Gladiators fought in the Colosseum during the reign of the Roman empire. While there were numerous types of gladiators, and even female gladiators, certain images are most often associated with gladiators. Certainly the portrayal of gladiators in popular culture has shaped the modern images. Creating a gladiator costume for a boy can be done at home, but it's not a costume that can be assembled at the last minute.
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Gladiators typically wore the Roman clothing of the day, a toga. A toga can be sewn from a sheet using pattern, or you can use a plain dress. Sleeves can be short or elbow length. Alternately the toga can be topless or at least sleeveless. In the case of a topless toga, the chest armour serves as the top of the costume. Traditional toga colours can range from white to tan or even red or purple.
One of the easiest ways to make costume armour at home is plaster. Lubricate the chest with petroleum jelly to keep it from sticking to the skin. Use any form of plaster to create the armour. Faster drying types are recommended because getting a child to sit still for a long time isn't always easy. Use a putty knife or other tool to shape the contours of the armour. Alternately, papier maché could be used for this purpose. Materials like cardboard, wood or plastic could be cut to form armour. Paint armour bronze, silver or gold.
Head and Foot Wear
Starting with a toy army helmet or football helmet is one method of creating a gladiator helmet. Or using a metal bowl as the form, the same plaster or papier maché approach could be used to create a helmet. After painting the helmet with a metallic paint, a brush could be mounted to the top of the helmet to create a crest. Leather sandals are ideal for creating gladiator footwear. Strips of leather, matching the colour of the sandals, can be laced crisscrossing up the legs, starting at the sandals.
The most obvious accessories for a gladiator costume are weapons and a shield. Round or crest-style shields can be made from wood, cardboard or using a papier maché or plaster technique. Weapons can include swords or daggers, but even something like a whip (which could be made from leather braided together) can be used. For costumes worn to school or other public places, check rules on bringing weapons. Schools, for example, might have rules prohibiting even toy weapons.
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