It all starts with a idea. Mine started as a dream actually, a few years back. I woke up from a deep sleep with the idea for Uncle Samtron 2000. I didn’t know which year or which parade we would build it for, but I knew someday, we would build it.
Like most of our costumes, this one began with boxes. All the boxes for Uncle Samtron 2000 were picked up for free at Sam’s Club. A “Scope” box here, a microwave popcorn box there. You never know what will be useful.
Some of the boxes don’t need much massaging; they tell you what they should be. Mason grabbed the yellow one because “it looks like a helmet.” The matching Scope boxes became shoulder pads. The boxes were laid around on the floor and moved around until the shape began to make sense. Then, with a box cutter and copious amounts of duct tape, you go to work.
We didn’t find a single box that would work for the chest, so we made one by using two box lids and some cardboard spacers in the middle.
The headset was designed to sit on top of the body box, to keep the weight off of Mason’s head and to keep it from twisting and turning.
Spare pieces of cardboard become wings. A smaller, spare box becomes a chest plate. “Hey, we could poke holes in that box, put suckers in it, and throw them out at the parade.” Sounds good! For what it’s worth, rolls of duct tape come in different colors. Red duct tape highlights the blue spray-painted wings. Blue duct tape holds the chest piece in place. Silver spray paint gives the cardboard a metallic look.
“Hey Dad, we could stick suckers in his head, too!” Why not?
A single box of microwave popcorn becomes two boots, with a little white spray paint (to cover the logos) and white duct tape (to hold things in place). I wouldn’t want to run a marathon in them, but for a 10 minute parade, they’ll do. While the boots dry, we cut out and paint more pieces of cardboard.
Finished parts begin piling up on the fireplace. At this point it’s hard to tell if the finished product is going to look like a robot or not. You never know if it’s going to come together until everything’s assembled.
With some of the paint still wet, we throw Mason’s costume into the back of the truck along with Morgan’s ’57 Chevy costume and head up to the FreedomFest Parade. It’s not until there that we see the costume 100% assembled. I think we nailed it!
The costume immediately attracted the attention of a Channel 9 reporter, who filmed Mason walking around and interviewed him about the parade.
The walk through the parade route is hot and difficult. Mason stumbles a few times with the big, clonky shoes and suckers stuck in the chest plate continually fall out. Mason takes turns waving to crowd, throwing suckers out to kids, and gulping from a bottle of ice water. It’s hot in that costume and I know it. After walking in front of the judges, we make our way to the shade. Mason can’t sit in the costume, but we at least get the helmet and metal dryer hose off his arms.
After the parade is over, the judges meet and decide the winners for each age category. First place in the 9-12 age group … MASON O’HARA!
Ten minutes after the voting, we were about to dump the costume into a dumpster when pleas from my nephew saved it. The robot costume was saved from the trash and ended up in the back of Granny’s van.
EDIT: Check out the clip, starting around 1:40: