Homemade Neil Armstrong Costume

by Tad Cronn
The classic astronaut look.

The classic astronaut look.

Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

More than 40 years later, Neil Armstrong's phrase, "One step for man, one giant leap for mankind," still inspires people around the world. Astronauts are the modern symbol of the ultimate frontiersman, almost universally admired and seen as heroes. So that makes Neil Armstrong a natural choice for anyone going to a Halloween or costume party. With a little effort, you can make your own Neil Armstrong outfit at home.

The Spacesuit

All astronauts need a suit to survive the rigors of space. The traditional NASA-style suit worn by Armstrong was white and very bulky. For a costume, you could get by with an oversize white jumpsuit adorned with a NASA patch and an American flag patch. If the weather's not too hot, bulk up the suit with some foam padding in the shoulders, chest, waist, knees and elbows. Another option for the talented crafter is to obtain some hoops, such as those formerly used in skirts, and sew them into the costume. Use smaller hoops for the space suit's collar and shoulders, and a larger hoop for the waist.

Gloves and Boots

An astronaut needs a pair of heavy boots, which you can find at a military surplus. Use white MP boots if you can locate them, or else color a standard pair of combat boots white with shoe polish. A pair of heavy gardening or work gloves colored white will also be needed for your costume. When you are ready to get dressed, use silver duct tape around the edges of the boots and gloves to create the "metal" seal typical of spacesuits.

Air Tanks

In space, no one can hear you scream, especially if you forget your air tanks. Tanks used by Armstrong and generations of NASA astronauts pack compressed air and mechanical cooling and heating units into a relatively small package that can be worn on the back. If you happen to have a white backpack, use that. Otherwise, gather an assortment of cardboard boxes that you can tape or glue together in the shape you need, cover the assembly with white fabric, and Velcro it to the back of your spacesuit.

Helmet

Sometimes you can find an old helmet that will suffice in military surplus, but you can also make one. Blow up a small beach ball that's only a little bigger than your head. Draw with a felt marker a circle all around the ball's lower hemisphere. This will become the helmet's collar. Make it just large enough that your head can slip through the finished helmet. Draw on one side of the ball a shape for the helmet's visor. Carefully use papier-mache glue and paper strips to create your helmet, staying outside the visor area and above the collar line. When done, deflate and remove the beach ball and paint the helmet white.

About the Author

Tad Cronn is a professional journalist living in Los Angeles. His columns have appeared in the "Los Angeles Daily News," the "Seattle Post-Intelligencer," the "Orange County Register" and other publications. He is an award-winning illustrator, author of "The Lynx," and an experienced handyman, model builder and gamer.

Photo Credits

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