Introduction: Toy Green Army Man Halloween Costume

Picture of Toy Green Army Man Halloween Costume

If you were once a kid like me, then you probably played with little plastic green army men.  They were one of my favorite cheap toys from childhood.  And if you have kids like me, then you are familiar with the movie Toy Story.  My favorite Toy Story character is not Buzz or Woody, but the little green men hopping around yelling 'hutt, hutt, hutt'.  When the annual halloween party that my family attends went with a Disney/Pixar theme, I knew I had to BE a toy green army man.

With the right clothes this is actually an easy outfit to make, is inexpensive, very original, and will be a hit at your costume party.

Materials you need:
Jacket - I used an Army BDU from Ebay.  Or try an Army Surplus
Pants - Army pants or any cargo pants that have leg pockets
Utility Belt - Another Ebay or Army Surplus purchase
Panty Hose/stockings
Toy Gun
Plywood scrap
Primer - aeresol
Green Paint - About 12 aeresol cans

Step 1: Select Your Green

Picture of Select Your Green

When I began this project, I picked the cheapest, most readily available green spray paint I could find.  They were around one dollar per can and I used about a dozen.  You will also need primer.  The clothes just soak up the paint without it.

Next, I purchased several versions of green halloween facepaint to try to match the spray paint.  I was not happy with the results and went another direction (pantyhose).  More on that in step 5.

Step 2: Prime / Paint Clothes

Picture of Prime / Paint Clothes

The MOST IMPORTANT step in creating this costume is the primer.  I tried to pant the pants without primer and it just soaked up the paint.

Prime the jacket, pants, shoes, and utility belt.  The primer will make the clothing stiff, but it is the only way to get a consistent green on so many different types of surfaces.

Paint all the items.  This will take 2 or 3 (or 4) coats.  You will know how much paint you need once you start painting.

Again, the more layers of primer and paint that you apply will stiffen the outfit.  But once you start wearing it, it will loosen up.

Step 3: Baseplate/Foot Piece

Picture of Baseplate/Foot Piece

The baseplate that you stand on is really the one accessory that makes your costume look like a real toy army man.

Freehand draw the shape of the baseplate onto a scrap piece of 1/4" plywood based on an actual toy army man.  It is almost 3ft long and 18in wide and looks like a golf green.

Cut the shape out with a jigsaw and sand as needed.

Prime and paint.  Again, PRIME first so that all the items will be the same shade of green.

I used three short screws and from the bottom of the baseplate screwed through the board and into the sole of ONE boot.  I only attached one boot so I could walk around.  When I stopped, I could just set my other foot in the proper position.

Tip:  You can actually cut the baseplate into two halves and screw each piece to its respective boot.  Then you can walk easier (like a set of snow shoes).

Step 4: Prime / Paint Accessories

Picture of Prime / Paint Accessories

The helmet I used was a child's plastic army helmet.  I tried on a real army helmet at an Army Surplus, but it didn't fit as tight on my head as I thought it should.  The child's plastic army helmet fit perfectly around my head (okay it was a little tight), and it was only a few dollars.

Any toy gun or rifle will work.  I found a black machine gun at a halloween superstore.

I used a utility belt and pouches that I bought from Ebay for under five dollars.  An Army Surplus has a lot of different versions to pick from also.

Prime everything first and paint.

Step 5: The Faceless Man

Picture of The Faceless Man

I tried several different green face paints to find a color match.  I also tried to mixing green with red, black, and white to make a green that matched.  All were unsuccessful.

This is where the balloon and panty hose were used.  I cut the feet out of a pair of panty hose for use over my hands.  I used the ..ummm... 'main' portion of the panty hose to go over my head.

Put the balloon in the 'main' portion of the panty hose and inflate to somewhere near the size of your head.  This is the one place I DID NOT use the primer.  Since you are going to be wearing panty hose that are spray painted, you need to breath as much as possible.

Hang the balloon and paint the panty hose green.  I only used a couple of coats because I didn't want the paint to gum up or stick to the balloon.

Repeat for the 'gloves'.

Step 6: Stand Still

Picture of Stand Still

Strike the Army Man pose.

Hang out with all of your favorite Toy Story characters.


DarrylB7 (author)2015-10-18

How did you drink/eat with the pantyhose over your face? did you have to lift it every time and just bring it down when it was time to post for pictures?

jackklauber (author)2014-10-23

In total, how much do you think you spent on the costume? Also, how fast does the paint/primer dry? I have to make a costume for tomorrow...

