Adventures & Insights

One man's adventures in the physical and intellectual worlds…

‘B’ Is For Bender!

Three weeks ago I received an invitation to the celebration of a friend’s 30th year of excellence and to mark the occasion he had decided that there would be a fancy dress party. It would be hosted at a bowls club near the city and the theme for costumes was simple – something beginning with ‘B’. After some thought (Bowser, Buzz Lightyear, Boba Fett, Bodyguard, Buccaneer, Batman and Charles Bartowski were just a few ideas), I settled on one character who I thought would be unique to the party – Bender. If you’re unfamiliar with Bender, he’s a character in a TV show called Futurama and he looks like this:

And so, armed with three week’s notice, I set to work. Construction began slowly – first came the planning; brainstorming materials and process and scouring the internet for any and all ideas and how-tos that might already exist. Luckily, Bender’s design is quite simple and before I knew it, my enthusiasm had taken over and I was on my way.

My basic materials were rubbish bins, styrofoam, papier mache and spray paint. I started with Bender’s head as I figured it would be the most difficult and really; it’s the focal point of the costume. All told it was the most difficult part of the creation, but I’m very pleased with how it turned out. Strangely enough, while I got the head right the first time, the “easier” component took three attempts before I was happy with the result.

The body should have been a simple thing to produce. And by rights it was. If I had been 5’5″ and weighed only 80 kilos (176 pounds) instead of being the 6’1″, 95 kilo (210 pound) behemoth that I am, the first incarnation of Bender would have been great. Heck, even the second would have satisfied my hopes. As it turns out though, there was to be no opening door on the front to make this Bender costume totally complete. Maybe Bender 2.0 will support this feature…

And so I toiled, cut, scraped, cursed, mached, stapled and painted my way to my very first hand-made fancy dress costume. There was something to be done almost every day, whether it was actual work or just running to my local Bunnings or Lincraft to seek out more supplies and ideas. Finally (and right on time) it was ready. The multiple fittings I’d carried out throughout the process had me in a very comfortable place and I packed the costume into my car and excitedly made my way to the venue.

I parked almost across the road from the bowls club and jumped out of the car, eager to gear up and make my entrance. Unfortunately, the hill I had parked on made dressing a little difficult. I’m not sure how many of you have ever tried putting on shoes when you can’t bend at the waist, but I’ve always known I’m nowhere near as flexible as I should be. After about 15 minutes of struggling with my costume I accepted the fact that I would need assistance and I humbly made my way, half-costumed, to the party.

The good thing about friends though, is that even though they’ll laugh hysterically at you as you struggle in the street, they’ll always be there to help you when you need it. All in all, the party was a complete success thanks to the great people who attended. Even some of the people who weren’t there for the party congratulated me on my outfit.


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15 responses to “‘B’ Is For Bender!

  1. thoughtsappear August 25, 2011 at 12:53 am

    Sooooo…are you available to make my Halloween costume?

    • Christian Emmett August 25, 2011 at 7:54 am

      The fact that we don’t really celebrate Halloween in this corner of the World pretty much clears out my calendar for the period. So yes, I am available. Just please don’t ask me to sew something – yet. I might be ready for that next year. ;)

  2. The Edmonton Tourist August 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Damn that is an awesome costume! You missed your calling!

  3. educlaytion August 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I know a lot of people with the ability to be as creative as this but they never pick such cool topics that I want to try too! Bender is fantastic and you did an amazing job on that thing. Sell them. btw, the Futurama character is named after the troubled John Bender from The Breakfast Club.

    • Christian Emmett August 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      Thanks Clay, I was quite happy to get my hands dirty on this little project and am very pleased with how it turned out. I could definitely do it more often. If you seriously want to give this costume a go, I’m more than happy to share my lessons learned with you. You have my email!

      And thanks for the Professorly education too – I had no idea that there was a connection between those two characters! You never cease to surprise, my friend.

  4. Chase McFadden August 9, 2011 at 8:15 am

    That is awesome! Did you go on a bender as Bender?

    • Christian Emmett August 9, 2011 at 8:27 am

      Thanks Chase! :)

      If I hadn’t driven to the party I probably would have – you know that beer is his source of energy! Although, if the video of me trying to bowl in costume ever surfaces, you’ll think I’d already had a few too many…

  5. bearyweather August 9, 2011 at 12:59 am

    That is fantastic! Lots of hard work paid off.
    Amazing … I think you have found a new “trade” if you ever want to switch careers. ;-)

    It looks like it would have been hard to sit or walk … how long did you stay in costume?

    • Christian Emmett August 9, 2011 at 8:22 am

      Thanks Beary! Honestly, I have to say that I had a lot of fun making the costume, it was very gratifying and the thought did occur to me that I could do this more often. I was overwhelmed by delusions of grandeur as I imagined myself making all sorts of fancy dress outfits. You never know what might happen!

      I was in fancy dress for about an hour and a half, maybe two hours before I decided that it was time to sit down…

  6. Freda August 8, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I want an autographed photo!!! It rocks!!!

  7. Freda August 8, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    I have to say:
    It was the place to ‘B,’ this “B-themed” “B-day” bash;
    One got to be Bender without having to bend…
    LOL – that is a great costume :-)

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