Halloween Bounty Hunter Costume

As our kids age out of Halloween costumes and trick or treat, the costuming seems to become more involved!  This year was initially going to be a medieval knight but pivoted in September to a Star Wars bounty hunter, no less than Jango Fett.  It’s not my first Star Wars costume, since I already have a dimunitive Jawa under my belt as well as a Death Star officer.

Jango Fett was more complicated, however, and posed a number of challenges, not least of which was the helmet.  In the end, I purchased an adult’s size Jango Fett helmet and his two pistols from Amazon.ca.  The rest of the outfit we made from EVA foam, duct tape, and a variety of adhesives!

Note:  this was made for a child – albeit one with a big head – so you will need to scale your duct tape to suit your size.

Gun Belt and Holsters

Jango Fett blaster holder. A toilet paper cardboard tube, coated in duct tape, with a shoelace to tie to the wearer's leg.

Jango Fett blaster holder. A toilet paper cardboard tube, coated in duct tape, with a shoelace to tie to the wearer’s leg.

These were perhaps the easiest.  Duck Tape-brand duct tape has a wide variety of colors.  I used brown tape for the gun belt and the holsters.  You can buy Jango Fett’s holsters online but the reviews were uniformly awful.  Considering how easy this is to make yourself, it seems a better – more reliable – option.

To fashion a belt, I cut a length of tape long enough to wrap around our son, plus a bit extra.  Then I cut a second length and placed the two strips, sticky sides facing each other, together.  This made a belt that I could then trim to suit.  I borrowed a belt buckle from another belt.

Each of Fett’s blasters are pretty narrow.  I used a cardboard toilet paper roll to act as the primary holder, and coated it with duct tape.  I taped a shoe lace on the inside of the holster, so that it can be tied to the wearer’s thigh.  The taped toilet paper roll is then connected by more tape to the belt, so that it hangs down properly.  Initially, I had a loop at the top so the belt could run through it, but the tubes kept slipping to the front and I ended up taping them in place.

Armor

I bought a 4 pack of EVA foam from our local Home Hardware.  I have bought the play squares from Walmart in the past and it was nice to start with dark gray and not have to worry about having to cover up a sunny color later.  In the end, one square of foam was plenty for all of the armor I made.

The armor pieces themselves were just pieces of EVA foam cut to size and covered with duct tape.  They consisted of:

  • two shoulder pieces, curved;
  • the chest pieces, cut to match Jango Fett’s
  • two thigh pieces (velcroed to the wearer’s trousers)
  • two calf pieces (velcro straps taped to the back of the foam)

The flat pieces on the chest were straightforward.  Cut, tape over, and hot glue or shoe clue to the vest.  The vest was made from black and white duct tape.  I cut 30″ lengths of black tape, and lay each one facing sticky side up.  I overlapped each of these pieces slightly, so that they formed a sheet of strips.  Once this sheet was about 15″ deep, I started placing strips sticky side down, so that the sheet was faced front and back.

Jango fett armor glued onto duct tape vest, which has arm holes cut and shaped foam on shoulders.

Jango fett armor glued onto duct tape vest, which has arm holes cut and shaped foam on shoulders.

I wrapped the sheet around my son, marking where the should holes should go.  These were U-shaped cuts from the top.  The shoulder straps would be made from shaped pieces of foam.  Once you have the arm holes cut, put tape from the front to back to make a shoulder strap.  I started from inside to inside, and then put a piece over that – sticky sides together – that connected to the outside of the sheet.  Taping the shoulder pieces onto those shoulder straps was straightforward then.

To make it easy to put on and take off at school, the front has velcro tabs.  The bottom piece of chest armor was glued on OVER this opening.  I then slit the foam with a sharp knife so that, when it’s on, it looks almost whole.

The shaped armor had me stumped for a bit.  I looked at a lot of online videos about how to do shaped foam armor.  In the end, I decided to just notch the back of the foam.  With that gap, I could then pull the two sides back, and glue them in place.

Use an Xacto knife or box cutter to cut a V-shaped notch in the back of the foam.

Use an Xacto knife or box cutter to cut a V-shaped notch in the back of the foam.

Once you have the glue in the notch – I found shoe repair glue worked best on this – put a couple of rubber bands around the foam to hold it in place.  Once it’s dried, you can then coat it in duct tape.

The end of a piece of curved armor after it has been glued and covered in duct tape.

The end of a piece of curved armor after it has been glued and covered in duct tape.

