With virtually endless possibilities for Halloween costumes, it is always a better, more creative idea to make a costume at home. If you are going to a costume party as a Roman centurion, a riot cop, a superhero or any number of other characters, you will need to make a costume helmet. A helmet may not even be a part of your costume, instead acting as a support for some other piece. Whatever the case, making one from common materials at home should not be too difficult provided you keep an open mind.
This how-to will tell you some good ways to make a basic helmet-shaped costume accessory. After that, if it needs to be modified in any way, you can always forgo a few steps and augment it any way you choose.
Idea 1: Milk Jug Helmet
This first method won’t work if you have a large head, but for kids it works great. Take a clean, dry 2-gallon milk jug and cut it in half laterally. It does not have to be exactly half. Depending on the size of the head, give or take an inch. The top half with the spout has a more interesting shape, but you can work with either end.
- Next you're going to cover it in papier mache. Tear the brown paper bags into workable strips, dip them into the Papier Mache and water mixture and begin setting them all over the jug. Do at least two layers. It will take a day or two to dry depending on how moist the strips are. Make sure you coat the edge so it can’t dig into your head. With masking tape, you can secure any adornment you wish to the jug and cover it with Papier Mache, hardening it in the process. After it’s dry, paint it or decorate it however you wish.
Idea 2: Papier Mache Balloon
- Blow up a balloon to about the size of your head—maybe a bit bigger. Using dozens of torn strips from brown paper bags, cover the balloon with two layers of Papier Mache. After the initial form is dry, carefully cut it in half laterally and remove the popped balloon. The bigger half will be your helmet.
- Using cardboard cutouts, Styrofoam, or any other lightweight material that will hold shape, temporarily secure it to the Papier Mache with tape. Cover the shapes and the rest of the helmet with another layer of Papier Mache. This method is great for making even ostentatious helmets because the Papier Mache will hold strong.
- Now you're going to make internal head support. On the inside of your helmet, fasten two lengths of elastic band. The band should be between ¾ and 1 ½ inches in width. With the hot glue gun, glue each end of both bands to the inside of the helmet in the following manner: Glue one end of one band to the inside opposite your forehead and the other end directly across. The second band goes from side to side. The bands should not be long enough to run along the inner circumference of the helmet; rather, they should be shorter. That way, when they are secure, they will hold the helmet off your head a bit.
- Now it's time to decorate your balloon. After your shapes are secured with the Papier Mache – whether it’s a nosepiece, horns, or otherwise, paint or adorn your helmet however you wish.
The Papier Mache-covered milk jug or balloon will give you a strong shape to work with to make just about any kind of helmet. If you have a picture of what you are trying to recreate, you can imitate it with cardboard or Styrofoam shapes and adjust your helmet accordingly.