Mr. Messy and Me
October 13, 2008 8:50 AM   Subscribe

This is Mr. Messy. My 5 year-old son wants to be Mr. Messy for Halloween. Any ideas on how to make this costume?
posted by Sassyfras to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You're going to need a lot of pink/red yarn.
posted by The World Famous at 8:56 AM on October 13, 2008

It would be a lot less messy to be the cleaned-up version of Mr. Messy from the book where he's a pink blob with pink parted hair. Maybe that's a bit too meta to explain to a five year-old, though, so I guess I'd second the yarn, or maybe ribbon or sticky tape.
posted by substars at 8:59 AM on October 13, 2008

Silly string! wiki
posted by Rumple at 9:00 AM on October 13, 2008

A roll of foam padding with armholes cut out, a whole bunch of knotted up pink yarn, and a glue gun should do the trick, with a holster for holding cans of silly string.
posted by headnsouth at 9:00 AM on October 13, 2008

if you get a white sweatshirt and sweatpants, you can tangle them in inch-wide ribbon and staple it in place at key points so that it stands out from the fabric. He should wear something under it so the staples don't poke him or make him itch. For the head, just do the same to a hat. If you leave enough slack in the ribbon (and if it's appropriately stiff to begin with, you should be able to achieve that puffed out look.

Be sure to bring a copy of the book with you when you go out so he has something to show the people who have no idea who he is.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 9:03 AM on October 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

Instead of yarn, I would use pink pool noodles. Or pool noodles + yarn for extra messiness.
posted by stefnet at 9:08 AM on October 13, 2008

pink foam?
posted by matteo at 9:11 AM on October 13, 2008

Purple balloons? Round ones for bulk, the long bendy ones for texture?
posted by Artw at 9:14 AM on October 13, 2008

I'd start with a square box, lightweight nylon rope like this, 2 shades of pink paint, a pink long sleeved shirt, a pair of pink leggings or stretch pants, pink and black face paint, and a pair of pink slippers or slip-on shoes.

1. Get the square box and cut the bottom off. Cut a face hole and two arm holes in the front like in this picture. Cutting the arm holes in the front instead of the sides will allow him to move his arms- I learned this when I was a pair of dice one year...

2. Paint the box pink, then use the shade of pink that's closest to the color of the rope to paint loopy, twisty patterns all over it. This should give the rope applique some depth.

3. Take the rope and keep it in one long piece. Make long, twisty loops and tack on the box with hot glue, putting each loop in a random place on the box, until it's densely covered.

4. Treat the leggings, shoes and sleeves of the shirt in a similar way. You could even use acrylic fabric paint medium to turn your box paint into fabric paint to continue the design. Then attach loops of the rope to the garments with hot glue (or a few stitches) again. I'd keep the sleeve loops smaller so he can get his arms in and out of the holes. It might be helpful to attach shorter, individual loops for this part, so just use a lighter to melt the ends of the nylon rope when you cut it up so it won't fray. If you find the rope not flexible enough for this part, you can also try pulling the core out of it.

5. Paint 2 black circles around his eyes and give him black eye lids. Make a big black smile over his mouth. Paint the rest of his face pink. Doing the lighter color last should give you better, cleaner results. Set it with a little powder so he doesn't accidentally smear it.

Obviously, I'm really into Halloween costumes and I'm sure there are many easier solutions out there! I really hope you have fun with it though- it's a really cute idea.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 9:35 AM on October 13, 2008

Don't use silly string! It's highly flammable. Get him by a jack o' lantern and Whoosh!

Use pink dimensional fabric paint to paint pink stripes on some white sweats.

I would use foam sheets from Michael's or Joann's instead of pool noodles, cut into strips, to bigger loops to the costume. They even have foam sheets with adhesive on the back, so no staples are necessary. Or you could use velcro tape or glue made for attaching foam (honestly, I hate that glue. I'd go with the velcro tape).

Use a black Sharpie pen to draw the eyes and mouth on his white sweat shirt.

Make a foam hat with a few of the foam strips, looped, crisscrossed and stapled together.

Maybe pink mittens for the hands.
posted by misha at 9:43 AM on October 13, 2008

On preview, using a big white box and then gluing the foam or using pink paint on that like Thin Lizzy suggests is a great idea. I think this could be a really cute costume!
posted by misha at 9:44 AM on October 13, 2008

I'd do the exterior with pink pipe cleaners (twisted or otherwise tied together).
posted by cashman at 9:45 AM on October 13, 2008

Remember when costumes used to be a mask and then a plastic suit with a picture of the character the mask was reflecting on the chest?

Why not a white sweatshirt/sweatpant combo with a screenprinted Mr. Messy on the chest, then a paper plate mask with cotton balls spraypainted pink and glued all over the face? This is, of course, the "ghetto" version of the idea, but works on a shoestring.
posted by GamblingBlues at 9:53 AM on October 13, 2008

The illustrated Mr Messy's tangles are more or less uniform, but if you go the yarn route (and I think there is much to be said for it - a couple of balls tangled up and roughly stitched onto a t-shirt will be a few dollars at most, be more comfortable for a five-year-old than a box and look pretty funky) I'd advocate two or three balls of different textures, to give the costume itself more of a 'messy' feel. If his hair's long enough, muss it up with a load of scraps of wool in it. Presumably the reason he wants to dress as Mr Messy is that it has a transgressive feel to it. Have him wear odd shoes. Spatter pink facepaint over his face. Basically reverse all of the 'clean and tidy' rules he usually has to abide by.
posted by Acheman at 10:32 AM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

The thing about yarn is the scale. To make it read, you'll need a ton of it and then it will still be fairly limp with lots of little lines. I think the cartoon-i-ness of it would play better if the individual pieces were bigger- like he had been drawn with a big fat sharpie, not a colored pencil. Plus it will save you time and give you some nice poofy body to round out the shape.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 11:44 AM on October 13, 2008

1. Purchase remnant of pink shag rug
2. Trim to about 2x the distance between his knees and shoulders
3. Cut head hole and use staple gun to fashion a serape.
4. Take circle from head hole and cut line from edge to center and use staple gun to create cone hat. Secure under chin with string
posted by carmicha at 12:04 PM on October 13, 2008

OK, this is what I would do...

Get a white or light-colored cheap sweatsuit. Tie dye it in various pinks and purples so that it looks blotchy and messy, but in a bright and cute way. Then I'd take some various pinks of yarn (and/or ribbon and/or strips of remnant fabric) and wrap/sew it all screwy around the sweatsuit. Then, to add bulk, I'd take some pink or purple craft wire and make structured loops in and out of the suit all over. And then I'd go over that again with some yarn. I think the trick is in layers. The more varied the materials you use and the more the suit's got going on, the more the messy in Mr. Messy is going to come through.

And whoever said it above with doing the same to his hair is spot-on. If his hair is too short, however, do the above to an old ball cap.
posted by phunniemee at 12:05 PM on October 13, 2008

Pink pipe cleaners! They are bendy and durable... not sure what to attach them to, though.
posted by wowbobwow at 12:34 PM on October 13, 2008

Best answer: Dunno, lots of good ideas here but I'd just go with a Jumpsuit and wrap around pink tulle (that's tutu fabric) with an odd base stitch here and there to support irratic wrapping.
posted by eatdonuts at 2:03 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

What about those pool noodles? I can't find any individual ones that are pink, but they're probably out there.

Good luck and please post the results if you do this!
posted by TheDukeofLancaster at 10:16 AM on October 17, 2008

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