How I made the costume: I live for Halloween. So for me the process of finding a costume starts as early as November 1. This year I actually did three different costumes. I only decided to be E.T. at the last possible moment. Which adds a element of panic, but oddly enough I thrive on it. I began by watching the film again, as it’s been a really long, long time since I last saw it. I am artistic by nature, so for me to paint E.T.’s face on my own was not a challenge.
I found a YouTube video with step by step instructions. I did add a few touches of shading and contouring, to make it more to my liking. Now I used acrylic paint, which I would not suggest. Because it can cause you to break out. I have tough skin, and I had a budget to stick to. I would recommend buying face paint, I went ahead and purchased some blue contacts for about $15. That ended up being a great deal, because I was able to use those contacts for another costume, I had planned for this year.
I found E.T.’s hand, on Amazon for $11, it has an LED light at the tip of the pointer finger that lights up when touched. I then created out of brown paper bags the other hand and feet, which I then attached with rubber bands. It just was not enough to look like E.T., I had to go further. So this is when thinking outside the box, brought me to the conclusion to get in the box. I cut out some holes in the front of a cardboard box, to make it appear to be a crate. I also did a large hole on the bottom to fit myself through, finished off by painting the box to look more like the color in the movie.
The upper half of my body was to be E.T., the lower half would be Elliott. I had purchased an Inflatable Doll for another costume, but when that didn’t pan out. I decided to use that Doll, as Elliott. I found a red hoodie at the Thrift Store for about $3. It did have some type of logo, so I printed a photo of E.T. and ironed it on over the logo. I then printed a picture of Elliott’s face affixed it to a cardboard and then glued it to the doll.
Since the lower half of my body would be Elliott, I had to do something about the Inflatable dolls legs. I decided to roll them up and taped it down with duct tape. That worked like a charm. Then I repurposed two rolls of paper towels, painted them in black and adhered them to the back of the crate, to represent the bicycle handles. I had to buy some PVC pipes, cut to size at Home Depot for $6. I needed them to keep Elliott connected to the box. While there I saw a head light that flashed red when pressed. It was $20, but it added the right touch to the heart of E.T.. I then used a bungee type cord to keep Elliott and E.T. together. Lastly I made a cardboard spelling game, that E.T. used to call home and a bag of reese’s pieces. Every time I completed a prop, it got me more and more excited to see my vision coming to life. I had never done an illusion costume and it truly was out of this world (wink, wink).
What reaction it got: This was truly a crowd pleaser. Who doesn’t know who E.T. is? I had tons of people at my desk, wanting to take pictures. I felt like a celebrity. But wait, I was a celebrity. I must remain in character after all. People would just stare at my face, to see where my nose, mouth were. They used words like insane and phenomenal, how I nailed it.
Now mind you this was my second costume of the day. I used my lunch hour to apply the make-up. It took me about 50 minutes to complete. I was then running around the office all day, to give the illusion of riding a bike. I did skits with my Bosses daughter who played the part of Gertie, and held flowers in her hands. If only I just had that magic to make them die and bring them back.
What was funny: I had a friend throw down a trail of Reese’s Pieces as I followed behind eating them. When I ran in the costume to act as though I was riding in the bike, that was making everyone laugh. On my way home, I let my hair down and left on the make-up. I could see the stares from the other cars. I looked like E.T., when Gertie dressed him up like a woman.
What was difficult: The most difficult thing was the time frame. It was a pretty complex costume to do in such little time. I basically decided to do E.T. only one week before Halloween. The toughest part was attaching Elliott to stay in the box.
What was inspiring about making it: What inspires me is that Halloween was my Mother’s favorite Holiday. She died the day before Halloween, 10 years ago. I feel her spirit with me most when I am creating my costumes. She is the motivation behind it all. I also have a legion of social media fans that tune in to Facebook or Instagram to see, just what I came up with every year on Halloween. That brings a joy to my heart knowing that I bring smiles to their faces.
I did win a contest at work for “Most Original Costume”.