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Creating the Kandy Man

By Rochelle Thickpenny

'If you're a dentist, you'd better run and hide... because your worst nightmare is here!'

Those were the words I had been dreading to hear all night. It was my cue to unleash the Kandy Man onto the masses gathered for the DefCon'93 masquerade. As I stood there grouped with aliens of all shapes and sizes, I pondered on how I'd got myself into this...

The nightmare started just over a year ago, quite by accident, really. One weekend while cleaning out the garage, I happened to be mucking about with a few round cardboard boxes (anything to get out of work). I felt the urge to create a costume and I knew it was my duty to bring this monster to life! I had recently been watching The Happiness Patrol and was rather keen on the Kandy Man. I worked on it in secret for two months, scrounging such items as fly-spray lids for the eyes, duct-pipe lids for the knees, foam rubber for the body, and lots of various caps for the fingers. The hardest job was sculpting the face dots from blue foam rubber. My parents couldn't understand what I was up to (sometimes I asked myself the same question), but finally, 907 dots later, it was finished.

I tried out a dress rehearsal one day when Mum and Dad went out. Finding it difficult to see, I walked with the six-foot costume through the doorway and almost decapitated myself - unfortunately the head hit the door frame while my body walked on. What a headline that would have made: 'Parents come home to find daughter dead in Kandy Man costume - foul play suspected by Cadburys!'

Finally one night I burst through the door with it on (Mum is expected to recover!), and the rest is history.

After struggling with it down to DefCon from Auckland, all the hard work finally paid off. People were quite surprised to learn that it was a girl inside the costume and I even received a lot of praise from the Australian Costumers Guild. The biggest highlight was not only winning the Judges' Choice award for the masquerade, but to have D.C. Fontana come up to me later during the convention and tell me how much she loved the costume; that put me on cloud nine for ages.

Another funny part of the evening was when I got closed in the elevator doors in full costume - you might say I was in a bit of a sticky situation...

[Photo 1]
Photo by Jon Preddle

[Photo 2]
Photo by Keith Smith

Supplementary material

These photos did not appear in the printed issue.

The last surviving part of the costume, photographed in 2005.

The remains of a small Kandy Man maquette Rochelle built around the same time as the full size costume.

A page of some design sketches drawn by Rochelle whilst planning the costume.

This item appeared in TSV 34 (July 1993).