Make It a Cross-Species Halloween

Interaction designer Chris Woebken has taken Halloween to its logical conclusion: helping one species pass for another.

As nothing more than a weekend project—more of an autumnal joke, not a serious art project—Woebken decided to extend Halloween to man's best friend... and to dress a dog up like a cat, complete with eye holes punched in a custom-printed mask.

Make It a Cross-Species Halloween

It was a simple project, in case you're tempted to do it yourself: Using nothing more than a color inkjet printer, some light paper card stock, and a pair of scissors, Woebken pieced together the cat suit.

The trans-species, cross-dressing suit, worn for about ten seconds—enough to take photos—was loosely attached and made from a piece of paper. It was never something that couldn't be easily shaken off.

Make It a Cross-Species Halloween

Cats and dogs living together—mass hysteria!

The pattern itself came from the incredible array of 3D models hosted on a Japanese site called Raspera—this bald uakari monkey certainly has some potential for Halloween nightmares—using the program Pepakura Designer to turn his 3D model into a workable paper-craft pattern.

Working and designing across species lines is an ongoing project for Woebken (something he discusses at length in an interview I recorded with him for the book Landscape Futures).

In an earlier collaboration with designer Kenichi Okada, for example, Woebken devised so-called "Animal Superpowers," or custom-made fiber glass masks that would let human children experience the world as if filtered through the senses of other species.

Make It a Cross-Species Halloween

There was an Ant mask, a Giraffe, and a Bird. Each functioned as a wearable user interface that would alter—or, in a sense, translate—the sensory experience of that species into something a human could both share and understand.

The Ant mask, for example, included a tiny camera in the right "glove" of the costume, which made every move of even a fraction of an inch feel like several feet; users would slow down, crawling barely a centimeter at at ime, exploring every crack and divot in the ground or table top, reduced to the scale (and speed) of an ant.

They are more whimsical than scientific, of course, but they are also just awesome: well-made and concise expressions of the idea that species can communicate, and that designers can help to foster this interaction through well-considered objects and wearable technology.

Inter-species Halloween costumes are by no means as conceptually heady, but they just might give you the excuse you need—do you need one?—to take Fido with you Thursday night.

All photos courtesy Chris Woebken.