Hallowe’en 2008

three pumpkins, two scary, one scared

Peter As with every year for the past six (here’s 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007), Jon chose what he wanted to be for Hallowe’en, and we scrambled to make it happen. This year he took longer to make up his mind, and his choice was a major challenge: Wall-E.


So off we went. I started the planning in September, with the plan to be way ahead of the curve this year, and not be up ’til 4:20 am October 31, like last year, or 3:12 am, like the year before. I actually got started on the chassis, but a rush assignment from a marketing firm that turned into a still-ongoing hurry-up-and-wait project took over three weekends straight, and any hope of being early were scuttled. In the end, I stayed up longer than before, getting a good two hours of sleep before getting up to put Jon on the bus. Next year, for sure!

Jon as Wall-E, 3/4 left

As always, about 95% of this construct is paper and glue and poster paint, totally recyclable in the grey/blue bin. We’re in trouble if it ever rains.

Jon as Wall-E, front

I will admit to using hot melt glue a lot, to achieve shapes with paper that would take many hours to accomplish any other way. Problem was, the last night, somewhere after midnight with a lot of gluing still to come, I saw a flash and pop from the hot melt gun across the room, followed by a tail of black smoke. The glue gun had given up its last bit of melted vinyl. Suddenly, my overnight task was set in white glue alone.

Jon as Wall-E, 3/4 right

The costume was a component system. The body with arms was itself too wide to fit through a doorway, never mind with the treads. So things were attached by various means. The treads actually had a belt with 30 treads glued on. Yes, we are insane.

(Too much) detail

We—okay, I—put way too much work into some details, but the head was especially tough. I added a glow to the eyes (not seen in the movie), since it’s pretty dark out there. Lots of components to that head, and I had to build depth to the lenses and a hidden way of getting in to turn on the eyes.

rear closeup of head

The original plan was for Jon to wear the head, but given its size relative to the costume, it was too much. Even though it was light enough to wear attached to a ball cap, it was heavy enough that if it went too far in any direction his head would flop and off it would come. In the end, it had to be mounted to the wheelchair headrest, and Jon’s only direct involvement in the costume was wearing the neck. Bit more of a parade float than I intended. But he was very happy—he hates the burden of wearing things, especially headgear.

Wall-E front with glowing solar battery display

Nice front paint detailing by Laura, who did most of the massive and finicky paint work this year. Note the glowing charge panel, courtesy of Gymkata on Flickr who posted a pic that saved me 20 minutes in Illustrator replicating it.

BNL logo on wheel

Too much detail: The Buy N Large logos on the tread wheels and gears. (Still love their fake website legalese disclaimer)

Photon as Hal the cockroach

Photon was matched as Wall-E’s earth companion, Hal the cockroach. Her costume was very cute, but she fought it some and the head came off about 1/4 way into our tour that evening.

Jon as Wall-E, blurred but happy

No comment yet

  1. Jude says:


    As usual great job! Love the pumpkins too!

  2. Susan says:


  3. Tamiko says:

    Holy cow!Incredible detail! You guys are crazy and I love it!
    Are you going to send a photo to Pixar?
    btw-what do you do with the costumes once Halloween is over?

  4. David "A Great Idea Every Five Minutes" Barker says:

    Dudes, you should totally quit your day jobs and start a business tricking out wheelchairs for Hallowe’en!

  5. Richard says:

    Shame on you for photoshopping Jon into a picture of Wall-E and then expecting us to believe you actually built this thing.

  6. paul says:

    wicked cool! Peteer claims it had 3 lights…i think we need to see a night pic. for the full effect. He claims his camera battery died..wonder if those robotic arms would be handy for removing that food that always end up at the back of the fridge.

  7. Peter says:

    Thanks all.

    @ Tamiko: Pixar? Yeah, prolly will send them a snapshot.

    As for the costumes, understand that these are constructed for one night. Some pieces might hold together much longer, but other bits were showing some major wear even by night’s end. Almost everything in the costume is cardboard,paper and poster paint (if it ever rains, we’re sunk!), though I did have to use transparent plastic for his lenses and saved hours by quickly carving his hands from chunks of packing styrofoam that were already in the garbage. But almost all of the costume will be in the recycling within the week. I usually save a bit or two for posterity, to remember the whole crazy experience by. In many ways it’s our version of Buddhist sand mandala: art experienced in its whole for a short time, then erased.

    @ Paul: When you get here, we’ll try to convince Jon to do a night photo, just for you.

    @ Richard: You’re right. The hardest part was the mass hypnotism at the school parade, and of the neighbours. Especially since some of them are still strutting around and pecking like chickens.

  8. Ruby and Kaz says:

    Hey Peter, you sure are creative and slightly insane. Maybe you sniffed too much of the glue you used. We love it and the jack-o-lanterns too.

  9. Jennifer Hackett says:

    This costume is amazing! Can I please include it in and article I am writing about fancy dress costumes?

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