This is a “Rerun” post from the original blog – I’ll be putting these up here and there alongside the new posts but with their original date of publishing.
If this post confuses you, you may wish to read Eight Days of Santacraft, Part 1: Introduction to Santacon
It was 2005, my first London Santacon, and I was full of eldritch festive joy as I put together my Cthulhu Claus costume. I was also young and naive, and hadn’t yet learned important lessons like what beer does to stuffed felt, and how much of a hassle it is to paint all your exposed skin green.*
The base costume, which I used for several years, was the classic cheapo felt santa suit (which amazingly still costs a fiver online, just as it did in 2005; that’s late-stage capitalism for you). It disintegrates almost immediately but gives you a solid Santa look for minimal cost.
But this was to be a santa suit fused with the essence of H.P. Lovecraft’s horrifying seaborne god-creature Cthulhu, and that meant green skin, bat wings and face tentacles.
Unfortunately I didn’t document the crafting process very closely, but I did photograph the final results and I can remember the process reasonably well.
The wings each had a plastic coathanger as a frame, and I stretched black leather over them cut from an old leather jacket, figuring the seams didn’t detract from the creepy batlike appearance too much. Not being equipped or temperamentally prepared for sewing leather at the time I fixed them in place with a staple gun, which worked very nicely. I had a harness over my shoulders under the santa suit jacket, and pipecleaners poked through the leather could (with the help of a friend) be pushed through and tied down to hold the wings on reasonably securely.
The face tentacles were a bit more work. I had thought of weaving them into the beard to create a suitable horror-octopus/Santa hybrid, but of course there’s very little weaving anything into a piece of cheap white fur. Instead I made tubes out of dark green felt with a pipecleaner down each to allow me to “pose” them, sewed the whole thing together with my clumsy overstitch and attached elastic to hold them on as a face mask. The final innovation was a straw down the middle tentacle to allow for the necessary beer consumption.
If you’ve ever dealt with stuffed toys, felt or liquids you’ve probably already predicted that on first use this absorbed about half the pint of beer and became unwearably heavy and soggy. But at the time of its creation I was extremely satisfied with the final effect, coated every exposed part of my body in green Snazaroo body paint** and went off into London with my mate Neil (dressed at the last minute in my motorbike jacket and spare beard as Biker Santa) for a very happy night.
* Although I have no explanation for why I then did it again in 2008. And in 2007, but red and for a different event.
** Most of which had washed off by New Year’s.