For as long as I can remember, my very much full grown, adult husband has been like a little child when it comes to his favorite childhood video game, Halo. From the very first Xbox at age 12 til today, he has been all Halo, all the time. I think most women know a thing or two about what men can be like with their video games. :) This year, I decided to surprise him by creating him his very own Master Chief costume based on the iconic Halo protagonist.
In order to construct the costume, I studied hours of video game footage on YouTube (yes, I know) and spent countless hours viewing the different incarnations of Master Chief over the years. I came up with my own design by incorporating the elements I liked most from each design and created a completely unique armor layout. This was really important, in my opinion, as creating a unique and original costume is about capturing the “spirit” of the character, not necessarily every single detail. I think taking artistic liberties is what allows you to really make the costume come to life as your own creation!
The costume is constructed entirely of EVA foam, some from yoga mat material and some from thicker children’s playmats (the puzzle piece kind). Each piece was designed by me on paper, measured meticulously over and over on my husband’s body, and then drawn out as a net on card-stock. I then cut out the nets, assembled them with painters’ tape, and then fitted them on my husband. Because the foam was much thicker than paper, I’d then adjust upwards for sizing when copying the template onto the foam. Each piece was cut with a box cutter, heat sealed with a heat gun, sanded and/or Dremeled, and then Plasti-Dipped and painted with spray paint. A few tips I learned: Plasti-Dip everything because foam is basically a sponge; and pay attention in geometry class when you’re 12, because that stuff comes in handy when you try to make shapes!
The helmet contains a yellow motorcycle visor, and the entire costume is Velcroed over top of a black morph suit. The Velcro was the hardest part, because it was really hit or miss on how well it glued to the suit. We also bought hockey pads and spray painted them black to create the “big” look of the soldier. The character is also supposed to be 7 feet tall (poor hubby doesn’t even crack 6 feet), so I used old platform combat boots to build foam boot pieces onto.
Altogether, the costume took about 120 hours. There is absolutely no substitute for time when it comes to this kind of detail work! He won the local costume contest and had his photo taken with countless adoring young gamers everywhere. Despite the crazy amount of time and energy the costume took, it was totally worth every second being able to see the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on my husband’s face!