Last year, my girlfriend Libby convinced me to do our first couples costume and she chose The Maitlands from Beetlejuice with their stretched faces. We won and placed in several contests, found ourselves as a win on, and got to lead the local Halloween parade.  This was a tough act to follow, and this year our couples costume was my choice, so I went with a costume I have wanted to make since I was a kid: the iconic xenomorph and Lt. Ellen Ripley from the 1979 ALIEN.

I told myself if I could carve the head to my satisfaction I would go for the rest of the costume. Needless to say  after carving it out of insulation foam I was ecstatic with the results and went ahead constructing the rest of the body.

The chest was built off a black fleece vest with foam backer rods and upholstery foam for the ribs and chest details along with epifoam sheets for the shoulders. These were covered with paint, various tubing and other incidental items from around the house.

The stomach and arms are built off a long-sleeved tee shirt that is worn under the vest. The details were made from patched of corduroy, black cord, upholstery foam and backer rods.  I poked holes in the back for wooden dowels which I inserted into the pipes that stick out the back which were carved from the same foam as the head so as to get their iconic curved shape.

I used black military pants for the legs and glued upholstery foam and black cords on for the leg details.

I made slip-covers for my shoes that have the toes on them using nylon cord, carved backer rods and upholstery foam.

The tail was rubber insulation tubing around a bent piece of PVC pipe. I then glued plastic ribbed tuning to the outside and made the final section shapes using upholstery foam. I attached the tail to my waist using a military belt with a flag mount bolted through a piece of Masonite to the belt to secure it.

The head straps to my head via a bicycle helmet strap and the neck fabric hides my face.

The hands were build off common fleece gloves with cord, epifoam, felt and paint.

I work at a teen center which was where I built this costume piece by piece over 8 months. This was rewarding because the kids who go there got to see it be constructed and I got to inspire and be inspired by them as I shared the entire process with them. I spent many hours in their company as well as time after hours working on the costume.

For Libby it was important that she had more than just a pretty face and a flight suit while accompanying me on Halloween, so I built her the Nostromo Incinerator flamethrower that Ripley uses to search for the beast in the end of the film. I made the main structure out of a block of foam covered with foam board. The surface details were scrap pieces of wood from a laser cutting machine at a local dollhouse making factory that I glued on. I used two water bottles from a dollar store for the fuel tanks underneath. For the nozzle, I wanted an actual flickering flame, so I ended up using a battery operated flame torch prop which served my needs perfectly. I even made the buttons and patched on her jumpsuit. (minus the main Nostromo patch, we bought that)

Unbeknownst to Libby, my underlying goal this year is to use our costumes to win some contests and put the prizes towards buying her an engagement ring. We have been together for 8 years and she is the love of my life. I mean really, how many other girls would you find who would dress up as Ripley to fulfill a childhood dream? For me, using my talents to solidify and further our life together is the best way to show my love to her.