My son wanted to be a rocket for Halloween.  Not an astronaut.  A rocket.  A Saturn 5 rocket to be precise.  We had a ton of fun with this, and the costume was a real head-turner when he went out for trick or treating.  Also - you can't see them, but he drew "maps" all over the inside of his rocket.  Every spaceship needs to know where it's going!


- Picture(s) of a Saturn 5 rocket to serve as model
- 5 large pieces white poster board (3ft X 2 ft)
- 1 large piece foam core board
- white duct tape
- black duct tape
- silver duct tape
- clear packing tape
- coat hanger wire (bought smallest role at Ace Hardware and had lots left over)
- one pair suspenders - I used black ones with 2-inch straps and clip on ends and they worked great
- two ½-inch wooden dowels – 2.5 ft long
- 12 red and 6 white Aquabrite brand led submersible lights (square base with slow flash, fast flash and on positions)
- NASA and US flag stickers (purchased from the Space Store)
- 6 vertical "USA" signs printed on standard printer
- red, yellow and orange tissue paper
- pipe cleaners

Instructions - these worked for a kid about 40 inches tall.  A bigger kid may require larger dimensions.

1.  Using white duct tape, tape together 4 pieces of poster board into a roughly 4ft by 6 ft rectangle.  Overlap the pieces and tape both sides so you have a firmer connection.  This will be be wrapped into a cylinder roughly 4 ft tall, with a circumference of about 5 or so feet (depending on your kid).  Have your kid stand still as you wrap poster board around, and mark where to tape poster board to make a corresponding cylinder of comfortable size.  Do not tape cylinder shut yet.

2.  Lay cylinder flat on floor and measure its length at the point you marked your “wrap of comfortable size” in step 1.  This is "L."  L will be the circumference of the rocket cylinder.  W will end up as the height of the main body (excluding nose cone).

3.  Cut out superstructure from coat hanger wire:
➢ 3a. Cut 4 pieces of wire L minus 1 inch long (i.e., 1 inch short than L.  This will give you some overlap for your poster board).  Cut another piece about 2/3 L long.  These pieces will be wrapped into circles.  The shorter circle will be at the top - where the nose cone will attach.  These are the "cylinder supports."
➢ 3b.  Cut 4 pieces of wire 6 inches long.  These are the "cone ribs."
➢ 3c.  Cut 4 pieces of wire 6 inches long.  These are the "top ribs."
➢ 3d.  Cut 4 pieces wire 12 inches long.  These are "middle ribs."
➢ 3e.  Cut 4 pieces wire 20 inches long.  These are "bottom ribs."
➢ 3.f.  Make a small hook shape on each end of each rib by wrapping around some needle nosed pliers.  The hook should be just big enough for the wire cylinder supports to fit into it.

4.  Assemble superstructure.
➢ 4a.  Bend the cylinder supports into circles.  Attach the ends together with packing tape.  Don't worry abut this being a solid closure. The whole thing gets taped to the body of the rocket.
➢ 4b.   Connect the small cylinder support (the top) to the next cylinder support by hooking together with the cone ribs.  The ribs should be spaced equidistant around the circles.  Use copious amounts of white duct tape wrapped around the joints to stabilize and prevent sharp ends from poking your little trick-or-treater.
➢ 4c.  Connect the structure from 4b to the next cylinder support using the top ribs.  These should again be equally spaced and stabilized with duct tape.
➢ 4d.  Connect the 4c structure to the next cylinder support using the middle ribs.  These should NOT be equally spaced.  Instead, compress them onto the back 2/3 of the cylinder supports.  This makes room for a larger opening.  Stabilize with duct tape.
➢ 4e.  Connect the 4d structure to the last cylinder support with equally spaced bottom ribs.  Stabilize with duct tape.

5.  Attach rocket body to superstructure.  Wrap white poster board around superstructure and tape with white duct tape inside the rocket body across the entire length of all wires EXCEPT do not attach to small, top circle and cone ribs yet.  Note - the body should extend about an inch or so beyond the top and bottom of the superstructure

6.  Make first taper:  Make 6 equidistant lengthwise cuts (parallel to the cone ribs) in the top (untaped) section of the rocket body.  Overlap the poster board as necessary to taper body and attach to top cylinder support.  Now put white duct tape inside rocket body across all these wires.

7.  Make nose cone. 
➢ 7a.  Tape fifth piece of poster board into a 3-ft tall cylinder (i.e., long ways).  Make 6 equidistant 6-inch cuts into the base of the cylinder and the top of the cylinder. 
➢ 7b.  Spread out the base of the cylinder and use white duct tape to cover the resulting gaps and make a taper at the base.  The diameter of the base should be big enough so that the nose cone will sit on top of the taper you just created on the rocket body.
➢ 7c.  Compress the top of the cylinder to make the top taper of the nose cone.  Close it up with white duct tape
➢ 7d.  Attach the nose cone to the rocket body using white duct tape both inside and outside body.

8.  Cut opening.  In the middle section of the rocket body (where the ribs were compressed into the back 2/3 of the support) - cut an arched opening for your tricker treater to look out.  Duct tape all around the opening to prevent tearing.

9.  Attach suspenders.  Attach suspenders to the front and back of the cylinder support at the opening you just cut.  Experiment with your trick-or-treater to find the most comfortable position.  You may also want to use tape to hold the suspenders closer together across your kid's chest and/or back.

10.  Attach dowel supports.  This thing is top heavy.  So the dowel supports are necessary for your kid to be able to walk without tipping over.  I just taped them top and bottom in a comfortable spot for holding.  I used 1/4 inch dowels, but they snapped and I had to break out the duct tape for repairs midway through trick-or-treating.  So I'd use 1/2 inch if I did it again.

11.  Make and attach fins.  Cut 8 fin shapes out of foam board.  Cut slits in the rocket body just ABOVE the bottom cylinder support.  Insert fins so they are resting on the cylinder support and have about an inch of fin inside the body.  Attach with duct tape.  Be sure to tape BOTH sides of the fins or they will flop to one side

12.  Decorate!  Follow your picture of the rocket: - Attach stickers, use silver tape for capsule, black tape for patterns, attach vertical USAs with clear packing tape.  Crumple tissue paper and attach all around the bottom for "flames." 

13.  Light it up!  I added the flashing red and white LEDs down either side of the rocket (port and starboard style) and then hung a bunch of red LEDs off the bottom using pipe cleaners.  The bottom ones were then tucked inside the "flames."  FYI - my aquabrites lasted a LONG time - definitely more than 8 hours.  YMMV.

That's awesome! More kids should ask to be rockets for Halloween!

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