Monty Python and the Holy Grail Costumes

For my college's 2004 Homecoming parade the theme was Hollywood. Participating clubs had to pick a movie and organize their entry around it. My gaming club decided to do Monty Python and the Holy Grail. After determining how many people we had who would participate we decided on the following costumes: We had a little over 5 weeks before Homecoming, plenty of time to do some decent costumes. Since my roommate and I were going to be the knight and page I started on them first. The page's backpack I made out of some wood I found by the dumpster outside our dorm room. After staining the wood I covered it with cotton muslin and used bolts to attach straps.

Page Pack Frame Side Page Pack Frame Front Page Pack Frame Platform Page Pack Frame Back Page Pack Frame Closeup Page Pack Frame Strap Mounting Wearing Pack Side Wearing Pack Back

The backpack needed a centerpiece, some outlandishly large and heavy object that we could hang other junk off of. An empty cardboard TV box was pressed into service as an iron-bound chest. A few coats of brown paint, come strips of black cardboard, and some brass parts completed the illusion.

Painted Box Side Painted Box Top Painted Box On Pack Side Painted Box On Pack Back Black Paper Strips Brass Hardware Detailing Box

A banner pole was made from PVC and our school's pendant was attached. After a successful test it was time to move on to the dead cart.

Pack Testing Right Pack Testing Left

The body of the dead cart is a 4'x3' platform with handles on one end. Unfortunately all I had to work with was a hand saw so the work was a little tedious. Once all the boards were cut I screwed them down to complete the floor of the cart. The deck was then aged with some dark stain.

Dead Cart Layout Dead Cart Frame Cutting Planks Attaching Planks

The wheels were going to be tricky. We managed to borrow a bandsaw and a drill press from another club. After a bit of trigonometry and constructing a jig we were able to get something resembling a circle. A bit of time with a sander and we had some decent looking 24" diameter wheels.

Tools Cut Wheel Finished Wheel

The axle of the cart is reinforced PVC. We needed the wheels to be removable for transportation so they were held on by end caps with a screw in them. The axle was attached with metal U clamps and bolts, only the wheels rotated. Blocks were added under the cart to raise the level of the deck.

Staining Cart Body Attaching Mounts 1 Attaching Mounts 2 Finished Cart 1 Finished Cart 2 Finished Wheels Closeup

While the stain was drying, the tabards for the knight and page were made from a sheet of cotton muslin and some iron on transfers. A cardboard template was made of the boar's head for the black knight and red spraypaint was used to transfer it to a black cotton sheet.

Tabard Layout Finished Tabard

The page needed to be able to herald his master's arrival so a horn was constructed from small PVC and a funnel.

Horn Parts Attachment Rod Trimmed Funnel Horn Waiting For Paint

The rest of the supplies needed were collected from various acquaintances and sources. The black knight's helmet was borrowed from a friend. I made a chainmail coif for the knight. A wooden practice sword was spraypainted silver and various and sundry articles were added to the page's backpack. 5 standard monk's robes were ordered from an online costume shop for the monks. A banner was made out of PVC and burlap. A triangle was made out of an aluminum rod for the dead cart caller. A coconut was found on the side of the road next to an out of breath swallow.

The day of the parade we all lined up at the staging area. Our group was 13th in line out of over 80 groups.

Parade Lineup Knight Parade Lineup Page Monks 1 Monks 2 Waiting To Start 1 Loaded Page Dead Cart Cryer

The parade went off without a hitch. The crowd got a kick out of the monks chanting and whacking themselves with textbooks. When we reached the judges stand our knight was announced by his page and he started a speech about being on a quest for the grail. Suddenly he was attacked by the armless black knight and they battled it out before quickly moving on.

Walking In Parade 1 Walking In Parade 2 Monks Chanting Hailing The Judges None Shall Pass Facing the Black Knight Black Knight Draws Knight and Page Bring Out Your Dead

And the final verdict? First place in the goup catagory. We overcame the injustices of the previous year and finally earned the respect we deserve.

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