Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween 1978 Stormtrooper Helmet

With Halloween coming up, I thought I'd post something that's vintage but not really a toy.

Back in 1978, Star Wars was still a very new movie. For Halloween, I wanted to dress as a Stormtrooper. I dreamed of having one of the Don Post Stormtrooper masks that were always advertised in Starlog magazine. However, desiring one and convincing my parents that I needed one were entirely different issues.

Sympathetic to my cause, my Dad came up with the idea of building a stormtrooper mask from scratch. I was SURE it was going to turn out looking just like the helmets in the movie. When you are a kid, anything is possible.

So, out came the newspapers strips and flour glue. My Dad and I covered a balloon until we had a ball-like shell. Once that dried, we added more and more pieces and paper mache strips to build up the extremely accurate visage of the Stormtrooper you see before you. Once the shaped helmet had dried, a white coat of paint, green eye cellophane, and sharpies completed the transition from yesterday's news to today's Halloween costume mask. It was great fun and an enduring memory from childhood.

White poster board that was cut, rolled, and markered served as the white stormtrooper armor that completed the costume. Underneath the poster board armor were a black turtleneck and black pants (probably cords, given my Mom's proclivity for dressing me in cords on non-jean days...I can still hear them. Cords...both clothing and an aural experience.) I wish I had photos of the complete costume. I guess I'm just lucky that the mask itself has survived all these years since 1978.

Here's the interior. It includes an elastic head support, a nasal breathing hole that vents on the underside of the chin, and even my initials made with one of those clicky label makers. It was fun to catch up on the news inside the helmet between houses while Trick or Treating.

For those of you doubting the amazing screen accuracy of this helmet, I direct you to the undoctored and purely authentic screenshot from Star Wars below:


  1. Awesome!!!

    Great story and great mask.
    It is amazing how accurate it is.

  2. wow. Mine was the classic piece-of-paper-with-a-stormtrooper-mask-drawn-on-it.

    I am retroactively jealous.

  3. That's amazing. That same year I myself made a Darth Vader paper mache helmet! I cheated and used the Ben Cooper plastic face mask for the front, then built the rest of the helmet in cardboard and paper mache. Yours is great and so amazing it survived!

  4. Awesome. That helmet is beyond cool :)

    I didn't attempt the stormtrooper costume until 1982. I was fortunate enough to have been able to borrow the Don Post helmet from my next door neighbors son (he used to babysit me and my sister), as for the rest of the costume...I was on my own! As I recall, I used thin corrugated cardboard painted white to make the armor pieces and my dad came up with the idea of holding it all together using a combination of two sided tape and zap straps. Man I wish I had a picture of that.....crude as hell but a labor of love.

  5. Wow, I just came across this entry now by accident. I wanna give your dad a hug. Great story.

  6. That helmet is amazing. Waaay better than those we saw in the movies after they took off the originals (as seen in this picture post) for cheaper copies because of low budget.