Once upon a time in a land far far away, Monroe, North Carolina, there lived a 5 year old boy, Ryden Nievaard. One day Ryden’s mommy, Christine Nievaard, asked a very innocent question. “What do you want to be for Halloween”? Sure that Ryden would say he wanted to wear his Buzz Lightyear costume for the third year in a row, Mommy thought of how to break the bad news about how the costume was too small for Ryden. But Ryden had a dream. Ryden had a very big dream! Ryden dreamed of being Tree Rex from Skylander Giants and marching into his Kindergarten Classroom at Unionville Elementary to shout the ever-so-memorable Tree Rex battle cry….”Be Afraid of the Baaark”! So Ryden’s daddy, Daren Schwenke, made Ryden’s very big dream come true because that is what daddy’s are for.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Mommy: Ryden, What do you want to be for Halloween?
Ryden: Tree Rex!
Mommy: Um, I am not sure I can find a Tree Rex costume. If there is no Tree Rex, what would you like to be?
Ryden: I would like to be Tree Rex.
Mommy: I understand that Ryden. But , if you can’t be Tree Rex then what would be your second choice?
Ryden: Daddy can make it and he can be Crusher and I can be Tree Rex.
Mommy: Let’s think of some other ideas in case daddy can’t make it. Do you have any other ideas?
Ryden: Oh! I know! I can be ……..Tree Rex!!!
Mommy: I will ask Daddy.
Mommy: Daren (daddy), Ryden wants to be Tree Rex for Halloween. Any chance you can make that?
Daddy: Sure, I can make that!
Ryden: Told ya!
Mommy: Are you sure you can make this?
Daren: Yes, I can make it.
Mommy: Should I buy a costume just in case?
Daren: No, I can make it.
Mommy: Can you make it in time for all of the Halloween events and on time for him to wear it to school?
Daddy: When do you need it by?
Mommy: The City of Monroe costume contest is Saturday, October 19th.
Daddy: Yes. That is plenty of time.
Monday, October 7, 2013
Mommy: Halloween events are the weekend of the 19th and the 26th. That means if we want to get to outer banks before November, we would have to go this weekend. Are you able to still make the costume if we are gone from the end of school day Friday and driving home on Monday?
Daddy: How many days will that give me?
Mommy: Well if you started it tomorrow you would have three days this week and 4 days next week but if you do not have it close to done by Thursday next week, I should buy a costume just in case.
Daddy: You don’t need to buy a costume. I can do it.
Wednesday, October 8, 2013
Mommy: I am getting concerned you have not started this costume. We leave on Friday for Outer Banks.
Daddy: Sorry, I have been sick.I will get it done.
Mommy: Why don’t I just buy a costume?
Daddy: I already have it worked in my head how to make it. It will go fast. I have plenty of time.
Mommy: What are you making it out of?
Daddy: I need liquid latex.
Mommy: I didn’t want to spend a hundred dollars on a costume.
Daddy: Fine, I will make it out of chicken wire and Spray foam.
Mommy: I didn’t want it to look horrible either!
Daddy: Trust me.
Mommy: What is he wearing under it?
Daddy: He doesn’t need anything under it. The whole costume is chicken wire and foam.
Mommy: That will not be comfortable. I am getting very concerned now. I should really just get him to change his mind and buy him a costume.
Daddy: I can make it. Just trust me.
Thursday October 9, 2013
Daddy begins to build to build the frame of Tree Rex out of chicken wire. Mommy get’s very concerned about how daddy is going to make this costume comfortable for Ryden. Mommy is also very concerned that this Tree Rex costume is a bigger project than daddy had anticipated.
Mommy: How is that going to be comfortable for Ryden?
Daddy: Shhhh. You will see.
Mommy: Don’t shhh me. I am concerned about the time and concerned this is not going to be comfortable for a 5 year old.
Daddy: Can you just go away?
Mommy: Ryden, I don’t think daddy can make Tree Rex in time. Should we go buy a costume just in case?
Ryden: A Tree Rex costume?