Wrist Armor and Rockets

Jango Fett’s wrist rockets were something I wanted to attempt but wasn’t really sure how.  I knew that I didn’t want foam armor, like the leg pieces, that merely had velcro on them.  From a previous Halloween, I knew these could slip.  In this case, I decided to use a pair of old socks.  I cut them off near the arch, and cut a thumb hole in the heel.  Then I could hot glue pieces of flat armor – narrow near the wrist and wider near the elbow – onto each sock.

An old sock becomes a fingerless glove and armor is glued on.

An old sock becomes a fingerless glove and armor is glued on.

Even in these days of zero tolerance, he was able to wear the dart wrist gloves to school.  I made them so they could be separated though.  The wrist rocket or dart consisted of two pieces of EVA foam, covered separately in duct tape, and glued together.  The top piece was smaller.  I used a cordless drill to drill a hole about halfway into the top piece from the end.  I stuck an old piece of metal (in my case, from a bird feeder roost) in the hole.  You could glue it but I left it dry, in case I needed to pull it out.

eva-foam-edgingThe dart tip is two pieces of EVA foam edging (you know, those little edge bits that stick out to enable the foam squares to be connected).  I cut two triangles and glued them together.  Then I shaped the resulting piece into a cone, and covered that with duct tape.  I then used the same drill bit as before and drilled a hole in the cone, and then glued it on the metal rod.

The Jet Pack

The iconic jet pack was probably the most involved part and yet, in the end, the easiest to assemble.  It consists of 3 Pringle’s-style potato chip canisters, a small cardboard box, a load of blue and silver duct tape, and a coat hanger.

I taped the two outside potato chip tubes first, with the hole open at the top.  They were taped directly onto the small cardboard box in the middle.  In my case, the width of the box + the two chip containers was the width of my son’s back.  The box was just over half as deep as the chip containers, so the chip tubes protruded.

Use your third potato chip can and cut a half circle in the box end. Then cut a rectangle out of the top. Put a cardboard brace inside the box to support the third tube.

Use your third potato chip can and cut a half circle in the box end. Then cut a rectangle out of the top. Put a cardboard brace inside the box to support the third tube.

Using the third can’s bottom as a measurement, I traced an arc on the top of the box and cut out a semi-circle.  It’s not very deep – it’s not as deep as half the chip can – and is just enough so that it sticks out of the box.  Then I removed a rectangle from the top.  The chip can sat nicely in there and I used some of the cardboard that I’d just removed to create a small support inside so that it wouldn’t sink at one end!

After a lot more duct tape, I added cones to the top of the tubes (cut a semi-circle of cardstock, tape it into a cone shape, and cover it in more duct tape).  The bottom rocket cones were just like the top, but I cut the points off.  A piece of duct tape inside the cone attached it to the bottom of the side chip cans.

Jango Fett jet pack from the outside. Blue duct tape makes nice highlights on the silver. I used a bit of the brown (belt) duct tape as an edging at the top.

Jango Fett jet pack from the outside. Blue duct tape makes nice highlights on the silver. I used a bit of the brown (belt) duct tape as an edging at the top.

I’d originally considered making the rockets removable.  If I were to do that, I would cut foam circles to fit inside the top of the potato chip cans.  Then I’d cut a circle inside those circles, to enable a wooden dowel or something similar to slide in.  Once the foam circles were glued into the chip cans, the dowel would be secure, but could slide up and down.  Then it would just be a matter of adding a rocket tip to the dowel.

One thing I didn’t see when looking at how other people were creating their (far more elaborate and realistic looking) jet packs was how to attach it to the wearer’s back.  Jango Fett doesn’t appear to have shoulder straps, and I wasn’t interested in replicating my son’s suggestion, which is that it was magnetically attached to his back armor!

In my case, I cut two very small holes in the back of the cardboard box.  I then bent a coat hanger so that it had a large loop, and two bent ends.  One each went into the two holes on the back.  The loop could then be slid into the back of the chest armor vest (or a winter coat or whatever) by anyone.  By making the loop as large and spade-like as possible, it meant the jet pack wouldn’t twist around.

Wire coat hanger to make putting on and taking off the jet pack as easy as possible.

Wire coat hanger to make putting on and taking off the jet pack as easy as possible.

I think we may be on the hook for a medieval knight next year, so I’m keeping the 3 remaining squares of foam around to practice making some helmets.  And I’ll be confiscating our son’s medieval armor books so that I don’t end up having to make some Renaissance helmet that is really fancy.

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