My 7-year-old son and 5 year-old-daughter enjoy wearing coordinating Halloween costumes. This year, as our family was on own road trip, we started talking about the essence, spirit, and tradition of road trips and all the crazy places that people can visit when driving across the United States. That conversation is what gave rise to this year’s costume: The Great American Road Trip.
My son is dressed as the Largest Twine Ball rolled by One Man, which is a real life attraction in Darwin, Minnesota. My daughter is a postcard featuring various road trip locations across the US. We made the back of the post card as authentic as possible, with a classic “wish you were here” message.
The twine ball is made of chicken wire bent into a roundish shape. I then covered the chicken wire with batting on the inside and outside to keep it from being pokey. I painted the batting brown to camouflage any bits that might peek through the twine. I then set to work painstakingly covering the ball with twine. Here is where I really had to channel my inner Francis A. Johnson (the man who rolled the actual ball of twine that sits in Darwin, MN and weighs in at nearly 9 tons and measures 12 feet wide.) I tried a few different methods, but in order to keep from obstructing the arm, leg, and head openings, I had to cut and glue twine and lay it on piece by piece to cover the whole ball. I then went back and wrapped other pieces around and across the ball to give it the look of having actually been wrapped. The whole process was quite tedious, but yet somehow oddly compelling……….I think I began to understand what made Francis A. Johnson just keep on wrapping (it is said that he worked on the twine ball 4 hours per day every day for 29 years!). Once the ball was completely wrapped, I glued some scrap fabric inside the arm and head openings to cover up the loose ends of twine and make is more smooth and comfortable for wearing.
I then took an old ball cap and covered the logo with a laminated American flag. Using some fairly heavy wire, I cut it to length and then poked it down through the hat and glued it in place. I made the sign from foam board and poster board. I decorated each side as desired and then glued them together, sandwiching the wire in between so that you get the effect of the sign being suspended over the twine ball.
The postcard is made from the remains of an appliance box. I cut it to size, primed it white, then drew the design on and painted and labeled it as shown. We wanted the front to have a real Americana feel to it, highlighting many road trip destinations across the US. The back is made to look like an actual postcard, complete with cancelled stamp. The message features stereotypical vacation sentiments that children might send to their loved ones when travelling. We then used twine (there was a little bit leftover—imagine that!) to attach the front and back of the post card so that my daughter can wear it sandwich-board style. The sides also tie together so that the whole thing does not flap about as she walks.
Together, the two of them are a celebration of the Great American Road Trip and all that there is to see and do as one travels across the United States by car.
The Great American Road Trip costume submitted by Lindsay.