Walter White’s dark deeds are far-reaching indeed, and have crept into my very home. On Sunday night, the chain of destruction he’s set off will unwittingly affect the lives of two unsuspecting felines, who are dressing up for our Breaking Bad finale party. Well, technically, I’m dressing them up. But if there’s one thing I learned from the show, it’s that sometimes the innocents must suffer to achieve your dreams.
That’s the lesson I was supposed to take away, right? Is it that, or something about the road to hell being paved with good intentions?
In addition to the finale party, I’m getting a jump on my Heisenberg-themed Halloween costume. Cancer hasn’t been fun, but it really has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me Halloween-wise. I might shave my head every October. As I mentioned before, I kind of don’t mind being bald, I was never that great at having hair anyway, and it’s made me even more of a Breaking Bad fan.
Cat lady alert: I already have a tie for cats I bought at Target years ago, so one cat can be Saul Goodman. The other cat is going to be La Tortuga—specifically the head of Danny Trejo’s character mounted on the tortoise. Trust me, it will be the most adorable re-creation of a disembodied head mounted on a tortoise ever.
This most likely will be a little upsetting for the cat, but think about how the Tortuga DEA informant felt once he saw that big knife. Or what about the panic attacks and mental trauma poor Hank suffered after this incident?
Since I’ve clearly tried to dress up my cats before, I’ve found that they don’t mind the tie, because it’s lightweight and around their necks, and they already wear collars. They don’t like to wear things on their heads, and it seems that they’ll wear this costume for at least a little bit. The clever cat knows that I will eventually set her free if she will sit still awhile for photos—struggling only prolongs the indignities. So she cooperates for a bit in hopes that the ordeal ends swiftly, and with liver treats.
Below are instructions to create your own Tortuga cat costume.
You will need:
- Tape measure
- Fabric pen
- Green felt. I used an 8″ x 12″ piece, because that cost $3.10 at the local fancy knitting/yarn/craft store. A yard, by the way, is $76. Those are meth kingpin prices. I had stood up too fast while leaning over looking at the smaller pieces, and I’m prone to vertigo right after chemo, and the blood thinners aren’t helping with that. I was still a little dizzy when she told me this, and I thought I should pass out when she told me the price to demonstrate the reaction that price deserves. (Maybe she meant 76 cents?) But I’m not Skyler White. I can’t feign labor or physical trauma to get out of a sticky situation. So I just bought the little pieces, because I didn’t have time to go elsewhere.
- You can use my turtle pattern that I made up, or you can draw a better tortoise of your own. Mine isn’t very precise—I just cut it out as I went along. Precision isn’t my thing. I’m no Gale Boetticher, with a fancy notebook (and karaoke skills).
- A tiny piece of white felt, for the eyes. Or you can buy googly eyes at a local craft store.
- Tinier pieces of black or brown felt for the eyes.
- White thread and dark thread if you’re sewing on the eyes, or glue if you’re using googly eyes.
1. Measure your cat’s neck with the tape measure for the neck hole. If your cat is trusting and purrs while this happens, you might feel a little guilty. But ask yourself: WWWWD? (What Would Walter White Do?) He would pause for a second, and then manipulate that trust; that’s what he would do. “Nothing’s going to happen, good buddy. This is all going to turn out well for you. For both of us, really. Well, okay, just for me.”
2. Use my pattern and pin it to your felt as a cutting pattern, adjusting for the size of your cat’s neck. You’ll want the neck hole to be big enough to slip on, but not too big. (Mine’s actually a bit too big.) But keep in mind, if your cat has any sense, it will try to run away from you and your turtle costume, so make sure it’s fairly easy to slip on. Or use your fabric pen to trace the pattern, or a better tortoise shape, before cutting.
3. Cut out two tiny circles of white felt for your tortoise eyes. Or, if you’re using googly eyes, just glue them on.
4. Cut out two tinier circles of black or brown felt for your tortoise eyes.
5. Sew the white felt circles on to the turtle face with the white thread.
6. Sew the dark felt on top of the white circles to complete the eyes.
7. Capture your cat, slip the tortoise over its head and take plenty of photos.
For a more rigid tortoise:
After my tortoise was complete, I noticed it was a bit droopy. For a tortoise with more shape, you’ll also need:
- A second piece of felt. I used brown felt that I already had since I don’t have millions stashed in trash bins in the desert and couldn’t afford more green felt.
- Chenille sticks or pipe cleaners.
- Green thread. Ideally, you would have the right shade of green thread. I didn’t. But what has Breaking Bad taught us? When life takes away your pseudoephedrine, steal some methylamine. So I just used a different shade of green thread.
In step 2, pin the two pieces of felt together and cut them at the same time.
After step 6, you’ll sew the chenille sticks into the edges of the tortoise, between the two pieces of felt. Then you capture the cat.
ADDENDUM: Someone pointed out that for maximum accuracy, the tortoise shell should say “HOLA DEA.” You can add this with puffy paint or a paint pen, or you can embroider the message onto the shell.
Though I have the potential Saul costume, a friend had been lobbying for Todd as a cat costume. Since I’d spent most of my evening making cat costumes, I thought, “Why not devote my entire evening to making Breaking Bad-inspired petwear?” So I made a Vamonos Pest nametag.
Today, I will don my porkpie hat and watch the finale, though I will shave my head again before Halloween. In fact, the show provides a lot of costume ideas for a variety of medical conditions. When I spotted a girl in a wheelchair with a painful-looking broken leg contraption at a show recently, I thought that she could go to parties as Hector Salamanca. Crutches? Flynn/Walt Jr. Off crutches, but still limping? Hank.
Meth empires cause a lot of fights, so if you’ve been injured in a brawl—obviously, “you better call Saul”—and then you can go as beat-up Jesse, Walt or Saul. (Alas, my blood thinners rule out brawling, so this doesn’t apply to me.) Pregnant? First few seasons Skyler. Klepto? Steal things from your host’s home in character as Marie.
And of course, if chemo made your hair fall out, be Walt or Heisenberg. And make your cats your victims, er, accomplices.