The Snowball - a typical cardboard costume.

One of my cardboard costumes. This is the snowball - it is based on a cardboard ball covered in quilt batting - with about 40 LED lights illuminating it.

Parade costumes can be expensive and difficult to build - however, much can be achieved cheaply and easily with a few basic materials available in any hardware store.  My method avoids paper mache - which is horribly messy and slow to use. In the picture below - the apple, cabbage, potato, pickle and carrot are all made of hollow cardboard spheres made from cardboard panels stuck together with red "Tuck" tape on the inside and strips of glued kraft paper sealing the joins on the outside.  All the cardboard costumes in the picture below were made by one person in the space of about two weeks.  When painted and varnished, they are strong, light and quite durable and astonishingly effective in a parade.   In addition these costumes were all made for under $50.  The key to the whole thing is the correct cutting of the cardboard strips that can form a perfect sphere, or a cylinder - or any more complex form.  Using this method  I have built a bee costume, a tea pot, a spider and a snow ball.  This snowball has been used in winter parades, but you have to wear thick underwear under the tights.  I am currently (Jan 2014) in the process of making a strawberry costume for a local berry farm - it as some complexities never tried before so I will add a full report when finished.

Several cardboard costumes. Part of a prizewinning float at the Navan Fair - 2012 - the cabbage, potato, apple, carrot and pickle (The pumpkin was made by somebody else)

Santa's Parade of Lights - Orleans 2011 - a prizewinning float.

Snowball costumes being used in a Santa's Parade in Canada. In November-December, the temperature may be as low as -10 C.