Introduction: Outbreak - Costume
I was worried that I did not have enough time to come up with a cool costume, especially with the bar that I set for myself with last years "Tiki God" costume. But, to my delight, a 5 minute idea and a couple hours of shopping and I put together this cool and VERY RELEVANT costume. I can't say that I have ever made a costume based on current news, but this one will surrely recognizable ;)
Step 1: Concept
I was struggling to come up with an idea, but after reading about the government buying hundreds of thousands of hazmat suits recently, I decided to go on Amazon and see how much they cost. To my surprise, the light weight paper/cloth suits are about $12. So I had a concept. I immediately though of the movie Outbreak and the SyFy show Helix, so I went about trying to find a picture of those outfits.
I didn't want to replicate a "real" suit. I wanted to create a movie version, thus I found this image online and tweaked it to my needs. I liked the face shield look over a gas mask. Walking around and dancing in a gas mask isn't for me. I also liked the utility belt/ military look to give it some character. So with this concept, I went shopping.
Step 2: Supplies
Unlike last years costume, where I built everything, this year I was able to piece together the costume from a few key sources. I also found it to cost less to build a costume from real stuff, then to buy a cheesy costume at one of those Halloween stores. Here's what I got:
- DuPont Tyvek light weight hazmat suit (found it on Amazon for $12, but then found the same suit in the Paint section at Home Depot for the same price... score!)
- Uvex "Bionic Shield" safety mask ( This took some looking on Amazon. Wanted a full face shield, to be able to see and be seen, and not look like a riot helmet. I found this for about $23 and ordered 2)
- Rubber Gloves (Found these in the paint section at Home Depot)
- Biohazard Stickers (These were surprisingly hard to find. I looked in Halloween Stores, Home Depot, etc... No luck. Finally found a ton of them at Zazzle.com.)
- LED tea light for the helmet (had a ton of these left over from a party)
- Military tactical harness (put this together at the local surplus place. Pistol belt, harness, and pouch to carry my wallet, keys, and phone. Once your in the suit, there's no access to any pockets, so you need something external.)
That's it. Pretty simple and cost about $75, $25 of which was the harness system.
Step 3: The Suit
The suit is simple, but there are ways to customize it to your liking. I started with covering up the DuPont sticker with a Biohazard sticker. I added additional biohazard stickers to my shoulders as well. I wanted black gloves, but after seeing the blue gloves. Figured those looked a little more authentic. And finally, I wanted to add that Military Liaison feel, so I put together the Harness system. All of the elements come separately, so you can mix and match to your tastes. As I said before, I needed a pouch to carry my stuff, and this works great.
The suit is a onesy, so your feet are in baggy booties. I recommend either pulling the booties tight and wrapping tape around the foot and ankle so that you don't trip, or slip them into some boots. I am going the taping route on Halloween. If it works for the CDC, it should work for me.
Step 4: The Helmet
When the face shield came in the mail, I was super excited. It looked just as cool in person as it did online. Minimal assembly, and I was already trying to improve it. It's very similar to a welding mask. Wrap around padded headgear with a face shield that flips up out of the way if you want to eat or drink. But when it's down, it looks legit and has already fooled some friends. I wanted to add that "movie" feel, highlight the actors face. So I grabbed an LED tea light, put some double sided tape on it for testing, and found a spot at the top of the inside of the visor to place it. Turned it on and walked into a dark room... Worked perfect. Depending on how far forward or back you place the LED, you can get a nice even illumination, or you can go high contrast and look creepy. I went for even.
Once I had my spot figured out, I used some hot glue to glue it in place and my "movie like" helmet was complete.
Step 5: Time to Freak Out the Neighbors
I never thought such a simple costume could draw so much attention. I was seeing what it felt like to walk around in it outside, and a couple neighbors were a bit freaked out. Thank you mainstream media... My costume is a success ;). I am looking forward to Halloween and seeing what the responses are as we take the kids Trick-or-Treating ;)
Since I was making costumes from my wife and I, I picked up a medical bag for her instead of the harness that I am using. Doctor and military liaison team.
If you wanted to add a creepy aspect to the costume, make a small tear in the glove and/or sleeve of the suit, then add some glow-in-the-dark face paint to your cheek bones, jaw, etc, and finish it off with a little bit of fake blood dripping out of the corner of your eye and nose. Oh you'll get attention, may even run some people off.
This costume is a blank canvas, have fun with it.