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We want to make giant walking puppets that will rise up from behind a hill and startle, then charm, the adventurers in the maze.
We also want costumed characters who can talk and interact with our visitors.
You can help us design and build these, and if you are big enough, operate them.
The basic parade puppet is a spine-pole that the operator wears on a hiking style backpack with hip support and lots of straps.
Top of the spine is a structure to attach the head to.
A spine and head structure can have different characters attached to it.
Most of the puppet is air, covered with cloth.
The arms are sticks inside sleeves, the hands are giant gloves.
Depending on if the character is wispy or sturdy, you might fill it with inflated balloons or big plastic bags or use hoops to fill it out.
The operator of a tall puppet should be strong and preferably tall.
The operator can reach up and turn the spine or bend forward.
The eyes or jaw of the head may be operated by rods or string.
The hands could be operated by the operator or helpers can move arms and feet.
Other characters are combinations of puppet and costume, fitting on the operator's body.
There are many ways to design these.
Materials can be recyclables like plastic jugs which are strong and full of air - and free!
It is nice to be able to create an under-structure upon which you can dress it with your character's head, clothing and hands,
and then be able to store the empty head and costume easily in a small box.
The giant red-haired puppet girl is made of cloth, a big beach ball for the head,
and skinny balloons for fingers,
metal conduit pole spine,
hula-hoops for her skirt waist and hem,
and ribbon and paper plates for hair and eyes.
Besides the hula hoops,
her deflated ball and clothing and skin fits into an ordinary laundry basket.
On two separate St. Patrick's Days,
she got her photo in the paper.