Halloween 2010: Disco Ball 5.0!

[Ed. Note: 1/12/2015: This Disco Ball, version 5.0, is obsolete 🙂 You should check out my ultimate (!?) version, Disco Ball 6.0, here.]

[Ed Note:  What follows is just a lot of blather about how I decided to remake my classic Disco Ball costume – if you just wanna see it in action CLICK HERE for the 1 minute video for all you need to know :-), otherwise see ALL THE PIX HERE.]

So every year around Halloween three things happen:

  1. I start wondering what costume I’ll do for Halloween since it’s my favorite holiday.
  2. People from all over the interwebs find my Disco Ball costume online, and start emailing me for advice on how to make one for themselves*.
  3. People start asking me if I’m going to do my Disco Ball again…

(Click for more pix)

In response to 1, I always have to do something that makes me happy.  That usually means it has to have high production values, it has to be ambitious, and it has to “wow” people. Ideally, it is somehow interactive, and even more ideally it is something I can wear on my bike**….

The Disco Ball costume has always been one of my favorites but, but it seems to be far and away everyone else’s most favorite (as seen from items 2 & 3 above.)  People just respond to DB more than anything else I ever do.  Maybe it’s the built-in sound system, maybe that it is such an iconic thing, or maybe it’s just how much fun I have while in it :-), for whatever reason, it’s what the people want!

In any case, every once in a while I realize a way to make it better and that usually sets me about making a new version.  There was the initial “I’ll be a disco ball since I’m bald” 1.0 version, then there was 2.0, the first body sized version (paper maiche), then there was 3.0, the first attempt at a sturdy version out of foam, then there was 4.0 – the new and improved sturdy version.

  Disco Balls through the years 1997 – 2010. Click on the image for more info…

I was crazy happy with Disco Ball 4.0 when I made it & figured that was as good as DB costumes would ever get.  There was one really obvious problem with it though: the mylar squares I used didn’t look quite “disco ball” enough.  The fact that they lay more or less flat on the curved surface of the ball, kept it from being perfect in my mind.  The only solution I could think of was to buy real glass mirror squares, but that would be ridiculously heavy and even more ridiculously expensive, so mylar it was.

But recently I realized that instead of glass, I could use plastic mirrors & that my local plastic supply shop, TAP Plastics must carry them (no matter what I’m doing for Halloween, I always seem to end up at TAP for something!).  On top of that, I could reuse the ball from 4.0 since I was very happy with it & my costume would be EASY to make for once! Woo hoo! This year there would be a Disco Ball 5.0!

Since I knew it was going to be easy, I decided to procrastinate.  It has been a really intense few months with work & local politics, and I just didn’t have another project in me.  So a week or so before Halloween, I went over to TAP and ordered 425 2″ plastic squares.  Unfortunately, they were MUCH more than the $50-$100 bucks I thought this was going to cost.  MUCH more. 🙁

But at this point, there was no time to do another Halloween costume & I did really want to make the ULTIMATE Disco Ball costume, so I ponied up.

I ripped off the old mylar squares, and glued on the new tiles one by one (using special mirror adhesive so as to not ruin the mirrors themselves), made some internal improvements to the speaker mounting system inside the ball (added straps to hold the components in better) and voila – Disco Ball 5.0 was ready for the world!

Yes, it was crazy expensive and it is honestly pretty heavy - but I think the results are worth it 🙂 Is it the ULTIMATE Disco Ball? Well, we’ll see…

(Click for more pix)

* Really! I get emails from everywhere – this year I got a bunch & amusingly enough, one of the people who made one lived in SF AND I ran into her at random as I was walking down the street in costume!  Her pic is here (you looked AWESOME LULU!)

and here is another excellent one– nice work Jennifer!.

** I have yet to live up to this goal – I really want to be able to ride Halloween Critical Mass in full costume glory, but that never happens & I always feel lame… “I really have a cool costume back at home guys! It just doesn’t bike well!”


.ps If you are looking how to make your own Disco Ball – start with the instructions on Disco Ball 4.0 & then decide if you want to upgrade to Disco Ball 5.0 – the mylar squares were $1 a piece plus tax. Also make sure you buy special “mirror adhesive” – other glues will destroy the mirror’s silvering… 

Update 7/2014: Just got another email from someone who followed my instructions into the land of Disco Ball madness & hers looks awesome. Great Job Raneen!


14 thoughts on “Halloween 2010: Disco Ball 5.0!

  1. NICE job ‘Deep! Next step to Disco ballus unltimatus… built-in lights to bounce off of the mirrors. :o) Maybe some leds attached the speakers… get a technician on that! btw, I love that my birthday is your fav. holiday. ;o)

  2. I love the mirrors! AND THE PANTS !!!!! Where did you get the mirrors? And using the mirrors does this make it heavy? does it hurt your underarms if the edges of the mirror sharp? And the pants by far look awesome with it…Where did you get the pants?

  3. Hey Deep, Thanks for the shout out. You definitely made my night when I saw you walking – or shall I say dancing – down the street. Cheers!

  4. Carla – THANKS – the pants are from betabrand.com & the plastic is from TAP Plastics (link in the article)…. And yes, they were SHARP and somewhat heavy…

  5. You looked awesome! Disco ball 5.0 rocks. Thanks for the shout out. I thought I looked good, but then I saw disco ball 5.0 and I am determined to step it up next year!

    PS: You have some great dance moves Deep!

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