This Mind-Bending “Invisible Man” Costume Is the Clever Creation of a Mom on a $15-Budget

Invisible Person Costume

Illusions can be tricky to pull off. Optical illusions on a moving body are even more challenging and a true feat when done right. Kim Gardiner achieved this accomplishment during Halloween 2022 when she crafted a costume for her son Cole. His ensemble was a mind-bending “invisible man” that makes it look like there was a hidden human walking around. The only way we know someone is there is because we can see their clothes—suspenders and all.

So, how does the illusion work? To start, Gardiner created a cardboard base that was attached to Cole’s backpack and went over his head. Connected to it were the hat and sunglasses held up with a thin rod. The black t-shirt (with two eyeholes cut out) and jacket went over the cardboard, and the attached suspenders were fashioned outward from there. Additionally, there were two pairs of pants; one that was worn by Cole, and the other—the front-facing ones—had holes in the knees and wire around the waist, which helped create the appearance that the pants were worn.

This costume had a big impact but a low price; Gardiner created the whole thing for about $15, proving that you don’t need a lot of fancy materials to make an ensemble that has everyone talking about it (and scratching their heads).

A crafty mom named Kim Gardiner created a mind-bending “invisible man” costume for her son. Here's how part of it was made…

Invisible Person Costume

…which resulted in this:

Invisible Person Costume

Kim Gardiner: Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Kim Gardiner.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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