Introduction: Handstand Man Costume

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In this Instructable, I will be showing you how to make on of the most realistic looking handstand man costumes that I've ever seen for VERY cheap!

You don't have to make it exactly like I do, BUT make sure that you do it the right way or else the effect will not work!

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Things you will need:

A fake head
Two fake hands, left and right
Assortment of clothes to cut
Sheer black leggings
Extra shoes


Skin tone spray paint

Step 1: Paint the Body Parts

Step one is to get some body parts.

What you will need is a fake head and fake hands.  Finding a fake head may be harder than you think it would, but at this time of year there are plenty of Halloween shops that have styrofoam heads lying around (but not exactly for sale).  If I remember correctly I got my head from a friend who just happened to have bought a bunch of styrofoam heads from some thrift shop.  If your head is styrofoam then it will be very light, which is important because you will be walking around with this thing strapped between your legs.  Also, make sure that there is some sort of neck, you will need a way of attaching the head to your body and the best way of doing that is to kind of run a strap around its neck and through your belt loops (more on that later).

The hands may be just as hard to find, mostly because you will need two identical opposite hands.  Most Halloween shops will sell hands and arms and everything else but only the left one, or only the right one.  The ones that I got (two years in a row successfully) I got from iParty.  They are very cheaply made (as you can see in the pictures) and are not very flexible, which are both things that I had to live with because that's all I could find.  If you look on the internet, most "Handstand Man" costumes use gloves for hands.  While I wouldn't recommend doing that, it can be a good fall back plan.  The biggest problem with gloves is that if they don't have hands in them, it's usually pretty easy to tell, so the whole illusion is already thrown off right there.

If you are very lucky (which I was not) you will not have to paint your body parts.  Since I was not lucky, I DID have to paint my body parts.  I found a good match for my skin tone with Krylon "Sweet Cream".  VERY IMPORTANT:  Styrofoam can be reactive with the spray paint, test out the spray paint first in a hidden area of the head, otherwise the outer layer of the styrofoam will start to melt and bubble and form a very bad looking surface.  Try to paint from a very far distance and only do VERY light layers to avoid this type of reaction.

Once done, set aside these painted parts for later.

Step 2: Assemble Wardrobe

Although this is probably the easiest step, there is some thought that went into my wardrobe selection.  Let me go into detail:

1:  You should probably be wearing regular clothes under the costume.  In the event of a "wardrobe malfunction" you don't want to find yourself stranded with your only clothes on upside down.  I just wore a shirt/hoodie and shorts underneath.

2:  I selected black pants to go over my torso and arms so that I could wear something black over my head to make it blend in better  (which helped because I was out in nighttime).  I chose a white long sleeve shirt to wear over my waist and legs because it helped to draw the attention away from my upper body where I was trying to hide my head.  It worked wonders, and the long sleeves covered my legs almost completely, this way my legs actually looked like arms if I kept them straight.

3:  The shorts that you wear on your actual legs should not be too tight.  The reason is that you want to be able to hike them up when you put the long sleeve shirt on over your legs.  When you do this, they will bunch up around your thighs and create a fake shoulder underneath the long sleeve shirt.  You can see this effect in the pictures.

4:  For your actual feet, wear some shoes that are very discreet and low to the ground.  You will be mounting the fake hands to your leg just over the shoes, and if done right, the hand will be clearly visible while the shoe underneath is hidden.  I used some black socks over the shoes to help the effect.

The only modification necessary in this step is you need to cut a hole in the bottom of your torso pants so that your head can fit through it.

Step 3: Mount the Body Parts

Here's where things can get a little awkward.  We need to attach fake hands to our ankles and a stuff a fake head between our legs.

The way I attached the hands was very primitive, but it got the job done.  I cut up the "wrist" section of the fake hands so that a flap was left.  Wearing a tall black sock, I aligned the hand above my ankle and duct taped around the flap around my ankle.  Crude but effective.  You will want to let the hand prop itself up using the tension of the tape.  In my opinion, the hands look better if they are kind of floating on an imaginary platform rather than dangling and resting on the foot.

For the head, I used a length of small white rope and wrapped it through my belt and down and around the neck of the fake head repeatedly until I felt as if it was pulled up nice and tight.  You could probably use anything that resembles a rope or thin belt for this, but the important thing is that it gets held into place firmly and that your pants will stay up under the extra load. When mounting the head, remember that anatomically speaking, the face should be pointing down, so that only the back of the head is exposed.

Step 4: Assemble!

Once you have all the pieces its just a matter of putting them on in the right order.  I would suggest:

1  Normal clothes
2  Fake head
3  Long sleeve shirt on legs
4  Actual shoes w/ black socks over them
5  Fake hands
6  Black headwear (leggings)
7  Black pants over head
8  Shoes on hands

At this point everything is in place, but you may need some help from someone to zipper the zipper and button the button, because if you have the pants on correctly, the zipper should be on your back.  You could also just have them buttoned and zippered before you put them on, but it may be a tight squeeze.

The last step (and this you will definitely need help with) is bringing the long sleeve shirt together with the black pants and attaching them together at various points with safety pins.

Now that you have a fully assembled handstand man costume you can go out and shock people.  When I wore this costume in Salem on Halloween, I found people doing "triple takes", they would look and go "whoah someone doing a handstand!", then look back and go "wait something is wrong", then look back a third time and go "ahhh, now I get it."  I'm pretty certain that a handful of people didn't realize that I wasn't actually upside down.

As I was explaining before, the trick to pulling of the illusion is to be anatomically correct and to attract attention away from where you are trying to hide your head.  To distract from the head, wear dark colors around the head and bright colors everywhere else.  To be anatomically correct, just look at a picture of a person doing a handstand and note what direction everything is facing.  There's no way that you could have shoes facing backwards but a head facing forwards.

Step 5: Flaunt!

This costume was a blast to figure out and design.  I love creating an illusion with my costumes (see my other instructables) and this one definitely hit a home run.  

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