Quail Costume

This summer, I lived in a trailer on my mom’s property. It turned out that quail also lived there. They lived on top of, underneath, and next to the trailer. They yelled a lot and woke me up. Needless to say, I hated them. But they are cute, so I thought I’d make a giant one, so that they might see me as their Overlord and I could command them to stop yelling. (When they yell, they say “Reh eh eh”. It’s annoying, but I learned how to do it perfectly so that I could have call-and-reponse battles with the quail, who probably wanted to either kill me or mate with me. I also annoyed my roommate a lot. Anyway…)

The first step was creating a form out of chicken wire (David says quail wire, to be funny). My mom had some, but it was very rusty. That was the first problem, although it wasn’t really a problem except for maybe tetanus. But we turned out okay. Anyway, I started with a chicken wire tube and smooshed it into position (with the assistance of wire cutters and a lot of tiny wire ties to hold everything together, and eventually it turned into this vaguely quail-like mutant bean-shaped thing.

chicken wire (or quail wire, if you prefer) body

The second step was attaching a buttload of quaily extremities, like wings, the tail, and the topknot which will from now on be referred to as the quail “fweep”. Once all of those lovely things were attached, it was time to start taping. It required a layer of duct tape on the outside and on the inside, so that the wearer wouldn’t be stabbed by rusty tetanus prongs.

duct taping the body

This is the inside of the body, with all the duct taping finished. I wasn’t really thinking about heat when I chose black duct tape, and the fact that I live in California may present heat-related problems while wearing this costume. But that’s fine.

duct tape on the inside

The next photos show the body, and eventually the wings, covered in tape. Taping hurts a lot, and I was making very slow progress. Tearing off a bunch of duct tape tends to remove skin as well, and I only had a small amount of hand-skin to sacrifice.

the body covered in tape

taped wings

As previously mentioned, taping this thing was horrible. So I decided to stop while my hands regenerated and I redeveloped the blood that I lost from the chicken wire. This took approximately 6 months. Fast forward to January, my boyfriend David and I are living in the trailer once again and we got tired of sharing our space with a giant oily looking bird facsimile. So we decided to finish the damn thing. The rest took about 15 hours of work, much speculation over construction materials in Rite Aid, more skin (four hands’ worth), around 6 rolls of duct tape, yogurt containers, fluff, and irritation.

construction completed

We are champions.

pecking at flowers


completed costume

Luckily for us, quail have big black chins that worked conveniently well to see out of. This was no easy feat. To accomplish this screen that masks the wearer but lets them see out of the costume so as not to die, we sewed the control top portion of a pair of black stockings onto the costume. Sewing a control top through eight layers of duct tape is hard work. It really is. Unfortunately you can’t tell that we did this, as we taped over the stitches to achieve more continuity. But we did sew, and this paragraph exists primarily to validate our effort.

close-up of screen

This is simply a picture of the back. The streaks are supposed to be feathers.

close-up of back

Here you can see the inside. The harness is made out of bungee cords hooked into the chicken wire. It is uncomfortable but very satisfactory as a harness.

showing the underside

Here we are, posing with the finished product. CHAMPIONS OF QUAIL.


us with the finished quail costume

Do you want to see a video of the quail costume in action? If you do, THERE IS A VIDEO.


10 Responses to Quail Costume

  1. Nancy Bergesen says:

    You are too awesome for words. I love the quail costume. FANTASTIC! and hilarious. Thanks for our great Indian dinner it was delicious and fun to get to know David.

  2. Kirk Lagoon says:

    omfg. can we fit this into the tunnels?

  3. Pingback: Quail Costume | That's So Grosse

  4. Lynn says:

    I expect to see it for sale on Craig’s list or eBay.

  5. Albert Camus says:

    My roommate and I are in love with you. It started with the Quail Family Robinson (they live in our neighborhood) and after many attempts to assimilate with them we realized we probably needed to look a bit more like them. And then, after google searching quail costumes, I stumbled upon your glorious invention. My roommate is thinking about making one for halloween, but she’s worried about the amount of work that has to go into it. I like to remind her that it’s not just a halloween costume; it’s a life costume. And that’s all that matters.

  6. Yolanda Godsiff says:

    woW this is such a cool costume that i just have to have!!!!! would u consider selling it??? i would be the talk of the town if i walked into the costume party wearing this

  7. Nathan buckely says:

    love the artistic falir here. very helpful and interesting. I am so blessed to have stumbled upon this wonderful creation. Will definitely look here for inspiration in creating my very own quail costume in future. #quailsunite

  8. Brydie Godsiff says:

    Wow this is amazing, really inspired me to be the quail i was made to be. Thanks a tonne guys love your work, keep it up. xoxo #quailsunite

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