cuffs. Then stuff the arms with the fiberfill and fit the shirt over the harness.
The Child's Body:
Safety-pin the slippers to the bottoms of the pajama legs. Then loosely stuff the tights and fit them into the pajama bottoms and slippers. Pin the pajama bottoms to the top as shown (C).
The Alien's Outfit:
For the hood, fold the black fabric in half across its width. Attach the center of the fabric to the top of the Alien's head with double-sided tape and safety-pin the sides together under the Alien's chin.
Have your child put on the skirt, then the pajama top with the legs and feet attached. Help your child put on the harness -- you will need to lift and bunch the front of the turtleneck above the shoulder straps, as shown (D), and be sure the pajama legs hang over the front of the waist strap.
Attach the Alien's hooded head to the harness. Attach Velcro strips to the palms of the gloves and to a shoulder strap and waist strap where indicated (E).
Then wrap the Alien's arms around your child's chest, using the Velcro to hold them in place. Trim the length of the hood, if needed.