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Halloween Muppetry!

Halloween Muppetry!

It’s been a crazy year since last October! As many of you know, Hurricane Sandy put a damper on last year’s Halloween Parade plans, and for the first time in its history, the NYC Greenwich Village Halloween Parade was cancelled. As a result, these guys (and their friends) had to spend a year in a tiny Manhattan closet, waiting for their big moment…

I spent most of October 2012 working out how to make a muppet which resulted in these tiny muppet model heads. Once I figured out the pattern for each head, it was just a simple task of enlarging them to the correct scale… then figuring out how to work with foam and the elusive Jim Henson Stitch. Simple.

Muppet Costumes on the SofaThe Muppets were nearly complete when everything in New York shut down.  Including the airports.  The problem being, I was in Portland, OR. Turns out I was stressed for no reason because the parade was soon cancelled… AND it turns out that Portland is a pretty cool town!

Big changes soon followed. We packed the muppet heads into a friend’s closet, and our belongings into a big yellow Penske truck and drove our lives out west!

After settling into the new house and adopting a tiny mix dog-slash-kitten-slash-squirrel-slash-bunny named Spruce, we made our plans to return to New York for the 2013 Halloween Parade – after all, it was the 40th anniversary!

I love a challenge, so I waited until 1 week before this year’s parade before doing a stock-take and working out what was left to do for each of the 12 muppets. Four were totally complete by this point, so only a little bit of work left! After 5 days of furious sewing in my new Portland Studio, I stuffed all the body parts into a large duffel bag and sent them through the TSA scanners on their way to NYC.

Muppets in the NYC Halloween Parade 2013Only one slight hitch – Animal and Manah Manah have delicate ornate faces, which would never have survived either a year in the closet OR an airport’s gentle luggage handling. As chance would have it, they were still a pile of foam and felt when everything went down, so I planned my arrival in NYC to allow a full day to finish them.

Luckily my friend loaned me his apartment, which I immediately turned into a sweatshop of one. 24 hours and 2 fittings later, we were ready to roll. We even got lucky finding a cab that could fit 4 people, 8 heads and lots of body parts!

Most of our group consisted of first time participants and we had a blast! The parade was a huge success – thanks again to all the people who donated on the Kickstarter page and thanks to Jeanne Fleming for never giving up!

You can find more photos of this year’s event and Animal, Dr Teeth, Janice, Manah Manah, The Snowths, Kermit, Scooter, Beeker, Bunsen Honeydew, Gonzo, and Swedish Chef over at the Halloween Parade Website.