Mario riding Yoshi costume- In Progress

So last Halloween my son (Brendan) went as Mario for Halloween, but this year we had an idea so grand… we weren’t even sure if it was a possibility.  Initially, he wanted to be Mario again, but instead of seeming like cheapies (…despite how convenient that would have been ) we decided to brainstorm and came up with:

 A Mario riding Yoshi costume! 

I excitedly started drafting some sketches of potential ideas and realized that it would work best if we designed it so my son would be wearing the Mario costume on top, and his legs would function as Yoshi’s legs on the bottom… something like the cowboy/horse-rider ones you’ve probably seen at some point.

Right away, we realized that if we wanted it to look photo-realistic(ish), then we couldn’t just simply purchase a merchandised Yoshi costume and sew them together.  The retail Yoshi costumes have a head-hole cut right into the face, and are much too elongated and human shaped. The worst is the cardboard, triangle dorsal fin monstrosity barely passing for a tail.

This is the Yoshi currently sold in stores… Yikes.

Aside from wanting my son to have a one-of-a-kind costume, I do consider myself a bit of a Nintendo Fangirl… so I quickly decided that if we were going to spend the time to create a Yoshi costume, I wanted to make sure it actually looked legit… squat body, pointed tail, bulbous head and nose… everything.

I decided that the best way to shape the head would probably be to create it with Paper Mache and eventually cover it in fabric.  I gathered balloons, rubber punching bags and roughly approximated the head shape before we created the goop (flour and water mixture) and started creating.  We ended up doing three layers, allowing it to dry for an entire day in between each.  The first was done with newspaper and for the final two layers we used white paper strips (torn into strips, rather than cut, for easier blending).  Click pictures to enlarge:

Next, we purchased fabric, acrylic paints, cotton fill, thread and began work covering the nose using tacky glue, a round-cutter, patience and strategic overlaps to prevent huge bumps/seams.

Next, I covered the backs of the eyes/eyelids with fabric and allowed it to dry before stuffing the backs of them to creat a nice puffy Yoshi eyeball.  Then, I freehanded the eyes/pupils while looking at several examples and using sharpie, grey/blue markers and acrylic paints.  I felt this was a very important step in capturing the “essence” of Yoshi’s oddly cheery face.

After the eys were dry, I took a long length of white fabric and simply began to wrap and glue the fabric over the balloon cheek, running it underneith the head and securing with masking tape while it dried.  I also cut out and painted red an elongated half circle and glued it into place on the bottom as the flap of the mouth, so it can open and close.  This really just adds that final touch that makes the mind recognize the face as being authetically Yoshi. 

And the Yoshi head is complete!  (Minus the orange spines on the back…)

We are nearing completion on the costume, Please see the next post for the Yoshi Body instructions.