After skipping last year, we decided to enter the Halloween balcony decorating contest our apartment managers have.
We found some lighted cat eyes to hang on the balcony doors and the idea just took a life of its own from there. Initially, we were just going to create a giant black cat, but then my sister suggested the Cheshire cat and it became so much better!
I was just going to create paws, ears, and a nose with whiskers, but with the idea of the Cheshire cat came the possibility of a light up smile.
In the daylight you can see the Cheshire cat's eyes, smile, ears, and paws. At night you can see his eyes and smile like he's disappeared.
I drew up a smile "thumbnail" before drawing out the giant smile. Instead of the traditional Disney Cheshire smile, I went with more of an American McGee's Alice Cheshire smile. But, I did want it to be obvious that it was the Cheshire cat to everyone, so I used the pink and purple of Disney's Cheshire.
I bought a large 3-panel cardboard display board (the kind used for science fair project displays) and drew out the smile, then painted it. Once it was fully dry I used an X-acto knife to cut around the smile. Then, I painstakingly cut out the white parts of the teeth. I made sure the black lines between each tooth were good and thick so they'd be noticeable with the white cut out.
I used wax paper taped to the backside to make the teeth white to show up in the daytime. I attached a strand of white Christmas lights around the outer edge of the mouth to light the smile up at night. I attached those with tape and staples.
The paws on the railing (which I have no progress pictures of) were made with some puffy shelf lining. I drew one giant paw, cut it out, and used that as the template for the second paw, which was flipped so the claws on both paws face inward. The shelf lining was white, so I painted it pink and added a purple stripe to each paw.
The ears (also no progress pics) were just made using leftover cardboard from the smile.
I used the Halloween Town sign from 2 years ago, just flipped over and painted to say "We're all MAD here."