I’m currently experimenting with possibilities for making a combo halloween costume that I could wear with my daughter this year, and I’d always wanted to be able to add a flair of the dramatic to costumes, and smoke is one of the best ways to do it. Especially when it’s just a touch here or there.
I want it to be portable, and affordable. Both of these are kinda requirements, honestly, for a once-per-year halloween costume.
In doing some research online, I saw an offhand remark from someone about e-cigarettes, vaporizers, whatever you like to call them, and the more I thought about it, the cleverer it seemed. The recent pivot in the nicotine industry had driven down the cost of e cigarettes to the point where I could buy a “V2EX Automatic EX Starter Kit for E-Liquid” for about $12 at my local gas station.
Keep in mind, that this is just the e cigarette, not the ‘e liquid’ or the nicotine-laden stuff that makes it go. By my understanding, that’s the far pricier bit.
So, e cigarette (rechargeable miniature smoke machine) in hand, I’d need at several more things: the fuel that makes it go (as I have no desire for nicotine or flavoring, I decided to forego the ‘e-liquid’), some sort of pump to operate the ‘draw’ that activates the e cigarette, and some way of getting the smoke from the e cigarette to where I want it.
The primary ingredient in ‘e liquid’ is a fun little compound called Propylene Glycol, and indeed you can buy it without the nicotine or flavorings much cheaper — if you have a Compounding Pharmacy anywhere near you, they normally sell it for probably about $10/pint — far more than you would conceivably need for a little smoke machine, but the point is that it’s cheap. It’s also available on Amazon Prime. You don’t need to mix it with anything, you can just pour it directly into the refill area of the e cigarette. Granted, you may want to get an eyedropper or syringe with a blunt needle to do it with, so you don’t make a mess.
Now, we need a delivery method.
I had initially been envisioning some sort of one way dinky little plastic air pump with some hose on it that I could hide either under an armpit or behind a pushable button somewhere on the costume, but while trawling Amazon, found a great option — a 6′ tube with a siphon pump. Going by its reviews, it’s made just as cheaply as the price indicates, but for our purposes — a one night costume — the price ($7) is right, and free shipping on Prime.
It is missing one-way valves, and I’ve got a set of those coming — again, Amazon Prime — but I don’t have them in hand quite yet.
In all, it’s come out to just about $30, $35 with the one way valves, and it feels totally worth it to add an incredible effect to a costume.
So, all things considered, I’m expecting to have a pretty fun instant smoke addition to a halloween costume this year. And with the leftover propylene glycol? Maybe I’ll just practice making smoke rings. :)
One friendly warning, though — you do not want polyethylene glycol. That’s a laxative. 💩