It wasn't anything spectacular but it had all the requisite pieces and it made my son's chest puff up with pride every time someone pointed him out with, "Look mommy/daddy! It's Bob the Builder!"
Obviously, I did not make the overalls. Most boys have a pair of jean overalls or you could probably borrow a pair from a friend. The cheap plastic hard hat was easiest enough to find at a party store, I stapled an elastic to it to form a chin strap (windy nights). The tool belt was a length of reflective tape that I sewed a few loops into to hold the tools and then attached a plastic buckle to. The Bob the Builder doll was his own addition.
What everyone wanted to know was where I got the shirt. Bob wears a red and orange checkered shirt, which I believe was specifically designed that way to rope you into buying the official costume because: (a) you'd never be able to find a pre-made shirt in those colours or, (b) find red and orange checkered fabric to make the shirt from.
|My unlicensed Bob greeting the likely also unlicensed Bob at the pumpkin patch.|
The shirt is a cheap clearance red shirt from Walmart. I took an old sponge and cut it into a square stamp and used orange fabric paint to paint on the checkers. This was not the easiest way to do it since orange doesn't show up well on red and sponges aren't the best paint stampers. But this shirt was made one day before we needed it... Otherwise, I would have searched for an cheap orange shirt and found a piece of foam with which to stamp red paint checkers.
In any case, there you have it. An home hack of the Bob orange and red checkered shirt. Just remember to lay some wax paper/newspaper between the shirt layers so that the paint doesn't bleed through while you're stamping. And buy the shirt at least a size bigger if, like us, you live in a cold climate and your little one needs to wear a jacket under his shirt on the big day.
This technique could probably be applied to any strangely patterned Hallowe'en costume. I wouldn't recommend it for real clothes though, it definitely does not offer the classiest finish when viewed up close :)