When Halloween rolls around and you’re the parent of a baby girl, you’ll hear all sorts of cutesy ideas for costumes.
“A bag of jellybeans!”
“A bumble bee!”
Each time someone said this to me, I felt like saying “Hi, I’m Justin. It’s clear that we haven’t met before.”
So, what was Anneka’s first Halloween costume? None other than Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road.
Let’s digress a bit about the movie before we dive into the costume.
I saw the preview and immediately dismissed it as a mind-numbing series of ‘splosions based on a cult classic that didn’t need revival. Not a single review I read from professional or amateur critics changed my mind as they raved about the cinematography and practical effects. Then one mentioned that the filmmakers consulted the author of The Vagina Monologues to create strong female characters. I’ve never read The Vagina Monologues, but I figured that I might be able to see if the consultation resulted in bad-ass female characters. Sure enough, there were some great female characters – not every one of them, but that’s just like real life, right?
The action sequences were actually the least-interesting part of the movie. The sparse bits of dialogue and demonstrations of Immortan Joe’s hold on his people – right down to the cult-like fervor – fascinated me. And I loved the revelations that Furiosa had played him in a long con. Even Immortan Joe seemed to reveal a sentimentality, while some of his War Boys revealed a greater humanity lurking under their obedience. There are lots of shifts in the characters, which no reviewer really discussed. It’s a good movie, and not because of the action scenes.
Back to Baby’s First Halloween Costume
OK, so Sarah was game to do the Mad Max theme. I knew, though, that there was really no way to make a 10-month old girl wear a fake prosthetic arm, and I was certain she wouldn’t tolerate a smear of black makeup on her forehead. So how could I possibly transform her into Imperator Furiosa?
By making her a kick-ass war machine that she could drive while sending every other 10-month-old’s jellybean/princess/Picachu costume straight to Valhalla.
I hit a bunch of thrift and second-hand stores, hoping to find a battered stroller that I could transform into a Furiosa-style war rig. I struck out over a period of two months of thrift crawling.
Nothin’. My friends at Tres Geek gave me the idea to take a push car instead – I hadn’t considered that, figuring Anneka wouldn’t be big enough.
But I found the perfect car in the Avigo Mini Cooper Push Buggy.
So how do you take a cute Mini Cooper S and turn it into something a young Imperator Furiosa would drive.
Well, first, you take a look at our garage. No actual vehicles are parked in our garage. It’s really more of a workout dungeon (complete with kettlebells, a heavy bag, Olympic barbell, pull-up bar, etc.), bike shop, storage dump and … Halloween costume shop. This is where I’ve Dremmeled, drilled, hot-glued, bondo-ed, soldered and sliced all sorts of cool costumes into existence: astronauts, Vikings, Jedi and more.
I looked at all the spare bike, computer and miscellaneous parts and had a few visions. Fulfilling these visions would also require some primer and glow-in-the-dark spray, which meant a trip to Ace Hardware.
First, I masked the necessary parts off before spraying the primer. I took the better part of a week to let everything dry well. I also began working on the centerpiece of the war rig … a fake rotary cannon made of an aluminum metal box, painted sections of PVC pipe and a fake bullet belt.
I also added an assortment of bike sprockets, a gauge from a floor pump that I accidentally had detonated (don’t ask), a skull for the steering wheel (a must if you watch the movie carefully) and some vinyl that I cut into the shape of skeletal arm bones (ditto). I also aged it with a paintbrush and some leftover barbecue ash.
The results were pretty damn satisfactory.
Anneka/Furiosa was absolutely stoked over her ride. She gawked at other costumed people, smiling and glaring in-character the whole night. She did pause to cry a few times, but only when I had my gas mask on.
My costume included the aforementioned gas mask, along with a really cool vintage fencer’s vest, an old pair of Alpinestars motorcycle boots and some discarded soccer shin guards. Sarah turned to her favorite pair of tights (and mine, too), her awesome Puma boots and a great pair of goggles. I had goggles for the little person, but she refuses to deal with eyewear at this point.
All in all, a great Halloween success!