My wife Lisa was inspired by a costume she saw at a Halloween costume party back in 2013. It was there that she saw a woman who used a witchï’s kettle to create a pot of gold costume. As she, her father, George, and I have been doing group costumes for Halloween since 2013, we thought we could build on the lady’s idea and show how to find the pot of gold (follow the rainbow), and the fellow who guards it (green man with shillelagh).
The pot of gold is a plastic tub about 22 inches in diameter, with the bottom cut out. Rainbow suspenders are wired into the pot, thus freeing Lisa from having to hold the pot all night long. We then cut out gold shamrocks from contact paper and stuck them on the outside of the pot. As the Halloween season progressed, we spray-painted the pot gold and replaced the gold shamrocks with green ones. Lisa wore a black top and leggings, rainbow knee socks, and a gold tulle tutu to which gold plastic coins were attached (to simulate piles of coins). On her head she wore a large coin hat: a Styrofoam disc painted gold with a gold contact paper silhouette of the queen attached. A piece of elastic was attached to the disc. This went under her chin to support the headpiece.
The leprechaun costume started with a store-bought suit, to which we added a pipe, shillelagh (piece of sycamore with a duct tape ball attached), a Today I’m Irish necklace, and a beard. The beard began life as a brown hillbilly type, but was trimmed and dyed orange for this occasion. In addition, shoe buckles were made by painting small pieces of cardboard gold. They slid easily over the tongue of the black shoes George already owned. He carried a green light-up bucket full of gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins, which he handed out liberally to all who complimented his sharp-dressed look. George made quite a few friends that night. He also learned that a video of him was Tweeted out by a local DJ!
The rainbow man dressed in a blue morph suit with a belt that had poly pillow stuffing affixed with glue to simulate clouds. On his feet are blue clean boots, the type worn by cable guys when they enter your house. A rainbow mask disguised his identity.
The rainbow itself is made from a 4 by 6-foot sheet of plexiglass. The hardest part was cutting two arcs, as plexiglass wants to be cut in straight lines. A scroll saw was used for the cutting, resulting in some unintentional melting and cursing. The next hardest thing was spray painting the insides of the arcs with the 7 colors of the rainbow, using a poster board mask somewhat like a curvy comb, which allows one color to be applied a time. The two arcs are held together with 4-inch blocks of wood, with cutouts to allow battery-powered LED lights to pass through. The top and bottom of the rainbow are covered with plexiglass strips of the proper color. One end of the rainbow is covered with the pillow stuffing cloud material; the other has plastic coins like the pot of gold.
The first contest we entered was sponsored by a company that runs painting classes for amateurs in the Pittsburgh PA area (Paint Monkey). We certainly were not the best painters of pumpkins, but our costume took first prize. We then participated in a Silence of the Lambs party at our Soldiers and Sailors Hall and even though we were not at all scary like the movie, we won that one, also.
Our biggest win followed, at a street party in Shadyside, one of the fashionable districts of Pittsburgh. The party raised money for local animal shelters. One of the sponsors, Dos Equis, donated all money raised from their sales of discounted beer. This resulted in a large crowd of happy people, more than a few of whom also felt more Irish than usual. This helped us to take first prize again.
We entered four more contests, which resulted in two third place showings and two honorable mentions. It was a lot of fun and very gratifying to have so many people tell us how much they enjoyed our costumes and the generous leprechaun.