Engineer & Entertain

Ideas I grapple with

Archive for the tag “halloween”

Hello Sweetie

My wife enjoys Doctor Who and easily cosplays as River Song.

She also resembles a teacher who ignores the liability that comes with field trips.

For a Halloween present I made River Song’s journal.

The result I am hoping for.

I used TravelsAtNight’s video for guidance for making craft foam resemble leather.

My supplies include

  • Navy blue craft foam
  • Journal from Barnes & Noble
  • Blue Uniball Jetstream Pen

    My embossing tool

  • Blue Sharpie
  • Iron
  • Ruler
  • Foam brush
  • Dura Clear Gloss Varnish
  • TARDIS Journal Template

The cotton setting was too hot and the silk setting was too cold. Either setting would work if the iron was moved fast or slow enough. Rayon was the Goldilocks setting.

In my first attempt I used spray adhesive to adhere the template to the foam. I then ran the back of the pen over the template to emboss the foam. This did not work. The paper tore and the lines were very faint.

Instead I used the template as a scale drawing and laid out the lines with a blue ink ball point pen and ruler.

The back of my pen traced over the ink lines to emboss the foam.

The back of the pen repeatedly traced over the lines until the foam was embossed.

A blue sharpie went over the embossing. This covers any stray pen ink lines and adds contrast.

Crayola Markers do not work as the ink rubs right off.

A foam brush applied Dura Clear Gloss Varnish to seal the foam. After the pieces dried, spray adhesive was applied on the back of the foam and pressed onto the book. Weights were used to press the foam onto the book until the glue dried.

I also attempted to create the detailing on the spine with the foam. I was not satisfied with my results and ultimately ran out of time to fiddle with it more.

I am pleased with the final results, but I failed to take pictures of the journal. My wife did take a picture though and it is viewable here. I considered putting spoilers inside, but looking inside is against the rules. I would not want to ruin the Crash of the Byzantium.


Dressing Up

Stranger danger can never truly exist with six degrees of separation. Yet we tell children not to take candy from strangers (even though strangers have the best candy). This is what makes Halloween so great; you are encouraged to ignore social conventions. You may take candy from strangers. You may wear ridiculous costumes. Females may dress like ladies or tramps. You may dunk your head in a tub full of water and apples . . . I’m actually a little confused by that one.

Apple bobbing aside, my favorite aspect of Halloween is the costumes. Yet, for some, coming up with a costume can cause undue anguish. Over the years I have suggested costumes for Halloween. One year I even created a flow chart. Like a long running sitcom, I am out of ideas, and much like a long running sitcom my cop out is a clip show. Listed below in Trivial Pursuit-like categories are some of my costumes of Halloweens past. I have applied photos where I can, but there are not many as it turns out I hate memories.

Art & Literature:

  • Snoopy: As a little kid I was fascinated by dogs and the Red Baron. It seemed like an obvious choice when I was 5.
  • Waldo: Twice. In both elementary school and college I wore blue jeans, a red and white knit cap, a red and white shirt, and a cane. The second time around, the cane had a sword in it. I am not sure Waldo’s cane had a sword in it, but you can never be too prepared.
  • Gambit: The X-Man threw playing cards at Sentinel robots to destroy them. I threw playing cards at people and annoyed them. Sounds about right.


  • Ghostbusters: When I was 6 I went around saying my name was Egon. My life’s goal at that age was to become a Ghostbuster. Although I no longer fit into my Venkman jumpsuit, I realize not too much has changed. My college chem notes do not refer to valence shell electrons but rather, I have doodles about proton packs.
  • Solid Snake: This costume is easily one of my favorites as I have found memories of the Metal Gear games on the NES and Playstation. In addition to molding my own grenades and dying my own tactical vests, I created a suspender system to let me wear a cardboard box when not hiding in it to avoid enemy guards. That year, SOG and I won a Halloween costume contest for SOG & Benji in a box.

That year, we won Sexiest Costume for SOG & Snake in a box.

  • Groucho Marx: This was my cheapest costume. I donned a suit I already owned, grabbed a cheap cigar, and applied a grease paint mustache. I went around hitting on women and insulting everyone else.

Science & Technology

  • iPod Silhouette: I wore all black and dance to the Spice Girls while having a PowerPoint presentation of different colors flashing. By adding an iPod to the outfit it became a costume rather than something I do on a Saturday night.


  • Upside Down M&M: My grandma made an M&M costume for a variety of my cousins. I wanted one, but I wanted the M sewn upside down. My grandmother indulged me. They are great for that.
  • Operation Board: I cut out felt pieces to match those found on an Operation board and velcroed them to a set of scrubs. I was actually trying to study for an anatomy test, but it ended up being a costume once I learned no one should have a glowing nose.

Not a great shot of the costume, but a great shot of Benji on T. Rex dressed as Benji

I am not sure if this will serve as inspiration for costume ideas, but the last photo has certainly given me some inspiration if you know what I mean . . . I’m going to go as myself.  Well, my evil twin.  I just need to grow a handlebar mustache.  If you’ll excuse me, my schedule just filled up.

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