Mommy: Well, no. There are no Tree Rex costumes.
Ryden: But I want to be Tree Rex.
Mommy: I know that, but I don’t know If daddy can get it done. Do you want another costume just in case? That way you have something to wear to the Halloween events and maybe daddy will have it done in time for Halloween.
Ryden: No. I want to be Tree Rex.
Mommy: Ok. But you may not have a costume to go to any events before Halloween or for going to school.
Ryden: What? I can’t wear it to school? I wanted to scare all of the children in my class and say, “Be afraid of the baaaark”!
Mommy: I know sweetie. But I am really concerned this costume will not be done on time.
Ryden: Daddy, will this costume be ready for the events and to wear to school?
Daddy: Yes, Ryden.
Ryden: Daddy said it will be ready.
Tuesday October 15-Friday October 18, 2013
Mommy does much worrying and nagging over the Tree Rex costume. Daddy is tired of hearing all of the complaints and tunes mommy out. Daddy realizes by Wednesday, October 16th, that mommy was right and will not admit it. Daddy makes excuses for why it is taking him so long and blames the materials instead of his procrastination. By Thursday, October 17, Daddy spends the entire day and night in the garage working on Tree Rex. Mommy once again threatens to go buy a costume and is now mad about how much money has been spent on making Tree Rex, especially since mommy is convinced Tree Rex will not be completed on time.
Daddy makes the head out of an old bicycle helmet Ryden used to wear. The branch horns on top of Tree Rex’s head are farmed out of chicken wire and then sculpted using spray foam from a can. Daddy sculpts the foam by spraying the foam down and then wrapping saran wrap around the foam to keep the foam from expanding too far and to give the details of the bark. This same process is used for the body, bottom half of the legs, shoulders, arms and hands. Daddy does not sleep Thursday night and does not sleep Friday night.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Mommy: Are you kidding me?
Daddy: I’ve been up all night. I will be done.
Mommy: It is 3 hours until we have to be at the Monroe Halloween event for the costume contest and nothing is even painted!
Daddy: Yelling at me doesn’t make me faster.
Mommy: I knew I should have bought a costume.
Mommy: Don’t shhhhh me.
Mommy: Ryden, I don’t think you are going to this costume contest today.
Ryden: Is daddy done?
Mommy: No he is not and I don’t think he will be.
Three hours later, Mommy is forcing pieces into the car while they are still wet from paint. Daddy continues to assemble things as we drive to the Monroe Costume Contest. We arrive late but early enough to get Ryden signed up before they bring the children on stage. Mommy runs to sign Ryden up while daddy continues to work on the costume while at the contest. Ryden wins first prize for his age category. Daddy then sleeps and rests all week.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Mommy: Oh My God! You have to be kidding me!
Daddy: I made it better but I am out of foam again.
Mommy: Why would you go all week doing nothing to this costume and then rip it apart the day before we are supposed to be at another Halloween event?
Daddy: I am getting faster, it will be done.
Friday, October 25, 2013
After staying up another night, daddy does not have the costume ready in time for the trunk or treat happening in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Mommy is furious that daddy completely ripped the costume apart and yells at daddy every hour on the hour until they arrive late with another wet costume. All the people love Ryden’s costume and everywhere we go people ask to take pictures with him.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
We arrive late to Historic Rural Hills’s Halloween event because daddy modified the costume AGAIN over night. Mommy cannot stop glaring at daddy but is happy daddy added the lights to the eyes and the laser at the end of Tree Rex’s arm. Christmas lights were wired to batteries for the eyes and laser. Ryden is again admired and asked to take pictures everywhere we go and wins the Most Spooktacular Award at Rural Hill. Daddy finally gives the go ahead to take pictures and enters this contest!
The Tree Rex costume is 100 percent home made. The materials for this costume included, Spray insulation foam, chicken wire, pants from the garage sale box, rubber bands, wire, Christmas lights, plastic Easter eggs, Mountain Dew bottle, cheese cloth, soft foam, spray adhesive, sun glass lenses, an old bicycle helmet, batteries, gloves and spray paint.