Homemade Robot Halloween Costume

Turn a plain cardboard box into a robot Halloween costume kids will love.

craft this futuristic robot costume for your kid this halloween


  • Corrugated-cardboard box, the length of a child’s torso and several inches wider than shoulders
  • Box cutter
  • Pencil
  • Silver spray paint
  • Piece of cardboard, plain or corrugated, slightly smaller than face of box
  • 18 plain plastic buttons
  • Red spray paint 12 flat metal buttons with shanks (six 1½”, two 2” and four 2½” sizes)
  • Hot-glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Three 11” and 17” foam sheets, one each in red, yellow, and orange
  • Fiskars scallop paper edgers ($3; joann.com) or pinking shears
  • Printer and plain white paper
  • Bike helmet
  • Aluminum foil
  • Black and white pipe cleaners
  • Silver dryer hose (2 yards)
  • Silver duct tape
  • Gray sweat suit
  • Safety pins
  • Red gloves
  • Sunglasses

1. Remove box’s top flaps. Hold box against child’s torso and mark cutouts for neck and armholes. Cut a deep semicircle hole for neck; for legs, cut out a rectangle, leaving a 2” lip on each side. For arms, cut holes slightly wider than dryer hose and twice as long.

2. In a well-ventilated area, use silver spray paint to coat box, inside and out, plus one side of cardboard piece and all plain plastic buttons. Let dry; repeat. Paint all 2” and 2½” metal buttons red. Let dry, repeat.

3. Center cardboard piece on front of box; glue in place. Cut red foam sheet so it’s smaller all around than cardboard piece. Center on cardboard; glue.

4. To make control panel, cut shapes from orange and yellow foam, using photo as guide. Layer foam shapes on top of one another; glue. Trim some shapes using scallop-edge scissors or pinking shears. Glue on metal and plastic buttons, reserving some to decorate helmet.

5. Use computer and printer to make control-panel labels, like “Compute” and “Press.” Fold a sheet of printed text accordion-style and glue to control panel.

6. Wrap bike helmet in foil; glue foil in place. Decorate with twisted pipe cleaners and buttons.

7. Cut two pieces dryer hose to length of child’s arm. Cover any sharp edges with layers of duct tape. Put sweat suit and box on child, then fit dryer hose over arms. Secure with safety pins to sleeves. Finish with helmet, gloves and sunglasses.