Astronauts and Cosmonauts
One of the best things about astronaut costumes is the androgynous nature of the design. While the astronaut costumes pictured here are modeled by men, they are actually non-gendered costumes. Proof? Take a look at actual astronauts and cosmonauts. NASA does not provide gender-based uniforms. They all wear the same thing.
If you prefer to make your own astronaut costume, a quick Google search for Orange Coveralls and for White Coveralls provides outfits very similar to the orange and white astronauts pictured here. With a few NASA patches, some black fabric and a bit of time spent on a sewing machine, a passable costume could be created for either Halloween or the stage.
If you are looking for a way to dress the entire family in a single theme, then astronauts can be an excellent option. They are reasonably easy to make (or acquire) and they are instantly recognizable. As an added bonus, these costumes are comfortable and perfect for harsh weather conditions.
Another advantage to the astronaut family is the ability to play with colors. If mom and dad are in the classic orange or white, it will clearly set the theme. This allows the children to create costumes using jumpsuits in different colors, like pink, purple, green or black. You could even take a pair of white coveralls and tie-dye them in a rainbow of colors, add a NASA patch, gloves and a helmet – and you are good to go!
Spacewalk Suites and Helmets
The space walk costume is more complicated. Creating something like this from scratch will require some sewing skill. When I was volunteering in the theater, this is the kind of costume that would be purchased outright, while the coverall-astronauts would (most likely) be created. But this was also a decision made after a couple of hours (or more) had been spent shopping, comparing, searching through existing costuming wardrobes and generally determining what was the cheapest possible option.
That said, the most important parts of the spacewalk costume are the helmet, gloves and belt. If you have an obvious astronaut helmet, then the general look can be created with some silver gloves and a silver belt over white coveralls. A big clunky pair of white or silver moon boots can be added for fun or warmth.
The backpack is a fun addition for a truly complete costume, but the backpack and a white jumpsuit will not create an obvious astronaut look without the helmet and gloves.
Classic space alien masks are a lot of fun and can be part of costumes that are as simple or elaborate as you want them to be. I have known people who purposely went out on Halloween in full masks and complete body-covering costumes because they did not want to be recognized (for whatever reason). Conversely, I have also known people who just wore a mask with regular street clothes, often carrying the mask under an arm while chatting with others at parties and putting it on for pictures or trick-or-treating.
Which brings up the question of clothes – what does a space alien wear? In the United States, the classic Space Alien costume will consist of a brightly colored robe and mask or some kind of shiny silver or metallic variation on the astronaut outfit. Another classic would consist of variations on the old Jetsons cartoon with bright metallic colors and an Antenna Headband.
Of course, the truly traditional method of creating a space alien costume requires pulling out paper, glue, paper mache’ and other crafting supplies – and spending a night at home creating something alien looking. But if you have neither the time nor the skill for that kind of project, or prefer to go with more realism, professionally made masks can be a lot of fun.