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.