The Boy’s Garbage Truck Costume

I am not an innovator. Every time I think I have an original idea, one Google search shows that 5 other people had the idea before me. Such is the case with my son’s Halloween costume. You see, he is obsessed with “trash trucks”. I thought, why not make a garbage truck costume for him. A quick internet search showed me several examples of what I was aiming for. Glue gun in hand and a large selection of cardboard boxes, I got started. Once I found the properly proportioned cardboard box, the hopper portion of the truck was really simple to shape. To create the beveled edges of the hopper, I used the pre existing creases that form the box bottom and top. I cut a couple inches off each flap, both top and bottom, to make more space for the torso and the legs.

One of the outstanding Google-garbage-truck-costume-pioneers had drawn diagrams of their costume design and shared it on their blog. While I didn’t use their method for the hopper, I did follow their pattern for the cab and the built-out portion of the hopper back. I figured, why reinvent the wheel? Especially when that one looked awesome. My husband had the idea to use plastic from a toy package for the windows and windshield. I think the effect is really stunning. I had planned to paint the logos but I ran out of time and ended up printing the WM decals and I found the MACK grill again, thanks to Google. I could have gotten more detailed but again, I ran out of time. The entire costume was made from things we had around the house, except for the paint. In the end. My little guy wasn’t over-the-moon with the idea of wearing the costume. He willingly wore it to take pictures and get candy. The toy trash cans, bought on Amazon, really made the costume more appealing to the little guy. I glued a bag in the trash truck in the space behind where the boy was meant to stand. The idea was that he would collect candy in the little can and then dump it over his head and pour the candy into the hopper. THIS aspect of the costume was a hit. Ultimately, I was really surprised by this lack of enthusiasm considering he loves to pretend to be a trash truck. He sets up buckets in the yard and runs a “route” picking up trash. He even makes sound effects complete with hydraulic hisses and beeping when he backs up. It really doesn’t matter, because I had so much fun making this costume. It is the first creative project I have done in a while.

Edit : I have made a very basic tutorial for to show my process for getting the hopper shape. I used the directions for the cab and the rounded shape of the truck back from the blog I linked to up above.


    • Thanks. Would you believe my boy wants to be a garbage truck again this year. Sadly we don’t have this costume anymore as it really got played with and therefore trashed. I’m trying to muster up the enthusiasm to make another one. I don’t have drawn out directions for the hopper. I picked a box that seemed like it would be a good size. The box has a natural crease on the top and bottom where the flaps to close it fold down. On those flaps, I cut a few inches off, from both the top and bottom flaps, then I folded the long side flaps in slightly to create the beveled shape of a garbage truck. The short end flaps, I left straight up and down. On those short end flaps, I folded the corners to match the angle of the “beveled” sides. Not sure if this makes any kind of sense.

    • I will try to get a basic tutorial together since I will be building another garbage truck costume again. It goes pretty fast once you get going. The first step is finding a box that will be good for the hopper and a size that is in proportion to your child.

  1. My three year? Wants to be a garbage truck. Yep. The whole family is going as vampires…and one garbage truck. Tutorial for dummies would be AWESOME!

    • 3 year olds 🙂 I threw together a super rough tutorial for the hopper. I hope it is at least a jumping off point. I am updating the blog post with a link to the tutorial.

  2. Hello! Thanks for the inspiration, I’m going to try it! Where did you find the Mack truck grill and WM graphics? Is it a cut out from internet? Thank you!

    • I painted it with a brush. I bought little sample pots of paint from Lowes. You can pick the colors you want from the paint chip samples and they will mix it up for you. The testers are fairly inexpensive and the interior house paint covers really well.

  3. Hi. Did you paint over the tape and cardboard box with regular paint? I didn’t know paint would stick to those materials.

    • I used latex paint from the hardware store. The kind you paint your walls with. I just bought the small tester pots. You can have them mixed to the color you like and they cost maybe $3 each. It worked really well in covering the tape and cardboard.

  4. The blog you link to said this got heavy. Do u think that’s true? I’m worried my 2.5 year old won’t wanna wear it because of the weight.

    • My son was almost 2.5 when he wore the first version I made. It was a bit heavy and it was cumbersome for him to walk in. He was not that into trick or treating so we only went to a few neighbor’s houses. He was thrilled with how it looked. The next year, he wanted to be a garbage truck again and I changed the design so that it strapped on like a backpack. He was bigger kid at that time but it was also a better design. I’ll have to take a look and see if I have any pictures posted of that one so you can understand what I mean.

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