2015 Halloween Hats

Acorn Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Hats

Acorn Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Hats

Acorn Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Hats

Acorn Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Hats

Acorn Woodpecker Hat

Acorn Woodpecker Hat

Acorn Woodpecker Hat

Acorn Woodpecker Hat

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Hat

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Hat

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Hat

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Hat

Well, that time of year has arrived again. Every year the kids and I start negotiations on what they should be for Halloween. I suppose most parents have this discussion in the aisle at Target, but in our house it usually goes on for a period of a month and often involves consulting Roger Tory Peterson, David Sibley and host of other experts. No, my kids have never expressed interest in being a Disney Princess, Pirate, Storm Trooper, Jedi or Darth Vader. The selection is completely predictable, the kids always go straight to the birds… with an occasional critter like an octopus thrown in to see the veins in my forehead pop out. Of course I think their choices are infinitely cooler, but good luck finding a Great Blue Heron costume. You are going to need to make that one, buddy.

So, Daddy kicks it into gear and gets cooking. This year, like last, I wanted to limit the time I put into the hats. Like a noble gas, these projects expand to fill any space they are given. I told the kids we needed to select similar types of birds. After suggestions like American Woodcock and White Ibis, we got serious and started talking ducks. We were set on Mandarin Duck and Wood Duck for a while. I talked them (and myself) out of that because without the metallic feathers I thought they’d look less impressive. Also the thought of painting a million feathers in those rainbow hues—that would suck up a lot of time. After a browse through the Field Guide to North American Birds with the kids, I suggested doing two woodpeckers. That would limit my palette to three colors if I (we) chose well. They took the bait and settled on an Acorn Woodpecker and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

The hats were made with sheet craft foam, acrylic paint, hot glue, burned fingers and lots of time. You can have a peek at previous Halloween Hats I’ve made here.

The most common question I get on these isn’t HOW I made them. It is always, “How LONG did they take?” I’m sure this isn’t a sanity check. Lets analyze this. The fact that I make Bird Hats probably immediately brands me as being nuts, but knowing how long they have taken lets people actually quantify how nuts I am! In order to thwart this, I didn’t track how long they took this year. So there! That probably is a good thing. Although they were much faster than the past few years, they still took a long time. I could’ve finished a few watercolor paintings in the same time. Of course, who knows, more people may see these hats than the paintings I would’ve done. Plus, going Trick-or-Treating as a watercolor painting probably isn’t that appealing. I figure that the time spent is worthwhile. The kids will have some great memories. Plus, in the not too distant future, the kids will be too big and won’t want a costume! Life is short. I’ll enjoy their Halloween excitement while it lasts and put my time in to help make it fun.

© Matthew Bohan 2015

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