Constructing a Disney Mini-Villain

by Mike on May 22, 2014 · 5 comments

When Max was 2, he told me he wanted to be The Lion King’s “Scar” for Halloween.

Not just a sinister lion from the movie — no, that would be too easy. He wanted the Broadway version of Scar, “just like your costume, Dada.”

Uhhhhh. Okay.  Of course, he told me this about 1 week before the big night, and I knew I had no chance of culling together a Scar costume that would be worthy.  “Next year,” I promised him.  And guess what?  He didn’t forget.

(Just so you know what Max ended up being for Halloween 2012, here we are recreating Psy’s “Gangnam Style” ridiculousness/awesomeness.)

So about a month before this most recent Halloween 2013 while we were in Tempe, AZ, I was determined to make a costume from head-to-toe, with a corset, shoes, cage, chaps, the works — like Dad!

I approached my esteemed colleague Michael Reilly, the head of our Lion King puppet department, for some advice on making a tiny Scar costume for my little guy. And Michael wound up helping me more than I could’ve hoped possible.

Michael was so generous with his time and expertise.  The pièce de résistance would be the mask, and Michael had a plan for its construction. First, he sketched Scar’s face in pencil to use as a template, and talked me through the steps of cutting foam board, gluing the cheese cloth to it, and covering it with latex — all to give the mask texture.

Then he showed me how to copy the Scar likeness onto the foam, by outlining the segments on the Scar template, cutting it into segments, and then tracing around the segments.

Michael Reilly essentially gave me a personal class in painting, from mixing colors to shading techniques.  It was a blast!

When the mask was completed, Michael mounted it on a head set that was built for Max’s little head.  It was stunning, and everyone who passed by the puppet department oohed and ahhed.

For the rest of the costume, I started with a trip to the Hobby Lobby.  I found some foam board that I thought I could build the front of the Scar chaps.  Michael Reilly had a great idea to use barge glue to create pleats in the Scar chaps that would create the correct silhouette.  He also figured that we could sew the foam board to a piece of webbing and tie it around Max’s waist like an apron.  It worked perfectly.

Originally, I thought I would build the cage with pipe cleaners, but decided that this might be accomplished with foam board as well. I would cut foam board pieces exactly like the original and piece it together with barge.  The concern was that the foam would not stand up straight, and would sag.  Michael solved this with using gaff tape to put a support in the center piece of the cage.  Once again, success!

Finally, I needed a corset.  I found a perfect orange fabric and some leather strapping, fabric glue, and a healthy amount of Velcro. I figured I could just cut a single piece of fabric to fit Max’s torso, from the measurements I took earlier.  I would make it a little bigger, and use the fabric glue to attach the Velcro, and voila!  Instant corset.  Or was I getting too crazy with the glue? Would it really hold around a toddler’s squirmy torso? In a moment of clarity, I decided to ask Gregory Young, our head of Lion King wardrobe for some advice.

“Just leave me the measurements and the fabric,” Gregory told me.  Score!

Ang ordered a pair of orange striped pajamas to go underneath it all. It was one of the proudest moments of my life when we had Max’s first fitting — he was so happy.  And so serious!  He was Scar.  After a few minor alterations, and he was ready to go.

Of course, the costume could not be complete without the ferocious makeup. We did our best with some Kmart Halloween face makeup and Ang’s eyeliner.

He debuted the costume at Nancy Hennessey’s Halloween party.  Nancy is part of the puppet department, and also was very helpful with a word of advice here or there during the construction of the costume.

The costume was a big hit, and after the party we put it away for a few days until the big day — Halloween.  We stopped by a small farmer’s market style Halloween event by the waterfront in Scottsdale.  It was early in the night, Max got a lot of compliments and candy, and then we moved on to some good ole fashioned trick or treating.

We chose a upscale neighborhood in Scottsdale and it didn’t disappoint.  We hit about 8 homes…

… and then we decided to stop by the theater to show Max and the costume off to the folks at work, like ensemble singer Andrew Arrington below.  It was so amazing!  Everybody LOVED the costume, and Max was totally in his element, soaking up the pre-show atmosphere.  He even got to step up on Pride Rock and sing “Be Prepared” to a small crew audience.

The only hiccup was when it was time to leave.  I guess I should have been concerned when Max told everyone in the cast to ,”have a great show!”  Adorable, right?  He then quickly followed with, “I’ll have a great show, too!”  We all laughed then, but minutes later when I tried to carry Max out the stage door, he freaked out, and immediately broke into tears, screaming, “I gotta get to the stage!  I gotta get to the stage!”  It then occurred to me — he actually thought he was coming to the theater with Daddy, because he was ON FOR SCAR THAT NIGHT.  Big misunderstanding.  Ang and I felt terribly,  he was beside himself, as we poured him into his car seat.  Fortunately, we were able to talk him down with some recently acquired candy.  Whew.

After that it was back to work for me, and Ang and Max and Eva met Kristine, Anna, Liliana, and Ariela for a little more trick or treating.  It was a night I will never forget, and a proper introduction to Halloween for Max.  The only problem I see now is, how are we going to top this next year?

(For those wondering … this is what Eva ended up being for her first Halloween! Ang ordered the outfit off Etsy. It was simple and perfect.)


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Casey W. May 22, 2014 at 9:33 am

Dear Hollicks,

My what joy little Max shows in his Scar getup!

Enjoying your travels and adventures.



ANGELIQUE May 22, 2014 at 12:05 pm



Rene May 22, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Genius, pure genius.


steve m May 22, 2014 at 7:38 pm

fave line: “it was one of the proudest moments of my life when we had Max’s first fitting” spoken like a true theatre dad!!! lol


Ron May 23, 2014 at 7:40 pm

What a great post! It’s great to celebrate children!


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