18 June 2012

Halloween planning - part 1

I've been looking at costume ideas for Halloween. On the Saturday morning closest to Halloween, my local suburban shopping centre (including the salon where I get my nails done, the Lifeline op shop, Building Society branch and Subway restaurant that I've mentioned before) has a Halloween themed day. I went there in boy mode last year, and saw adults and children dressed up and decided that this year, I really want to go en femme.

But I also want to be in keeping with the Halloween theme. I want to present myself as a woman dressed up for Halloween. I've been working on the idea of going as Tinkerbell (currently my favourite option), a Disney princess or perhaps an angel, but with the twist of doing a pregnant version of whichever I did. I guess that I might be either presenting myself as a pregnant woman dressed up for Halloween, or a woman dressed up as a pregnant character for Halloween. I'm not sure which. :P

I've done a little bit of playing with making a realistic pregnant bulge using padding, foam and body shapers, but even when I made the bulge about full-term size, all of the padding (not counting the body shapers) weighed in at about 250 grams, and I wasn't convinced that it would work with so little weight. I'm not convinced that I'll move right without a reasonable amount of weight there, so I decided to look at how to make a more realistic simulation of a pregnant belly.

How do you make a relatively realistic simulation of a baby belly? I figured that the first thing to do is to get a doll about the size of a newborn that will curl up to the foetal position, and fill it with something dense enough to give it a bit of weight, put it in some sort of bag, then fill the bag around it to add a bit more weight and round out the overall shape.

My first thought was to use wheat, as is used in microwaveable heat packs. The first thing I did was to ask my wife where our heat pack (which hadn't been used in several years) was. When she got it out, I immediately realised that it was mouldy. A quick google, some discussion on Facebook and the wheat pack went in the bin. I discovered that rock salt was the preferred filler for heat packs now. A bit more googling and I discovered that the best way to get rock salt was as swimming pool salt, costing about $8 for a 25kg bag from a hardware store!

The only real problem with using salt is that it not only attracts water, but enough moisture will dissolve some of the salt, giving off a salty smell, so I need the salt to end up inside a waterproof bag, and to damp the sound of salt grains moving against each other and to stop a plastic bag sliding around, I need to put the waterproof bag inside a fabric bag.

My first thought was to find out how much a replacement bladder to go inside a football would cost, but that idea went out the window very quickly once I tried a couple of sports stores and discovered that not only is it impossible to buy a bladder, but all of the modern balls are one-piece plastic things with no replaceable bladder.

And so it was that I went to a hardware store to buy a bag of salt, and to a few op shops looking for a doll about the size of a newborn, some sort of waterproof bag, and some sort of fabric bag.

I ended up finding a child's beach ball at an op shop for the waterproof bag ~ I can cut it open, fill it then tape it shut. After looking at cushion covers for the fabric bag, I ended up finding a stuffed toy hippo (merchandising from the movie Madagascar), the body of which is about the right size and shape for the fabric bag, but it would need the padding, head, arms, legs and tail removed and sewing back up. I didn't buy it at the time, but went back the next day and got it.

At another shop, I found a doll. I was originally intending to get a hollow plastic doll, but had realised that the hollow ones have rigid arms and legs and a body that would not curve into the foetal position. When I found a soft-bodied doll about the right size, at first I wasn't going to get it. I walked out of the store, then changed my mind and went back in and bought it.

In the next instalment, you'll get to see my mutilation of the doll. :P

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