Parade goers saw something a little out of the ordinary with a very shiny nose at the annual Toys for Tots Southern Oklahoma Children’s Christmas Parade on Saturday morning.
A group of volunteers and city community development employees puppeteered a long ribbony Rudolph puppet, something rarely, if ever, seen in local parades among the more traditional flatbed floats, decorated cars and first responder vehicles. Community Development Director Jessica Scott said she built the structure, based loosely on the dragon puppets used in Chinese New Year celebrations, in her garage.
“We wanted to show our community spirit and this is what we decided to do,” Scott said.
The team decided to participate in the parade back in June. Scott started building the float in her garage in September and completed it at 2 a.m. the night before the parade. She said she pulled inspiration from the parades held in Disney theme parks.
“That’s when I started coming up with different designs,” Scott said. “I really like how Disney includes the audience, so we wanted something more inclusive. A float that goes down the middle is great, but we wanted to be able to interact,” Scott said.
Scott said she sculpted a giant paper mache head around a giant balloon, then covered a dodgeball in red glitter to create the nose. The puppet’s ears were made from styrofoam hearts, flipped upside down to create points and the antlers were made from toilet paper rolls.
Hula hoops with metal poles attached held up the long, sock-like body of the structure and a plunger from the dollar store served as a steering device for its head. The puppeteers had little-to-no time to rehearse before the parade.  
Because of its design, the puppeteers were able to swoop over the youngest members of the crowd. One volunteer lovingly dubbed the uncanny creature “Flumpter the Reindeer” instead of Rudolph.
A sign that reads “The End” can be seen on the end of the reindeer’s body, a last-minute decision made by Scott.