Updated on September 18 2017.
Halloween is terrifyingly fun, but the costumes can get a little repetitive: Zombies are dead, Vampires suck, and witches are so passé. If you’re looking to make a costume that’s out of this world, check out some of these futuristic delights — I guarantee you’ll stand out among the crowds.
Quirky: EL Stick Man
Affordable, and easy to power from regular AA batteries, Electroluminescent lighting comes in a single color only and can’t be changed later, but there are two main types that make EL uniquely useful. EL Wire is the simplest to work with, but EL panels can be more impactful, and can be cut into different shapes. On the downside, while traditional LEDs are visible in the daytime, EL lighting really needs darkness, and they can be prohibitively expensive for large costumes compared to LEDs.
A relatively easy first EL wire project is a classic stickman. You’ll need a black zentai suit or black clothing you don’t mind sewing on to, as well as two lengths of 9ft of EL wire in your chosen color. CoolNeon.com sells everything you need, and has a great diagram for the wire layout. Making a complex face design as in the video below will take a little effort, but a simple circle around your face can still be effective.
It’s time to face the truth: the future isn’t bright, it’s downright bleak and dirty. No flashing neon, no shiny latex — just the brown and grey hues of utility and function, born of necessity in a post nuclear fallout apocalyptic world. The Fallout video game series encapsulates this bleak outlook, and the NCR ranger from the New Vegas installment makes for a particularly scary version of a future soldier. Make your preparations now, for the end is nigh.
Most of the parts can be 3D printed, and you’ll find links to those and many more on this All3DP Fallout-themed printables list. Finish the look with some leather gloves, a brown trenchcoat, and copious amounts of weathering.
Don’t have 3D printer? Our current pick of the bunch is the original Prusa i3 MkII — if you can afford the $900 price tag. Otherwise, capable printers can be had for as little as $300. You may also have access to a 3D printer through your library or college. However, while printing small trinkets is very cost effective, printing larger items like armor plating will add up quickly. 1KG of plastic filament costs around $20, but you should double or triple that if you don’t own a printer yourself.
Pop culture portrayal of the future as seen from the pre 1960’s was generally all about copious amounts of spandex, bubble helmets, anything plastic, and holographic or silver material. Instagram user tellloveandparty pulled this off perfectly:
Space/the Jetsons/Tomorrow land ha ha I still am not positive what we are this year BUT our DIY family costumes are #ontheblog today!! ?????????????There are so many fun pics, it doesn't hurt having a neighbor/ bestie/ professional photographer @radandhappy take some pics before trunk or treat last week ?
For DIY moms who need a little guidance, Simplicity 2796 / 3361 offered for the quintessential spaceman children’s costume, though they’re out of print now so you’ll have to track a copy down.
You can add some thick piping to any silver dress or suit to signal that you came from the future — a style that’s heavily influenced Cyberdog Clothing:
For a DIY version, start with an import holographic skater dress from AliExpress ($20, but allow plenty of time for shipping), and build piping onto it.
Inspired by early video games of the era, did you know that Tron was also one of the first movies to make use of computer generated graphics? Regardless of the rather weak plot, there’s no denying the costumes were iconic. You can’t really go wrong with a skintight catsuit combined with glowing EL panels, for that authentic Tron Legacy look. Adafruit has an extensive set of guides for working with tricky electroluminescence material. Be warned – soldering is required!
For constructing your costume, here’s a great tutorial video from Camrin William.
If the thought of stitching EL-wire isn’t your cup of tea, Artifice Clothing has a line of “Tron inspired” items, but you’ll need to be under UV/black light to get the full effect.
Generic CyberPunk / CyberGoth
Nowadays, when we think of what people will be wearing in the future, most of us imagine the early 2000s electronic music club scene: cyberpunk and cybergoth ravers. It’s a complex style to put together with very few references in common culture. If you don’t have a particular character in mind, get creative with these basic elements:
Neon. Lots of neon. UV reactive accessories, fishnet tights and PVC everything.
Random tubes connecting random cybernetic implants.
Neopixel LEDs are individually addressable LED pixels that have really transformed the costume-making hobby. Light-up costume designs are impressive enough, but Neopixels can be programmed. Every single LED can have a unique color and brightness, leading to some incredible animations. It’s no secret that I love Neopixels. Check out the ambilight, giant pixel display, and sound reactive cloud lamp that I built with them.
A mask of some kind, because obviously air in the future is unbreathable. This Adafruit gas mask uses a number of 3D printed parts, a pair of costume goggles, as well as some Neopixel rings and EL Wire. There’s also a laser module in one of the eye pieces, but you can probably skip that.
LEDs in your hair, just because. This stunning Cyberfalls wig, also from Adafruit, was made using approximately 20 meters of white and silver crinoline tubes, plus a strip of Neopixel LEDs.
The undisputed king of cyberpunk clothing and accessories retail is Cyberdog, situated in the newly refurbished Camden market, London. It’s well worth a visit, if just for inspiration. As well as the unbelievable range of clothing, your mind may also be blown away by the extraordinary prices.
Combine cyberpunk and Harajuku fashion to get the Japanese “Uchuu Kawaii-kei”, meaning “space cute style”. You’ll find lots of pink and neon blue vinyl, random heart appliques, giant pink buttons, and purple fur. Check out the KissMeKillMe.fr gallery archive for inspirational photos. We think anyone with basic sewing skills should be able to knock this look together.
And on that note, we’ll leave you to get creative. Do you have a futuristic costume in mind for Halloween? Tell us about it and if you’ve made it already, link to some pictures in the comments!