Homemade Gumball Machine Halloween Costume

Written by jane smith
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Homemade Gumball Machine Halloween Costume
Celebrate a favourite childhood icon with a gumball-machine costume. (David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

You don't have to limit yourself to ghosts, witches and mummies this Halloween. Celebrate a childhood icon instead: the gumball machine. Making a gumball machine costume takes less effort than you think, and the results will garner you a "Most Original" or "Most Nostalgic" award at your next Halloween costume contest. Recycle old flying discs, sheets of cardboard and the shabby-looking foam-ball Christmas ornaments from several seasons past into an eye-catching gumball machine costume.

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The Clear Sides

Sheets of clear low-density polythene work best to make the vertical sides of the gumball machine, especially if you use a round-topped design. Low-density polythene flexes easily into a cylinder and holds its shape far better than the plastic sheeting used to cover floors and furniture during painting or remodelling projects. While you could use clear dry-cleaning bags, trash bags or lengths of clear cling film to make the clear sides of the gumball machine for an adult, the risk of suffocation to any child who plays with the costume later is just too great.

Top and Bottom

Many budget or warehouse grocery stores use 4-by-8-foot cardboard sheets between layers of sugar or flour. You can cut them to make the top and bottom for your gumball machine costume. Measure across your back from shoulder to shoulder and add at least 6 inches for wiggle room. Use that measurement as the diameter for a round gumball machine or as the length of the sides for a square one. You will need a hole for your head in the top piece and one large enough for your shoulders, chest and hips to fit through in the bottom piece. Measure your chest or bust at the fullest point, and measure your hips about 9 inches below your natural waist. Making the "machine" portion of the costume hip-length as measured from the top of your shoulder makes it lighter and easier to manoeuvre in when walking.


Foam balls, wadded foil or ball-pit balls all make excellent gum balls. Make your gumballs in any colour, although royal blue, red, orange, yellow, purple and pink look most like the gumballs you see in real machines. Remember to wear a painter's mask and goggles and work outside when you use spray paint. Spray one side of each ball, allowing it to dry completely before spraying the other side. Two coats of clear spray on the foam balls will keep more coloured paint on the surface.


A flying disk covered with foil makes an interesting "coin" for your coin slot, if you choose to incorporate that extra detail. To make the costume jingle as if it is full of coins, fill two metal pie pans with pennies, duct tape them together and place them with the gumballs. Shake yourself every now and then to make the coins rattle.

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