Friday, November 29, 2013

DIY riding costume... or "How to stuff a turkey costume for your turkey trot"

Eight days before my "Turkey Trot" race on Thanksgiving Morning... I got onto Google.  This is usually bad news for me, because I see some idea that I can't let go of and become obsessed.  

This time, I looked up "Turkey Trot Costumes" and scrolling through the images, it didn't take long to come across this beauty:

The website says it was the Turkey Trot from 2011 in Detroit... So, getting more specific in my Google search terms, I found a youtube video with the runner in action (which you can click here to see it, but you might want to fast forward to 4:25.)  and a blog about his costume!

After my detective work was done, I set to sketching and after two hours from the initial Google search, I had the head completed.  

Because I was in such a hurry, I didn't think this through in terms of blogging and didn't take many photos of the process to make this.  So, bare with me as I try to explain it...

I've made 90% of the costume with found objects in my random home.  I have lots of felt for all sorts of projects, so using some felt, some orange-ish 4-way stretch jersey material, a pool noodle, black pants, coat hangers and a pole I use in the garden for bean runners... I have my costume.  And a whole lot of pillow stuffing.  Some I had to pilfer from friends who had some old/extra pillows I could de fluff.  

First thing, my orange material was "tube shaped" like the material was meant to be sewn into a skirt.  So, I took the "waist" of the skirt-like tube and folded it down to the bottom and sewed the two together all the way around, except for a small hole to shove pillow stuffing and the pool noodle in.  

Next I cut an "x" in the crotch of some old black pants and sew the new opening around the doughnut-hole opening in the orange material.  This "x" has to be big enough to fit around the hole in the orange doughnut and big enough for me to jimmy on before a race.  :) 

Getting into this thing is a making for a bad video on youtube or something.  

Then next part, I had my husband place a tennis ball on the end of the "bean pole" so that if/when I tripped and fell over my costume, I wouldn't impale myself on the rod in the head.  Shove it in the turkey head, add stuffing and sew the neck shut and attach the pole through the "chest" of the orange doughnut and secure pole into the pool noodle with just about anything you can get to work...  We have a lot of hot glue, string and maybe even a little duct tape in the mix.  The tail is attached the same way, with some coat hangers within a couple of the feathers so that it didn't just flop down behind me and get dragged behind me on race day.  It did droop a little and I'll want to fix that somehow so I'm not irritating the serious racers around me when i run in it.

That's pretty much it.  Oh!  Except suspenders.  Suspenders are a must.  That is what I did purchase for the costume at the local thrift shop.  Attaching the suspenders to the orange doughnut, I had to be cautious stepping into the doughnut hole... not to get tangled in the suspender straps and hike the turkey butt up over my own.  That was a chore.  Most certainly something I needed help with.

I have very patient friends...

This is me taking the turkey out for a test spin.  It did great for those 2 test miles.

The reactions I got from witnesses of my test run would be a whole other blog entry...

On race day, I'd change how to get the tail to be a little more predictable and not so droopy and after 3 1/2 miles in it, my suspenders came loose.  I pestered two poor race volunteers at separate parts of the course to reach down into the "doughnut hole" and clip my suspenders.

I swear that isn't as naughty as it sounds.

After giving up on it working again,  I carried the turkey to the end/beginning of the race where I had one more loop to do.  I'll go into all of that when i get the race recap up... but for now, I think instead of suspenders that are removable with their clips... I'd sew in something much more permanent and no chance of snapping/breaking/coming undone.

Anyway.  I added some old back socks to the end of the pants for "boots" (with some white material from the old pillow for the "socks"), hot glued some painted cardboard on for buckles and used a black tech shirt and some white material for the pilgrim's shirt.

The hat is black poster board and a little bit of foam inside.  I hot glued a headband to it and it stayed on perfectly.  That's about all I can think of...  :)  I'll get the recap up soon and post a pic of it on race day.  I added a couple embellishments with jingle bells on the reins and black arm sleeves with white cuffs on my arms.

Did you do a "Turkey Trot"?  Do you ever run in costume?  DIY or store bought modified for running?

**I should add that this beast weighed 11lbs, so I'll probably want to figure out ways to lighten it up too**


  1. Wow! That is an impressive costume!!

    1. Thanks Betsy! I think I'm good on running anything longer than a 5K in an elaborate costume. ha ha ha. Though, this one took enough time to make that I'm totaly going to be rocking this one until the seams burst. ;-)

  2. Ah, now I know who was the running turkey at the Turkeython! Very cool costume!

    1. :D That would be me. Did you have fun at Turkeython?


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