Thursday, November 05, 2020

Halloween 2020: DIY Roman Centurion Costume

Despite the fact that we told the kids that we wouldn't go trick or treating this year, somehow Halloween costumes became a very big deal. I used to be able to get away with picking cute outfits and stuffing my willing kids into their getups but those days are very long gone. The kids have firm costume opinions and they will not be swayed by any parental suggestions. 

Here's what we came up with: Leather(ish) vest with attached cape, armored skirt, shield, helmet with fancy plume, and plastic sword. 

Leather Tunic

Astute readers will notice that his vest from last year suspiciously made it into this year's costume. No use reinventing the wheel if you have a perfectly good faux muscle shirt already made. Ben was content to use last year's model provided we added a few upgrades. Fair enough. 


Armored Apron
The gold lapels of his 'leather' vest are made from this weird thick gold pleather that has been insanely handy for costumes. Fortunately we had some left and Ben went about tracing and cutting some strips for his armored skirt.

I sewed the whole thing to a waistband and added velcro and a black felt backing on the fancy 'buckle'. 


Supplies Needed
-Craft Foam (two thicknesses used here)
-Hot Glue (lots)
-Spray Paint (gold and red)

I began by using my thickest foam (black) to do a band around the head. Secure with hot glue. From there do a band that goes over the crown of the head and two supporting pieces, forming a cross at the top. 

I also glued supporting pieces (light grey) over the seams for extra strength. 

From there I drew templates on paper for the face shield, visor, and neck guard. Once we got the sizing lined up, we transferred it to foam and attached with hot glue. 

Small triangles were used to fit between the cross pieces to form the hat. And then it's time to get creative with the hot glue. This is also the stage in which Ben got a dime-sized burn on this thumb so be careful with the glue gun. It was a rough night and it's still a blistered, seeping mess. Poor kid. Anyway, use your creativity here.

Then we were ready for the gold spray paint. Paint the red plume separately and attach later.

The red plume consists of six pieces of thin foam that were painted red and feathered with scissors. Glue the whole mess to the helmet and you're done. The helmet is awesome, btw. Definitely the coolest headgear I've ever made. 


Plastic serving tray
Spray paint
Full page sticker paper
Parachute Cord


Over the course of their military history, Romans employed a few different types of shields, the most common being the rectangular Scutum. We went with the earlier round shield, called a Clipeus.

The shield is a plastic serving tray from Goodwill that set us back $2.00. I sanded it down and spray painted it black.

To make the eagle: find an image online (or draw one). Print onto a sticker paper (like this). Cut out around the image. Remove the backing and stick onto the shield. 

Since I wanted our eagle to be black, I first painted the shield black, put the sticker down, and then sprayed red over it. After it dried, I peeled off the sticker. 

Next carefully drill four holes in the shield and attached braided parachute cord. 

You can also paint the exterior nubs of the parachute cord to match the colors of the shield. 

Voila! Practice your antient war cry and you'll be ready for your grand debut. 

This is tricky since we already had the sword, leather vest, and fabric for the armored apron. All supplies like hot glue, a quantity of foam sheets, sticker, and paint were also on hand. I spent $3 on the tray (shield), $2 for some extra foam, and $4 for a can of gold spray paint.