Ethan’s Fire Engine, Fire Rescue Boat, Jet Pack, and John Deere Halloween Costumes

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John Deere Tractor Costume (Halloween 2009)

All kids love John Deere Tractors. Ethan wanted to take his interest in John Deere to the next level and be one for Halloween. This costume was mostly prepared by Laura. She did a fine job with it. The key part to this costume was finding the right size box for our 3 year old so it was snug on the sides and easy to carry. Once that was found, it wasn’t very hard.

John Deere Tractor Costume for Children
Ethan and his John Deere Tractor costume (2009)
John Deere Tractor Halloween Costume
John Deere Tractor Halloween Costume
John Deere Tractor Halloween Costume
John Deere Tractor Halloween Costume
John Deere Tractor Halloween Costume
John Deere Tractor Halloween Costume

Fire Engine Costume (Halloween 2010)

Ethan's Fire Engine Costume for Halloween
Ethan’s Fire Engine Costume for Halloween

The rain poured and poured and poured this weekend. But it wasn’t that terrible to be confined indoors with two sick little kids. We spent plenty of time with Legos, firefighter toys, superhero capes, short walks outdoors, a few movies, carving a pumpkin, and finishing Ethan’s Halloween costume.

When we asked him what he wanted to be for Halloween this year, he was insistent that he wanted to be a fire engine. Of course not just any ‘ol fire engine. He wanted to be a ladder engine. Hmmmm. Laura scoured the internet for ideas to see how other parent’s assisted children’s Halloween costume dreams. She found many ideas but none that exactly fit Ethan’s vision. We put our minds together and began to cut, glue, and paint.

The final product took a few weeks to assessmble. Here are the steps we followed:

  1. We found an old moving box in the attic, sized up Ethan, cut out the hole, and painted a few coats of red, then white for the cab and striping.
  2. We cut some black construction paper to size and glued on a couple front and side windows.
  3. The lights were Ethan’s idea. Ethan and I found front headlights at a nearby hobby store  and grabbed a set of back bike lights from Fred Meyer.
  4. The ladder was essential. I picked some 3′ long 1/4″ x 1/4″ pieces of wood from the lumber store. Both ladders are the same sizes, except one is attached to the base with screws so it can swivel around.
  5. The two side hoses are 5/8″ rounds of wood. They are tied on with a couple of ties.
  6. The side hose reel is an old bike tube wrapped around a black painted toilet paper roll.
  7. The front and back bumpers are packing styrofoam wrapped in aluminum foil and screwed to the box.
  8. The tires are two paper plates glued together and then glued to the fire engine.
  9. We grabbed a couple fire stickers and stuck them on the front grill and two side doors.
  10. Laura personalized it with the words “Ethan’s Fire Engine” on the back.
  11. Laura picked up a set up rainbow colored suspenders so that the box would balance well on Ethan (it’s a little back heavy).
  12. Last, duct tape not only holds the world together, but also this costume.

Ethan loves his costume. Actually Autumn loves it too because of the working lights. We spent about $40 on this project, but we know that the lights and suspenders can be used again, while all the other materials were from other projects.

Fire Engine Halloween Costume
Fire Engine Halloween Costume
Fire Engine Halloween Costume
Fire Engine Halloween Costume
Fire Engine Halloween Costume
Fire Engine Halloween Costume
Fire Engine Halloween Costume
Fire Engine Halloween Costume

Here are few more photos of the fire engine costume.

 

Fire Rescue Boat (Halloween 2011)

We made Ethan a Fire Rescue Boat for Halloween 2011.  It was based off the Seattle Fire Rescue Boat  Leschi and not terribly difficult to make. Despite my initial skepticism to create this, it came together very well and Ethan enjoyed wearing it around and showing it off to his friends. The only change I’d make next time is to use duct tape rather than paint for the entire boat.

Ethan's Fire Rescue Boat Halloween Costume (2011)
Ethan’s Fire Rescue Boat Halloween Costume (2011)
Ethan's Fire Rescue Boat Halloween Costume (2011)
Ethan’s Fire Rescue Boat Halloween Costume (2011)
Ethan's Fire Rescue Boat Halloween Costume (2011)
Ethan’s Fire Rescue Boat Halloween Costume (2011)
Ethan's Fire Rescue Boat Halloween Costume (2011)
Ethan’s Fire Rescue Boat Halloween Costume (2011)

 

Astronaut Jet Pack (Halloween 2012)

Ethan’s interest in space has grown tremendously. This year he wanted to head to the stars with an astronaut suit and jet pack.

This was a fairly easy costume to make.  All the materials are seen in the photo. The one item that may not be easily available is an extra set of backpack straps. You could make them with duct tape if you choose. The costume held up quite well and took one evening to make.

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The Playhouse

OHHHHHHHHHH YEAH! We have come full circle and Ethan and Autumn’s playhouse is finished (well…almost). This past week, we (mostly Laura while I was at work) finished painting it to the delight of Ethan. He was a bit antsy all week when he couldn’t play in it. We’re very excited about what we designed and built and look forward to years of use.

The Original FortInterest in building a playhouse started last winter. I had an outstanding playhouse as a kid that I used almost everyday. It was three stories and slowly built and added on over the years. To this day, many of my friends still talk about that fort (as we called it) and how it defined our childhood. I thought Ethan should be able to have something to help define his childhood.

The design phase for his playhouse started in January. I scoured the internet for ideas to consider. There a ton of wonderful designs to consider which made it difficult to choose one. In the end, I took ideas from a few designs, added my own touches, scaled it to Ethan size, and dove into the project.

img_2371The first piece of lumber was cut a week before Autumn was born (March 18). Much progress was made those first few weeks as the frame was put up. A couple weeks later, the stairs were built, and accessories added on. The red roof was added in May and then we stopped.

A late May windstorm almost took out the slide when a large branch from our maple tree came crashing down the slide. While it pancaked the slide, the slide was able to form back to it’s original shape and save from another $150 slide. In July we started back up again as we put on a door (Ethan’s only request for his playhouse) and we completed the project with our painting in August. There are few minor touch-ups we have to do, but otherwise, it’s good to go.

20100822_0303It’s been a great experience that has allowed us to learn new skills, obtain new tools (perks!), and provide Ethan, and soon Autumn, with a playhouse they will never forget.

Did you have a playhouse as a kid? Let us know about it.

[Click on any photo for a better viewing experience]

Don’t forget to leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!

Cedar Wood Storage Chest

Cedar Wood Chest
Cedar Wood Chest
Cedar Wood Chest

I spent most of the day upgrading our wood box to a wooden storage chest. We had firewood up until last week when we finished it off. We didn’t plan on having it the whole winter though. So I took the wood box I made a couple of months ago and added a top with hinges, lined the inside with some sheets and made it into a linen storage box in our front room. We will add a pillow kind of top to it so people can sit on it, or some kids could sleep on it for a nap.

Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputation or social standards never can bring about reform. Those who are really in earnest are willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathies with despised ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.

– Susan B. Anthony