Rock'em Sock'em wow!

Wade Young,

This year’s Halloween costumes by Thomas Hoppert of New Market are the Rock’em Sock’em Robots. Hoppert is pictured in one, a friend in the other, and his wife, Kim, is the referee. (Photo courtesy of Thomas Hoppert)

Thomas Hoppert takes Halloween to the next level.

For years, he has dressed up in elaborate homemade costumes for what he calls his favorite holiday. His previous creations include the Yip Yip Martians from Sesame Street, Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth, and Captain Obvious!

However, this year’s costumes are his most elaborate, and time-consuming.

Over the course of three weeks, Hoppert, a New Market resident, built red and blue Rock'em Sock'em Robots in his garage. Inspiration for the costumes came from the vintage battling robots game, which was released for sale in 1966, and a website with a template.

“They’re cardboard, a ton of hot glue and nine rolls of (colored) duct tape each,” he said. “My thumbs are bruised from ripping the tape all of the time, getting it around the edges.”

Each robotic leg is comprised of three sections, and each section is independent from the body, Hoppert explained. The arms are also independent from the body so the wearer can rock’em and sock’em.

The costumes come to life with LED eyes and other accessories.

Hoppert and a buddy of his debuted his creation last weekend at a costume contest with his wife, Kim dressed as the referee. They took first place.

Of all the costumes he’s created, Hoppert said these are the most elaborate.

“I don’t think I’ll ever do something like this again, but you never know,” he said.


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