The month of October signals the beginning of the hunt for the scariest Halloween costumes. While most of us have to go to the malls to buy outfits, this Iowan dad needed only a few materials at home and his creativity to make the most inventive Halloween ensembles.
The pandemic has compelled us to move most of our activities online, and that entails having to take part in a seemingly endless series of Zoom calls.
Greg Dietzenbach, a 42-year-old creative director at an advertising and marketing agency, thought of capitalizing on this trend by creating a one of a kind yet familiar costume for his 12-year-old daughter Ada: a Zoom interface costume.
“Due to COVID-19 we didn’t even know if our town would have trick-or-treating this year. Social distancing has made my kids Zoom experts, it’s how they attended school and see family and friends. It felt like it was a costume idea worth exploring,” Greg explained. “2020 has been tough, it’s nice to know we’ll be giving some joy to others (at a safe distance of course).”
Greg works for a company that builds corporate environments and museums, so he was able to use his fancy work tools, including a large format printer, to recreate the famous interface.
The homemade virtual meeting costume has nine call participants. Seven of those are Ada herself but transformed into creepy characters such as the Invisible Man, the Black Lagoon creature, Wolf Man, Frankenstein, Dracula, Mummy, and Blair Witch.
The eighth person is the real-life Ada, her face poking through the center square of the cutout.
Above the middle Zoom square is a frame labeled “Next Victim,” another brilliant feature of this costume. It’s the space where anyone in front of Ada will see an image of themselves. Greg made this possible by taping an iPad with a front-facing camera to the back of the board and using a mirror app to show “a clean display of the victim.”
In keeping with the spooky theme, Greg added little details such “666 participants” and “End Life” instead of “End Meeting for All.” Instead of “Share Screen,” the button on the bottom part says, “Share Scream.”
He created the Zoom interface in Adobe Illustrator and transformed Ada’s photos into monsters using Procreate, an iPad drawing app.
It took Greg approximately an hour and a half each to create each monster. He admits that making the entire board required tremendous effort, but he immensely enjoyed the process, especially when he did the monster face photoshoot with his daughter.
“All of the costumes were found by raiding the kids’ dress-up box and closets. If I couldn’t find something I just drew it, like Drac’s necklace and Frank’s bolts,” he said.
After editing the images, he placed everything on a foam board and glued a few straps to the back.
Turns out, this isn’t the first time that Greg has created a costume for his children. He does it every year, and it sure looks like his years of practice have paid off.
“My kids challenge me every year to make a unique costume. Building a transforming sock robot for my son almost broke my brain, so this year I wanted to make it a lot simpler,” the creative dad said.
Some of his most elaborate costumes include a transforming sock robot, the front doors of their neighbors, and more.
“They are all a labor of love,” Greg said. “I’ve become known for my homemade costumes with family and friends and people tell me they look forward to seeing them every year, but I really do it for my kids.”
If you’re looking for costume ideas yourself, you might want to check out this link for more of Greg’s unique Halloween creations.
Watch the video below to see how this dad created the “Zoom and Gloom Meeting” costume.