How to Make an Airplane Costume

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Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Halloween is all about fun and kids (and adults who like to act like kids). Essential to the Halloween experience is, of course, the Halloween costume. If you're struggling with ideas or looking for a last-minute costume for kids, airplanes are a popular and easy option. You can create a plane costume with little more than cardboard, tape and some time. By following this tutorial and using a template, you'll be able to cosplay as an aviator explorer just in time to go trick-or-treating

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Things You'll Need

  • 4 cardboard boxes (12 inches by 12 inches by 18 inches)

  • 2 large pieces of cardboard

  • 1 bolt

  • 1 large washer

  • 1 nut

  • 2 rolls orange duct tape

  • 2 rolls white duct tape

  • 1 roll blue duct tape

  • 1 roll black duct tape

  • 2 rolls regular duct tape

  • Empty cottage cheese (or similar) carton

  • Measuring lid from fabric softener

  • Ruler

  • Utility knife

Make the Body of the Cardboard Airplane

Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Tape the edges of one of the cardboard boxes. Cut out the top and bottom of the box, leaving a 2-inch border all the way around. Cut arm hole flaps 3 inches wide and 4 inches tall on the sides. Leave the flaps attached at the top to help secure the wings later. This first step is simple, but critical, for setting the groundwork for your homemade Halloween costume.

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Make the Cockpit

Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Set one of the boxes flat and cut 8 inches off of the end all the way through. Draw a line 1 1/2 inches from the edge you cut. Score this line. Cut out a 9-inch-by-5 1/2-inch rectangle on a 12-inch side of the box between the line you drew and the fold flap of the flat box.

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Use this piece as a guide to cut the same shape out of the 18-inch side of the box starting 1 1/2 inches from the side. Reverse the pattern on the opposite 18-inch side. Cut down the middle of the remaining 12-inch side. Assemble the box, overlapping the pieces of the 12-inch side to create a taper to the cockpit. Set this piece aside for later installation.

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Cut Out the Tail Section

Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Print your template's full size at a local office supply store. Set one of the flat boxes on a cutting surface and tape the template to it. Cut out and score following the lines of your template.

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Assemble the Tail Section

Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Fold at each of the scored lines and bend to meet the tab of the previous section. Tape in place. Work your way around until all four corners are taped into a cone shape. Tape the final section from the inside.

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Complete the Tail Section

Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Follow the template and cut out the tail fin pieces from cardboard pieces you have left. Cut a slot in the center of the upper side of the tail piece and insert the tail fin. Tape it in place from the inside. Add the side fins and tape them securely in place. Set this assembly aside for later installation.

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Make the Nose of the Plane

Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Follow the same instructions in the Make the Cockpit section to assemble the nose with your cardboard pieces. Overlap and tape the end flaps to the main section. Trim the pieces where needed to fit the open framed areas and arm holes. Add the cockpit by taping scrap cardboard pieces to the scored sides and taping these pieces down to the top of the main body section, leaving the center open for access to the cockpit.

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Make the Propeller

Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Cut out three pieces from scrap cardboard following the template. Cover the pieces with black duct tape. Spray paint a plastic cottage cheese or similar-sized container with silver paint. Cut a hole in the center of the container. Cut a small hole in the point of each propeller. Thread all three propeller pieces onto a bolt and place it through the hole in the plastic container. Add a large washer and nut. Tape this propeller piece onto the front of the nose section with multiple pieces of duct tape.

Assemble the Plane

Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Attach the tail section in the same manner as the nose, overlapping the flaps to the side of the main body and taping them in place. Maintain the arm holes. Add overlapping strips of colored tape to decorate the plane.

Make the Wings

Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Cut out the wings from extra cardboard following the template. Cut strips of scrap cardboard the length of the wing and about 5 inches wide and notch them to curve around the wing shape. Fold these strips around the edge of the wing and tape them in place. Decorate with colored tape before installation.

Install the Wings

Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Hold the wings in place and mark the arm holes from the inside. Cut these as flaps, leaving them attached. Keep the wings level with the top of the main body and tape in place all the way down the side.

Finish Wing Installation

Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Set the plane on its side and tape the arm flaps to the bottom of the wing.

Add the Plane Markings

Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Put strips of black duct tape sticky side down on a piece of parchment paper. Draw a circle around a roll of tape and cut it out. Cut out a number "7." Make a patch of white duct tape on parchment paper, remove the backing parchment paper on the black cutouts and stick them down to the white patch of duct tape. Trim out the circle, remove the backing parchment paper and attach it to the plane. Make all plane markings with this method and attach them.

Add the Finishing Touches

Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Paint a fabric softener cap with silver spray paint. Attach it as a nose cone to the front of the propeller section with a clear adhesive.

Now You're Ready for Halloween!

Image Credit: Debbie Williams

Be careful when helping your child into the costume. Lower the plane over them and make sure that their arms are in the arm holes and that they are comfortable. Have someone accompany them to help them navigate steps, doorways and sidewalks. They'll have a blast zooming around the neighborhood like Maverick from ‌Top Gun‌!

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