When I set out to make this Barrel of Monkeys costume, I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull it off. Ultimately, I wanted the costume to be original. So, I decided I wanted a barrel of unique monkeys. I started be constructing the barrel. I used PVC pipes to make a rectangular prism. I spent a lot of time trying to come up with a way to make the barrel round. One day my seven year old granddaughters came up with the answer – unintentionally, of course.
We went to a local discount store, and the girls wanted hula hoops. The lightbulb went off, and I purchased two hula hoops for the girls and two for the barrel. Using duct tape and hot glue, I attached the hula hoops to the outside of the PVC pipes. I then painted posterboard to look like wood. I cut the posterboard to make it look like individual boards and hot glued them to the hula hoops. I used white butcher paper to make two signs that read “Barrel of Monkeys.” I had my daughter laminate the signs, and I hung them on the barrel. I decided to go for a whimsical take on the concept, so I a used hot glue to attach the signs at an angle on the barrel. I then attached wheels to the PVC pipes so the granddaughter that was in the barrel would be able to push the barrel rather than carry it.
To create the monkeys inside the barrel, I used different colors of felt. I created my own pattern so the monkeys and tried to give each monkey an individual look while maintaining continuity in the design. For example, the blue monkey’s legs are up on the barrel and his tongue is sticking out. The orange monkey has buck teeth and is holding a banana, the red monkey has a crown and tie, and the pink monkey is bottom up in the barrel. I was aiming for individuality among the monkeys.
To complete the look, I had to create costumes for my granddaughters. Ashtyn is a little taller so I decided to have her in the barrel. I made a hood using felt to give her the same face as the other monkeys in the barrel. I used a sheer black cloth for the eyes so she could see. I purchased a purple turtleneck to cover Ashtyn’s neck. Since she pushed the barrel from within, her hands were never seen. To finish the look, and keep her looking girlie, I added false eyelashes and a large bow.
I made my other granddaughter, Savanna, the monkey on the outside of the barrel. I bought red tights and a turtleneck to cover her arms and legs. I made the hood in the same way I made Ashtyn’s, using felt for most of it and sheer material for the eyes. Once again I used false eyelashes and a bow to complete the look. For the body of the monkey, I made a felt bodysuit that snapped at the shoulders. Since she is a skinny little thing, I made two pillows to add the illusion of weight to her belly. I used felt to make the tail and added another bow to the tail. I used red gloves for her hands. For the feet, I cut the thumbs off a pair of red adult gloves and slit them down the side. I then stitched them back up, creating an elongated effect. I used hot glue to attach the redesigned gloves to a pair of cheap flip-flops so Savanna could walk in the feet . To keep the shoes on her feet, I dyed a piece of elastic red and attached it so it went across the back of her foot.
The girls looked adorable in their costume! They used sand buckets for trick-or-treating so that the toy theme was carried out in every aspect. They won first place in two different costume contests in our area and loved every bit of the attention (truth be told, I loved it too!).