Created by a fine fellow who goes by the name of Kithunter (aka Andrew), The Hunters Lair is an online forum dedicated to helping you achieve that dream. With endless tutorials (called huntorials) on making predator costumes realistic enough to get Arnie chasing you, there is no other place you really need go (with the exceptions of youtube and a little bit of ebay).
They offer help and advice, regardless of whether you want to buy the components or make them yourself, as well as being a fun community made up from people all around the world.
Bryan is an Irish member who says that ‘The Lair’s been my home away from home. Everyone’s very friendly to chat to and very helpful to any and all questions.’ He told us about people’s reactions to seeing a Predator wandering around. ‘I’m 6ft 6 inches in height so suited up I’m over 7ft tall. People are either scared or fascinated in the suit. If you can play the character well, people’s responses are great.’
The aptly named Macguyver is another Lair member, responsible for some of its best huntorials. ‘Before I made my costume,’ he explained, ‘I used to think the Predator would be a guaranteed winner in almost any costume competition but sadly I learned this is not always the case. Every competition is handled differently and I’ve figured out a few strategies over the years that’ll usually help me win favor over the contest judges and/or most people in the crowds.
‘I do win most costume contests I enter into but I still lose a few every year too. The funny thing about the contests I’ve lost are that it’s usually because my costume is viewed as being just too damn good to be homemade (and therefore, must’ve been bought off ebay, rented or made by a professional for several thousands of dollars). Some people just have no imagination. I still managed to win $1000 cash at one contest last year while I lost another contest the next day for a trip for two to Las Vegas to a guy dressed up as Derek Zoolander.’
There is a lot involved to make it that far though. Cost is the first hurdle. Even a budget DIY suit can cost up to $1000 once everything is taken into account, and a professionally made suit can be triple that. Then there is the time involved. As the forum moderators point out to new members of the Lair, don’t think of the idea three weeks before Halloween and expect to come up with anything decent. Many months of effort and labour are involved, though the first time you suit up, it will all be worth it.
Once the suit is made, it doesn’t end there. Macguyver explained that ‘wearing such an elaborate costume like this can prove to be a challenging endeavor, both physically and mentally. On the outside you’re trying to look cool as a rock star while inside the suit you’re constantly trying to overcome the extreme limitations of your body & senses. It’s very difficult to move around and you can hardly see or hear anything. It’s almost impossible to simply talk with those around you. I’ll also lose anywhere from 5-15 lbs. in sweat alone every time I suit up. Then, there’s also the possibility of becoming severely dehydrated and suffering from heat exhaustion as well. Those are the things that’ll sneak up on you fast if you’ve never spent several hours inside a full body latex suit. But that’s the price you gotta pay if you wanna play the king for a day.’
But looking at the pictures of these homemade suits, surely you agree it’s worth it! So how is it done? It’s a long and complex process, so I’ll share the wisdom of the Hunters Lair with you over a series of days, starting tomorrow!
All images in this post are of Predator costumes made by Lair members.