Man in a Box Halloween Costume




About: I am a huge fan of Do it Yourself and I love to get my hands dirty. Three of my Instructables have been featured so far and the community here is amazing, I want to say to everyone. Don't let an idea become...

I know what you're thinking, he must have spinal injuries after wearing that.

This year I had a Halloween party and I thought I would keep up with tradition and make my own costume. I have also added a few pictures of my party including my Flaming Graveyard Bar that I created.

So here goes:

It’s expected of me now. Making cool Halloween costume’s that is. Every year I try and make something for Halloween, don’t get me wrong I do love the costumes in the shop but man are they pricey, plus I also love a good bit of do it yourself (DIY).

So I set out to make another outfit, last year I created one of my favourite Halloween costumes living Facebook profile, it was a huge hit. This year I did my best to beat it! With you being the judge of course.

I would like to introduce……..erm…. Damn I have no idea what to call it. I think I will go with: man in a box illusion? Rubbish I know. Ok like most of my Instructables I am far too forgetful (Lazy) to take enough pictures to do a step by step build, but I will do my best to explain how I made this beauty.

Step 1: Making the Torso

Like I said I do not have an in depth step by step so I will try and explain what I did here.

The idea:

  1. Make a torso out of junk I had lying around the house
  2. Get a big enough box for me to fit into (I am a big guy)
  3. Clothe my torso to give the illusion that he is carrying me.
  4. Create something not too heavy (It ended up being rather light)
Torso - So as you can see from the picture the basic torso I had made was not too heavy. A majority of the torso was made from polystyrene which is a lot stronger than you would think when think. I had some old polystyrene from new LCD monitors I bout for my pc, I basically just duct taped them together to give them strength.

Shoulders - The shoulders are important in this build and as you will see in the nest step the clothes that you put on the torso help with the illusion. To make the shoulders I just cut some thick cardboard off of a box and shaped it as realistic as possible. (A bit like an air plane wing)

Head - I thought the head was going to be easy, Chuck a balloon on there throw on a mask done. I was wrong, Getting a nice shape to fill the mask was hard. If you look in the picture you will see some wooden sticks, they are basically kebab squers pushed into the polystyrene at different depths.

I then raided my cupboards for as many carrier bags as possible, I stuck carrier bags all around the head and tried the mask that I had from a previous costume on the head. It fit but his face was leaning in wards as if he had been through ten rounds in the ring with Mike Tyson. I had an ingenious idea, I wrapped sticky tape sticky side up around the head until the whole thing was sticky, I then began folding plastic bags into shapes and sticking them to the head and once I had a good shape I stuck it down the right way. (If that makes sense)

I had the basis of a torso

Step 2: Adding the Mask and Hair

Pretty terrifying right? You wouldn't want to wake up in the night with that at the end of your bed.

This part of the build did put the willies up me a bit, it's just so spooky.

Simple part here, I got a mask that I already had that I bought a wig from a fancy dress shop in central London. The mask fit really snug due to the carrier bags inside and the wig made the head look great (A little bit like a Bon Jovi the rockstar). To finish off the look I added a pair of Raybans that I already had, this really helped as he had no eye balls :0

The jacket in the picture was not what I used but it did a really good job of making the torso look more realistic, you cannot really see it in the picture.

Step 3: The Box

The box

Like a lot of what I do, I go on pure luck and basic skills. As you can see from the box in the picture I didn't do a great job but it seemed to work. I used a dremal to make some holes and sawed a big hole out of the box. The box is a standard storage box you can buy from most stores. The plastic was not completely flimsy but it did have a bit of a bend which helped me squeeze in.

I do not have photo's for this bit.

Now imagine me simply adding some holes to the box with a dremel and passing some rope through the holes and tying the torso to the box, It was as simple as that. It was handy because I could just untie the rope and remove the torso to do any additional work to it.

As you can see from the picture I had a pretty sound prototype but I was not happy with the result, the illusion was not there it just looked like a guy standing up with half a body hanging off him. What I realized was that the hole in the box was not big enough at the back so I looked too far away from the torso to give the effect. I made the whole bigger and this did seem to help, the only problem was that the plastic was becoming very flimsy.

Step 4: I Had Created a Monster

I didn't take enough photos!!! Boooo Booo!!! So I will have to let you guys use your brilliant imaginations.


One of the main things that makes this costume work is the clothing, I needed something that was baggy and big enough to cover part of the box, part of me, and the whole torso. I went to my nearest superstore and bought an XXL t-shirt and zip up hoodie.

The reason the cloths are so important is that for the illusion to work you need a jacket to hide some of your body otherwise it just won't work. As you can see from the photo I used the hoodie to cover some of my body. I used some double sided foam to stick the sides of the hoodie to the box behind the arms.


One thing I noticed while making the outfit is that if you just put a t-shirt over the torso it ruins the illusion, so I had an idea and what I did was cut a slit in the front of the t-shirt high enough to be out of view but low enough for me to slip into the bottom part of the t-shirt. If you look at the picture you will notice that I have a black t-shirt on but my lower half (Below the box) + My torso costume have the same green t-shirt on giving the effect that my lower half is actually my costumes. Another good piece of clothing for an outfit like this is a jumpsuit (Boiler suit) because the same principle applies.


