2020 Halloween Costume Contest
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Despicable Me Family Costume

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Despicable Me Family Costume

The Despicable Family

More views: (click to enlarge)
Photo #1 - The Despicable Family Photo #2 - Minion Test Fit Photo #3 - Dr. Nefario Paper Head Photo #4 - The Finished Heads Photo #5 - The Weapons Photo #6 - Minion Pose Photo #7 - Gru Head Model in Pepakura

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Costume type:  Costumes for Families
Categories:Halloween Costumes, Movie and TV Show Costumes

This homemade costume for families entered our 2013 Halloween Costume Contest.

A word from Jeff, the 'Despicable Me Family' costume creator:

Every year we go pretty overboard on Halloween costumes. 2013 one was no different. After much discussion we decided to do a family theme with Despicable Me. Dad (me) would be Gru, my wife would be the super cool Dr. Nefario, and the kids, of course, my Minions. I know, Minions were very popular this year, good in that our costumes were very popular at all the events, but bad for costume contests, given the number of Minions Iíve seen on these pages. However, I havenít seen too many Gru heads, and even fewer Dr. Nefarios, so here it goesÖ.
We started thinking about costumes before Despicable Me 2 came out in July, hence no Lucy. Everyone asked why my wife didnít dress up as Lucy. I think Dr. Nefario is way more funny anyway. Actual designing and building started in August. We usually have events up to 3 weeks before Halloween, so we need to start early.
In the past, I have built a lot of costumes with relatively stiff foam board. Itís great to work with, but it is not too comfortable to wear and doesnít do curves well, and these costumes were going to have a lot of compound curves. So I opted to make them out of flexible EVA closed cell foam. I did a Bumblebee mask for my son last year out of heavy duty ĹĒ thick EVA foam (gym floor mat material), this year I stocked up on 1/4 ď thick sheets from a supplier in California.
It took me a while to get the hang of it, but EVA foam is really cool stuff. It cuts easily, creates strong joints with hot glue, and you can heat it up with a hot air gun and form it into shapes. A little caulk and white glue plastered on the surface then allows you to spray paint it nicely. The hardest part is getting it into just the right shape. Just in case I ran out of time, I started with the Minions (also the easiest shapes), and then worked my way up to Nefarioís funky shaped head (which was a challenge).
The costume foam elements were: the Minions, Gruís head, Gruís body (so I would look hunch-backed), Nefarioís head, the Shrink Ray, and the Freeze Ray. Each went through the same basic process. Now, Iím an engineer, so measurements and drawings came first. First I sketched out 2D drawings in Visio, pulling images from the web and tracing contours to get the right proportions. I then scaled the 2D sketches to fit my kids, or my head, or my wifeís head. Once I was happy with the sizing, I went to create 3D models in CAD (remember, Iím an engineerÖ.). That let me create 3D surfaces which I could import into Pepakura Designer paper folding software. Pepakura is software that takes complex 3D surfaces and creates 2-D cut templates that when printed on card stock, folded and taped up, recreate the 3D shapes. I prototyped most of the costume elements in paper first, which was fast, which also allowed me to test fit the elements on the subject; especially the Gru and Nefario masks. Then I went about shaping the EVA foam into rough shapes and cut it to size using the paper templates as a guide. I glued all the foam pieces together with hot glue, and then slathered caulk and white glue to protect the foam from the spray paint. Simple, right?
For the Minions, I used painted window screens for the eyeballs, so the kids could see out of the costumes. Sewed denim fabric was used for the overalls. Purchased long sleeved yellow shirts and black gloves completed the Minions. For Gru, window screens were also used for the eyeballs, and fabric fur for the eyebrows. I got an oversize black jacket from a thrift shop for Gruís body, and cut out Gruís zipper medallion out of balsa wood. Dr. Nefario used purchased welding goggles (tinted glass removed). My wife already had a lab coat and the rubber boots, and we painted the Gru emblem on purchased heavy duty black rubber gloves. She also had to buy the crazy pajama pantsÖ The Freeze Ray and Shrink Ray were also embellished with LED flashlights from the dollar store so they would light up at night. Note that the Freeze Ray is pretty true to the movie design, but I had to truncate the Shrink Ray so my Minions could wield it.
After more hours than I would like to admit (easily 80+), we were ready for our first Halloween events. Despite starting early, I was still up painting into the wee hours the night before. We had several private Halloween parties to go to, and our favorite event, Boo at the Zoo. The hard work paid off. The response was awesome. We won a couple contests and we had people lined up 6 deep to get pictures with us at the zoo. Kids loved them, and my kids (and us old folks) had a blast. We did have a brief Minion meltdown with my 6 year old on Halloween night. My poor daughter was upset that she couldnít run ahead with her friends. It was really hard not to laugh while she stomped around waving her arms madlyÖ in Minion costume.
Check out the video link for all you costume nerds; it shows more of the modeling and costume detail.

Rating: 4.3 of 5. Votes: 28

28 votes
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#1 comment by yael schulhof March 10, 2014

I absolutely love your costume.

I just made minions for my kids and attempted to make Gru and Dr nefario. I was a disaster and I don't have enough time to start again. I made them out of paper mache.

Would you consider selling your Despicable me costumes to me? They are awesome and my kids would be estatic if we could match them theme wise.

#2 comment by Penny September 29, 2014

Absolutely amazing!!! I am truly impressed and blown away by your creativity!! We are attempting to make a minion costume for our 6 yr old. We could not find the foam sheets so we are making it out of a round top garbage can with the bottom cut out. Saw the trick on Pinterest and thought we would try. Yours is definitely wayyyyy better!!! Unfortunately I am not as talented. How on earth did you make the googles? I've been looking for old overalls to spray paint a Gru logo on and I can't even find them. I'm not a seamstress and do not have a sewing machine. Any ideas you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

#3 comment by JS September 30, 2014

Penny, The goggles are also foam, but cardboard can work instead of foam for simple shapes. You can also just buy denim fabric and hot glue it together for jeans to cover the bottom of the minion (I have done that when I couldn't get my wife to do the sewing). Luckily the pattern is easy since you don't need to create legs, just wear a pair of matching jeans in the costume.

#4 comment by sheila September 30, 2015

great job on the minions never thought about using foam thank you for the ideas

#5 comment by Laurel October 5, 2015

You did a great job in these costumes! Did you make your guns or buy them from somewhere? I've been trying to find a freeze ray gun that actually looks like the gun in the movie.

#6 comment by Shay October 24, 2015

Awsome costumes.
Would you share your Pepakura models?
I'm interested in the head masks (Gru & Dr. Nafario).

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