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A Halloween Tradition: Turning Our Tesla Into Toothless

A Halloween Tradition: Turning Our Tesla Into Toothless

Hey there, fellow Halloween enthusiasts and frunk-or-treat fans!

Before we dive into our dragon costume adventure, here's a quick request: we poured our hearts, creativity, and resources into crafting this unique costume, so we kindly ask that you use our story as inspiration to create your own awesome Halloween designs. We absolutely love seeing your creativity shine, but please give credit where it's due if our ideas inspire your own spooktacular creations.

Now, let's get into the tale of our incredible dragon costume!

Halloween has forever held a special place in our hearts. Chris, and I share a deep love for this spooktacular holiday. In the past, our tradition involved getting decked out in costumes, not for elaborate parties, but to greet and treat the neighborhood kids who ventured out for candy.

During our time in Los Angeles, we were somewhat constrained. Space was limited, and our neighborhood didn't see the bustling crowds of trick-or-treaters we had hoped for. It felt like our Halloween spirit was on pause for six long years.

However, fate had something exciting in store for us. When we made the move to Texas, we found ourselves in a new place with significantly more room to let our Halloween enthusiasm run wild. It was the perfect canvas for us to unleash our creativity and fully embrace our favorite holiday!

Here are some of our examples of our all-out-Halloween-craziness:

Chris and Jen dressed for Halloween.
Chris and Jen dressed for Halloween.
Chris and Jen dressed for Halloween.
Chris and Jen dressed for Halloween.
Our house decorated for Halloween.

In 2018, we got ourselves a Tesla Model 3 – we're self-proclaimed tech geeks, and our "GEEKS" license plate proves it. Tesla cars are known for their unique features, like the "front trunk" (ie: "frunk"), and we saw a golden opportunity to turn our vehicle into something extraordinary for Halloween.

Here is an example of another of our Halloween shenanigans:

So, why did we choose a dragon, you ask?

Well, besides the fact that dragons are awesome, our Tesla's front end bore a striking resemblance to Toothless (as seen in the pic below), the lovable Night Fury from the animated movie How to Train Your Dragon. It was a match made in Halloween heaven! 

Intriguingly, if you delve into our backgrounds, you'll discover our shared passion for animation (we both majored in 2-D hand drawn animation). While my life's journey took a different path, Chris wholeheartedly pursued his lifelong dream of becoming a professional animator—a role he still cherishes today. Both of us are ardent fans of Dreamworks and the creative genius behind iconic characters like Toothless and Lilo and Stitch, Chris Sanders.

Our Tesla with our house decorated for Halloween.

Now, let's dive into the nitty-gritty of how this epic costume came to life.

1) Designing the Costume:

Our journey began with a deep dive into Toothless's features. We meticulously studied his eyes, wings, and tail from every angle to create our design. After measuring our car, we decided on wing and tail dimensions – each wing a whopping 12 feet long!

Designing the costume in Adobe Illustrator.

Designing Toothless the Tesla.

Concept illustration.

Planning the dragon car costume for Toothless the Tesla.

2) Fabric Selection:

Our Midnight Silver Metallic Tesla needed fabric that complemented its unique color. We settled on calico prints for the wings, tail, face, and mouth. Fabric shopping was a blast!

Fabric for the wings and tail:

Fabric used on the wings and tail of Toothless the Tesla.

Fabric for the tailfin:

Fabric used on the tail of Toothless the Tesla.

Fabric for the face of the tailfin:

Fabric used on the tail of Toothless the Tesla.
Fabric used inside the frunk for the mouth:
Fabric used in the frunk for the mouth of Toothless the Tesla.

3) Crafting the Wings:

Now, I must confess, I'm all about design, but sewing isn't my forte. That's where Jill Luigs, our sewing wizard, came in. We created a pattern for the wings and experimented with PVC piping to attach them securely without harming the car's finish. It took weeks of trial and error, but we got it!

They were so large that I had to make them into a grid pattern and tape 8.5"x11" sheets of paper together in a numbered fashion!

Making the wings for Toothless the Tesla.

Wing pattern laid over the uncut fabric roll. Because of the size of each wing, Jill had to remove all the furniture from her sewing room, and even then we barely had enough room to walk.

Making the wings for Toothless the Tesla.

The first wing to be cut out. It takes up the complete width of the room!

Making wings for Toothless the Tesla. 

After one of the wings was successfully cut out, the next puzzle to solve was how to securely attach it to the car. Ensuring that our method wouldn't risk any harm to the vehicle was paramount. Chris and I embarked on a Home Depot adventure, spending about an hour exploring various configurations with PVC piping in the store's aisles to find a solution that would work for our wing structure. Once we had a clear idea of the setup, we procured all the necessary components, and a few extras, just in case.

Shopping for rigging supplies for Toothless the Tesla.

Bringing home rigging supplies for Toothless.

For the curvature of the wing, we opted for a tent pole to introduce a subtle movement that would breathe life into the overall design when viewed.

These choices prompted us to reconsider and revise the entire wing design, incorporating features that would facilitate the attachment of the fabric to the structure. While it may sound straightforward, this process entailed several weeks of trial and error, becoming a significant source of stress for all involved—especially considering that Halloween was just around the corner.