The arms were very simple, I basically used party balloons (The long type a bit like clown balloons) to fill the arms. I sticky tapped them to the torso to keep them in place. I the got a pair of gloves and slipped them over some old Pringle crisp can tubes to give them a frame. I then slipped the balloons into the other end of the Pringle can to complete the arm. The arm looked very good but it needed fixing in place (To the box) to give it the effect that he is holding me up. I cut two holes either side and slipped from cable ties through and used the clothing to hide the straps.

Step 5: It's Alive, a LIVE!!!!

A finished article

I was very happy with the outcome, like I said before I don't like buying outfits from the shop they are just too pricey! I hope that my instructions were clear and that this outfit helps inspire your outfit next year. Really it's very simple and you would probably have most of the materials laying around the house anyway: an old mask, Wig, some sunglasses and boxes ect.

Please do add this to your favourites and subscribe to my page, I do not update my page as much as I would like to but when I do it's great :) (Ego at 10,000). Please let me know what you thought of my outfit or if you have any questions fire away I will endeavour to answer them.

Thank you and happy creating!


Go to the next step for some bonus images!!!!!

Step 6: Monster Bar!!!

This was the main attraction of my Halloween party, It was my Monster bar.

I will be uploading a video of it in due time, Basically I wanted to add something special to my party and that was the alcohol : P only playing stay in school kids! I have always loved them fake flames that you find at amusment parks and with only a few hours to spare until my party I wanted to try and create one my self.

  1. I used sugar paper for the flames,
  2. I hooked up some pc fans to start with but found that these were far too weak to blow the paper flames.
  3. I was laying in bed with my air conditioner when it hit me, Not the air conditioner but the idea that it would be strong enough to move the flames so I dragged it out of my bedroom.
  4. I got some sugar paper of various colours and began cutting them layer by layer in to the shape of flames.
  5. I used red, yellow and orange to try and get a realistic fire colour.
  6. I used an old lamp I had and put some red sugar paper over the lamp shade.
  7. I positioned the lamp behind the air conditioner so it would shine up the wall and partly on the flames.
  8. A good tip is to cut the sugar paper but not in to thin strips the wider they are and shorter at the tip the better
  9. I think the air gets around it thus giving it a better flame effect.
  10. I wrapped the air conditioner in some black plastic to make it a little more authentic.
  11. I bought a grave stone from the 99p store and fixed it to the front of the air conditioner which was incredibly hard.
  12. The air conditioner on its own was not enough to push the flames upwards so I fabricated a type of ramp up the front of the air-conditioner so that it would push the air upwards and funnel the air
  13. I then stuck the sugar paper flames to a kebab stick and attached it to the funnel I made.
  14. I then wrapped some boxes in black plastic and put a black glass chopping board over the top to create the bar area for the spirits and drinks (This was later replaced witha bowl of punch).
  15. I wrapped the whole thing in cobwebs and placed some random LED lights that I had all facing the drinks to give it a spooky feel.
That was incredibly rushed I apologise but if you have any questions do ask! It was tricky to make but well worth it!

Thank you once again for reading my page.


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    47 Discussions


    2 years ago

    This is excellent!


    2 years ago

    Thinking of doing this but having the monster on the back be a baby and my husband in the front dressed as a gramma!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    That's awesome to hear! I made this costume in under one day so if you plan it now I bet it will be amazing! Make sure you send me a pic :)!


    3 years ago

    Fantastic costume. You've inspired me to try my hand at my own version (though I'll have to make it so I can get my hands out for libations and breaking falls!)

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Brilliant! that is nice to hear :), most people don't know this but my hands are actually in the box, I can literally raise my arms over the sides like I am in a little boat :p. Don't forget to post your picture here! good luck


    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi!, Very sorry for the late reply.

    The body is held up by mostly polystyrene, it was then tied to the back of the box with string through holes I drilled. It was a very DIY'ish build, I think using a strong box is a good idea.

    Good luck with your costume this year!!


    Reply 3 years ago

    well my body isnt really heavy but its not the lightest any ideas on how to hold it up?


    Reply 3 years ago


    If you are using a box, I would say make holes in the box and tie it as tight as possible, remember that clothes hide a lot. You can basically use anything you can as it will be hidden, you could try attaching lots of cable tie's together (one continuous cable tie) then feed it through the holes in the box and tighten. Cable ties can give a real tight grip, especially when tightened using pliers, your hand can only do so much. You could also try strapping the body around your shoulders and under your arms like a back pack.

    Feel free to ask more questions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I like it but it violates 2 of the 3 rules of costuming:
    1) must be easy to drink in (fail - no hands)
    2) must be able to go to the bathroom - see rule 1 (fail - no hands)
    3) must be comfortable to pass out in - see rules 1 and 2 (fail - standing or sitting costume)

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    This made me laugh so much, I need to print this for my workspace so I consult it while crafting. Awesome lol. Thanks for the comment!


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I just love the way you know its an illusion, but your mind questions what it see's ha! Thanks for the comment!