Dressing up is a huge thing for my son. Not many days go by where he hasn’t dressed up for at least part of the time in a fancy dress costume. He even has a special rail for his outfits, bringing out the favourites – Batman, Spiderman and the piece de resistance, the Halloween Vampire – at least a few times a week. If he’s ever playing dress-up at a girl friend’s house, more often than not he will slip on a princess dress and maybe even a bit of eyeshadow, much to everyone else’s surprise and amusement. Myself and his dad, of course, don’t bat an eyelid now. It’s almost what we expect to see when there’s a Frozen dress in the offing. So he loves a bit of sparkle – who doesn’t? But that’s an issue for another time. As today, it’s school fancy dress day and I’ve spent a bit of time this week making him into the Empire State Building, with a cuddly King Kong.
The theme was people from the 1930s – how hard is that?! It’s for a school calendar, where the children dress up on a theme according to the month their birthday falls in. The overall theme is people from history, and first born’s April group were given the 30s.
When my husband suggested King Kong (it was made in 1933) we showed our son some photos and he went for it straight away. I didn’t really want to shell out for a gorilla suit, so had a quick look on Pinterest for ideas. Before you all groan, hear me out! I’m a bit of a convert to the fun of making fancy dress costumes since first born started school. I never would have said I was “one of those mothers” who spends hours sewing, cutting and sticking imaginative outfits for their kids. It’s always just seemed more sensible to buy something cheap and cheerful instead. The thing with this is though, firstly you can’t always buy an outfit that you want cheaply, and secondly, well, making your own is a bit of a laugh, and as my son is so into arts and crafts, it gives us a project to work on together at the weekend. Remember, he is five and gets up very early, so there’s usually a lot of time to fill where all he wants to do is make stuff out of paper, card and Sellotape, so why not put that to good use?!
Armed with a cardboard box (thanks Corinne!) and some grey card (which my mum bought when we were out for tea last weekend and she spied the stationer’s next door), we set to work.
The Empire State Building part is basically a tabard made from two rectangles of cardboard and some florist’s ribbon. I cut the rectangles from the corrugated card, then cut slightly larger ones from the grey card and stuck them on top. If you have grey card which is fairly thick, you could probably miss this stage and just use the one piece. To make the windows, I cut out a load of small rectangles from black sugar paper and just glued them on in rows with a Pritt Stick.
I guess the beauty of having a child that’s so into making stuff means you always have these things on hand when you really need them! Give my son a pad of coloured paper and some scissors and he’s happy.
The hat was the same principle, with thick and thin card glued together and black paper cut out for the windows and stuck one top. I then stapled it to a grey card band to fit round his head. As you might see from the photos, I did have to cut down the width of there tower a little to allow it to stay upright on the band! These things always take a few attempts. That Cat in the Hat hat I made last year almost broke me, getting it to fit exactly right on his head!
Back to King Kong – teamed up with the toy gorilla, I think he looked pretty smart. Even better though would be if he had a small blonde doll in the hands of King Kong, and a mini plane stuck to the hat. I just didn’t get round to those details!
Have a look at these photos to see how it was made.