TheMrCOOLguy2 (author)2013-10-27

Wait did u go to sleeper state park with these? I saw a set if three that looked exactly like this!?!

JT3OSU (author)TheMrCOOLguy22013-10-31

Wasn't me. I have seen a lot more green army men pop up the past few years after I posted my Instructable.

sconner1 (author)2013-10-03

I think stiffness of the clothes will help the look of a plastic figure.

aceface1200 (author)2013-09-05

Do you have to put on the primer? Couldn't you just put on the green spray paint. Or grab a bucket of paint and brush and start painting it? Cause I'm getting ready for Halloween already and this year I have to make it!

JT3OSU (author)aceface12002013-10-01

Sorry for the late reply. I recommend the primer. If you just use spray paint it soaks into the clothes and you don't get the right effect. And it takes a lot more paint.
Good luck on your costume. Come back and post a picture if you make it.

IronSheik (author)2012-11-01

I did this costume this year, turned out great, helmet is not pictured.

I decided to use costume makeup on my face/hair, and I just spray painted my hands

KingOfCatfish (author)2010-10-05

The only down side to this is that painting over, or removing, the brightly colored tip on a toy gun violates Federal Laws.

I love the costume, I have a son at college who still ask me to make cotumes. He would be suspended for bringing even a toy gun to college.

you could make the minesweeper guy, put a frisbee on the end of a broomstick and wrap with some wire. paint it green and put on a backpack.

hgarmorer (author)BobMarleyFan2012-10-01

Minesweeper FTW! great idea

Yeah, the nation wide ban on guns on campuses is a bit useless. If people (as long as they can legally own it) were allowed to have a firearm on school grounds it would be a deterrent for homicidal maniacs. When someone wants to inflicts massive amounts of damage with a firearm they go places where no one can fight back, i.e. where almost no one can even have a firearm, such as schools. Oh well, this is only my opinion.

I totally agree with your thinking about carrying firearms at public places. I might even push for making it  legal on airlines. It will make Al Queda operatives think twice before trying to hijack a plane!

Ha-ha! Very much so! It might sound "scary" to someone who has no idea what responsible firearm ownership means, but it's nice to hear someone else who is like minded!

I am not opposed to guns especially since we had someone break in and kill out dog some years back. Yet I can for see people perhaps getting killed accidentally because " I thought they were an intruder". I am sitting on the fence. On the flip side I did make my son a cool jack in the box costume he is a resturant spoke person but not well known outside of st louis area.
thanks for sharing your great costume, Someday I might try it on a small scale grandchild when i have them.

seabananers (author)craftyrn19592010-10-13

he could be the mdic or may bye the guy with binoculars

Very true! You could make a backpack sized fake field radio, or even a piece of PVC pipe to look like a "Bazooka".

dc0de (author)KingOfCatfish2010-10-05

Yeah, cuz that stops the gang bangers from putting ORANGE/RED tips on their REAL guns in LA.

Dumbest law on the planet.

This is an awesome '-able, with the GREEN gun and all...

KingOfCatfish (author)dc0de2010-10-05

No, the reason that this law was enacted was because toy guns have the ability to look quite real with out these brightly colored tips, and this has caused people to become injured and even killed. I agree that people should not be so stupid that they point a toy gun at someone who they do not know or that has a real firearm (i.e. a police officer), but this is still a Federal Law we are dealing with. If laws are seen as unfair then there is a procedure that is to be gone about to have them changed, not just blatantly break them.

dc0de (author)KingOfCatfish2010-10-05

Oh, I know why the liberal left enacted these laws, the fact is, they are now being used against the police and others, by real criminals, who paint them on their REAL WEAPONS. The police then do NOT react, seeing the bright orange/red tips on these weapons, and are then surprised by a hail of real gunfire.

Great Law... no one would EVER suspect that....

Stupidity knows no limits...

KingOfCatfish (author)dc0de2010-10-07

I agree that these laws we're enacted as a political move, and with out regard to the police officers.

There is no law requiring orang tips on toy guns. Manufacturers do it on their own to limit their liability.

KingOfCatfish (author)dc0de2010-10-07

Oh, and people can be quite stupid. Someone does something stupid, they get hurt, then hire a lawyer, sue someone, then a politician makes a law about it.

More likely the storm trooper cop shot the kid 'off the cuff' and then lied saying that he pointed the EFFING TOY GUN at him.
Too many cops do harm and get away with it.

That was just one example, feel free to research this further, it's an old law, from when toy guns were still made with metal.

Anything you say your Fishness.

Ha-ha! That's a new one.

dc0de (author)KingOfCatfish2010-10-05

Right... cuz you never speed....

eoutlaw (author)KingOfCatfish2010-10-12

Aww, man. I'll go as the dude with binoculars and the utility belt I guess.

JT3OSU (author)2011-11-02

I wanted to share an update with all the green army troopers out there. You can find my green army costume on USA Today online in the Pop Candy blog.

Thanks for posting my picture, Whitney!

SammyG852 (author)2011-10-31

I followed your instructions and it paid off! Won a costume contest at a bar. Cash prize of $1000. Everyone loved it, so thanks so much for the instructions! I took pictures along the way too, and when I get some time, I'll upload the entire process as well.

SammyG852 (author)SammyG8522011-11-01

Just an update, but I won my second costume contest in 3 days. On Halloween night I went out and won a $300 costume contest. I can't tell you how much attention I got all weekend. Great job on the instructions!

JT3OSU (author)SammyG8522011-11-02

Wow! I thought I was doing good for winning $100 at a work contest. Great job and great pose.

lcanestrare (author)2011-10-25

First let me thank you for the amazing instructions...costume is underway and so far so good. I just have one question though. The host of the Halloween party we are going to is a bit OCD about the cleanliness of his house and I just want to make sure the paint on your clothes didn't leave any residue behind. Thanks again!

JT3OSU (author)lcanestrare2011-10-27

To be honest, yes the costume shed a little dry green paint 'dandruff'. Not a lot, however.

lbonita (author)2011-10-19

what did you use to do this?? I have an original soldier uniform but I dont know how to do this, I am not familiar with the word it paint or what is it??

JT3OSU (author)lbonita2011-10-23

Prime is just a base coat of a special type of paint (primer) that covers better than normal paint. You can buy spray primer the same place you buy spray paint. If you don't use the primer first, then the color paint will just soak into the clothes.

Sketch98 (author)2011-10-22

You could wear a morphsuit

boomerrang68 (author)2011-10-12

Really great stuff was my green soldier.

JT3OSU (author)boomerrang682011-10-13

Thanks for sharing the picture. You look great. I'm glad so many other people of made their own costumes.

Is your outfit really that shiny or is just the flash? If so, how do you get it that shiny? It looks more like the toy that way.

boomerrang68 (author)JT3OSU2011-10-13

thanks..I used Latex paint.and man the fumes were killing me!hahaha..won first place at our halloween party!(like always)*wink*

falloutman19 (author)2011-10-09

I did this when me and my friends played laser tag not only were we awesome we looked awesome as well

dindanpacman (author)2009-12-17

 I had to bleach my shirt first, but the combination of bleach and paint was too much for the shirt so it ripped when i put it on. aside from the unbearable stench of bleach and spray paint, it turned out pretty awesome.

 I also replaced the plywood with some of those UPS plastic envelopes which made walking a whole lot easier.

w.bartlett (author)dindanpacman2010-10-07

I used the dollar store bristle boards with the foam in the middle, then traced my boots and cut out the foot print, then placed boot in and pushed up to just clear the sole and hot glued all the edges, easy-light -and is a snap to do.
Also I did the sand plastic army man costume as i had the tan pants and jacket already. I didn't want to use paint on my clothes, also saved me lo$t of cash as paint in Canada isn't cheap $6 a can, then I also used my empty cans and made a bazzoka, it's not in the pics but I will load one.

w.bartlett (author)w.bartlett2010-10-07

couple more pics

kbraga (author)w.bartlett2011-10-04

I love your costume, I'm definitely doing this for next year :)

I was wondering what you used for your face and hands??? I'm tempted to use gloves but I don't want it to show that ..well I used gloves lol what material worked best for you?

JT3OSU (author)w.bartlett2010-10-10

This is great. Very authetic. Tell me more about the 'bristle boards'. It looks good in the picture, but I'm not sure what you're talking about.


w.bartlett (author)JT3OSU2010-10-10

Hi Thanks for the question.

It is the same size as bristol board and is a $1 it looks like vinyl but it's bristol board on both sides with about 1/4" white foam in the middle, some people use it for sign board for yard sales, or for school projects. etc. wall Mart also has it and sometimes in black ,it will be in the stationary department or ask.
This picture was taken so I could see the flaws I needed to fix before I wear it out. If you look close you can see where I cut the board and the white foam is showing, I just painted the edges and is now not noticeable. Hope this helps.

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