But, with determination and perseverance, we finally achieved a functional wing design, allowing Jill to swiftly create the second wing. With both 12 foot wings in place, Toothless has an impressive 30 foot wingspan!

Trying our first wing and working through various issues (fun fact—this picture was taken 3 days prior to me losing my corporate job—which is what sent me down the path to becoming an entrepreneur):

Testing out our first wing on Toothless the Tesla and making necessary changes.

4) Crafting the Tail:

The tail was a bit easier; we filled it with stuffing and made sure it could be secured to the car without a hitch.

Designing the face for the tail on Toothless the Tesla.

Making the tail for Toothless the Tesla.

Making the giant tail for Toothless the Tesla.

Jen holding up the tail of Toothless the Tesla.

The tail size is a whopping 12 feet long!

The giant 12 foot tail of Toothless the Tesla.

5) Creating Expressive Eyes and Face:

While Jill worked diligently on sewing the wings and tail, my focus shifted to crafting the dragon's expressive facial features. Recognizing the importance of making a statement both during the day and at night, I embarked on a creative journey to bring the dragon's eyes to life.

Our plan included participating in the local frunk-or-treat event sponsored by the Tesla Owners Club of North Texas during the daytime, but we also aimed for a captivating nighttime display on Halloween itself. Achieving two unique looks hinged on getting the eyes just right.

To create the signature eyes, I turned to neon green poster board as my canvas. Drawing on my papercraft expertise, I employed various design techniques to mold the eyes to fit the curvature of the vehicle's headlights. Adding magnets to the back ensured their secure placement.

Testing the nighttime effect, I switched on the car's headlights and was pleasantly surprised by the vibrant glow that radiated through the green paper. It was precisely the bold and attention-grabbing look I had envisioned for our Halloween masterpiece!

Testing out the eyes for Toothless the Tesla.

Making the eyes for Toothless the Tesla.

Once the eyes were completed, my next move was to figure out how to create the scales and nostrils. I designed the facial features in Adobe Illustrator and cut the final pieces from black vinyl.

Working on the scales for the nose of Toothless the Tesla.

Making the scales for the nose of Toothless the Tesla.

6) Adding the Frunk Decorations:

Since our costume was initially designed for frunk-or-treat events, we couldn't leave the frunk closed.

I designed two rows of teeth out of poster board and applied a painting technique to make them look ridged and wet when the light hit them. I folded them to make them appear 3-D and used tape to secure them to the top and bottom of the frunk.

Making the teeth for Toothless the Tesla.

A check with the eyes and teeth in place on Toothless the Tesla.

7) Illuminating the Night:

To make our costume shine at night, we added lights to the frunk and left it slightly open for a subtle blue glow. We even covered up the extra car lights for maximum effect.

Testing out the light for the nighttime mouth of Toothless the Tesla.

8) A Sign of Grandeur:

Of course, a costume this grand needed a sign. We designed a yard sign with a Tesla twist, complete with our social media info for curious onlookers.

Toothless the Tesla

Putting It All Together:

During the daytime, our Tesla dragon made it's first splash at our local Tesla club's frunk-or-treat event, where we distributed candy to excited kids. We also were invited to a local elementary school event.

The daytime look of Toothless the Tesla.

But the real magic happened on Halloween night, with our dragon on full display at our corner home. The fog machine added ambiance, and our animations in the front window of our house completed the spooky atmosphere.

Toothless the Tesla on Halloween night.

Mood Lighting & Smoke:

We added a fog machine that creates a really neat ambiance. The special lighting — in combination with the fog — really sets the mood.

Window Animations for Our House:

As one last finishing touch, I did two simple animations for the front window of our house — one of a black Tesla dragon — the other of a white Tesla dragon. These played on repeat on a projector throughout the night.

Our dragon costume took over two months to create and cost nearly $1500 in materials and labor. We faced countless revisions, but the joy it brings to kids and grown-ups alike makes it all worthwhile. In the middle of our journey, our creation went viral online — further fueled by recognition from both Dreamworks and Tesla — and even getting featured in Good Housekeeping!

We hope our dragon costume has ignited your creative spark this Halloween season!

And finally, a huge thank you for joining us on this Halloween adventure. If you've enjoyed our dragon costume, please consider supporting us. Chris and I are passionate about bringing joy to people's lives through our handcrafted ornaments, and your support means the world to us. Don't forget to subscribe to our email list for exclusive offers, special sneak peeks and other fun updates!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

PS: Looking to purchase a Tesla? Be sure to use my referral link to buy a Tesla and get awards like 6 months of Free Supercharging and 3 months of Full Self-Driving Capability. Rewards subject to change.

About Jen Street

Jen Street is the Founder & Creative Director of Forged Flare®, a business that specializes in creating unique ornaments that are reminiscent of stained glass. Handcrafted in Texas and perfect for gifting, her Mother’s Angels® ornaments make people feel seen, appreciated, and loved. Sign up for the newsletter and save on your first handmade ornament today.

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