The Awkward Phase presents: A Picnic Costume How-To

Claire Meyer and Tyler Gillespie, of the Awkward Phase Tumblr/live reading series, submitted this DIY guide to creating a picnic costume, much like the one featured in one of the site's most beloved entries.  

Claire and Tyler describe their site thusly: The Awkward Phase Tumblr was recently named a runner-up in Chronicle Book’s “Great Tumblr Book Search.” The stories we want to celebrate are warm, positive, and empathetic. We want to acknowledge the awkwardness, but not apologize for it."

The next edition of the Awkward Phase Summer Reading Series is Monday, June 17 at 7:30pm at the Annoyance, and features readings from Wes Perry, Joey Romaine, Irene Marquette, Carol Bontekoe, Rebecca O'Neal, and Caroline Thrasher. 

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Even as a 14 year old visionary, I never thought my picnic costume would be so popular eleven years later. Ever since this photo was posted on my inbox has been full and strangers (and CIA agents) have been stopping me on the street to ask about it. Questions like "who designed that masterpiece" and "can I borrow it?"

As much as I hate letting a secret out—I’ll share this one with you—that costume was homemade. By me.

June is the perfect time to start planning your next Halloween costume... This is also a great way to grab focus at your next BBQ. Here’s a how-to photo guide to make your own version of that famed Picnic costume:

You Will Need

  • 1 checkered tablecloth
  • 1 Pringles can (Recommended flavor: Sour Cream and Onion)
  • 2 paper plates (color of your choosing)
  • 2 paper napkins (preferably unused and clean)
  • 2 Solo cups
  • 1 ketchup bottle
  • 1 mustard bottle



Step 1: Ask your parents for money. Also, ask if they will drive you down the street to Walgreens or CVS in order to buy supplies. If you can walk to one of those stores, just ask them for money.


Step 2: Ask your parents for permission to use scissors. If they say "yes," take tablecloth and cut head-shaped hole in the middle for your head-shaped head. If they say "no," dump out Pringles and eat them as you contemplate life.


Step 3: Using that white tape they wrap broken fingers with, strategically place paper plates, napkins and Solo cups. Don’t be afraid to over-accessorize, everyone is invited to this picnic!

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This might take a while, but do not rush it – brilliance might take a minute.


Step 4: It’s snack break/dance/song time! If you haven’t already dumped out the Pringles and started eating, do this now, then refer to step one and buy more Pringles. [Sizzling Tip: A Pringles duck beak will always be hilarious. It’s a scientific fact.]


Step 5: Make sure everything is fully taped down/where you want it to be. Eat more snacks and be inspired by your work!


Step 6: Try on your handi-work. You look great – seriously, fantastic! Rock on.

Step 7: Check out and send us a submission. We’d love to hear from you.  Also, read Claire’s Awkward Phase post about the original Picnic Costume!

-Tyler Gillespie and Claire Meyer