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Bucket Helmet

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At least he makes it easy for the zombies to cook his brain.

"Ooh, whatcha gonna do? You've got a bucket on your head and a Fu Manchu!"
The Easter Bunny to his opponent Genghis Khan, Epic Rap Battles of History

A Sub-Trope of Improvised Armour; one good way to give yourself an improvised helmet is putting a bucket (either plastic, wooden or metal) over your head. Alternatively it can also be a metal pot, colander or saucepan too. It's most likely to be used by children, when either playing pretend or they actually need some kind of protection (See Weapon Jr.). You may have noticed that in real life it's hard to wear and ridiculously easy to remove because of the handle. The name may also be used as an insult.

While most examples usually wear the bucket properly (as properly as you can wear it at least) by having it above their eyes, some instead wear the full bucket over their entire heads turning them into The Faceless. With only an eye hole/slit or two to see out of, although for Rule of Funny sometimes there is no eyeholes to see out of.

See also Cool Helmet. Not to be confused with the late Medieval great helm, which is sometimes called a bucket helm because of its shape but unlike the improvised variety is not actually made from a bucket.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Early in Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend, the curious and inquisitive plant-child, Kibo, randomly befriends a little girl who's chilling in an outdoor pool, and gains a plastic beach bucket hat as a souvenir which he wears on his head for several scenes.
  • In Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns, Brock is ready when the gang gets caught in a rainstorm.
    Brock: I'll just use my trusty frying pan as a drying pan!
  • In the Sands of Destruction manga, Rhi'a ends up with a bucket on her head soon after meeting the World Destruction Committee. She isn't doing it for protection, though; she's just looking for Kyrie and thought perhaps he'd be in there, making it sort of a cross of this and Lampshade Wearing (though she isn't drunk; just cuckoo).

    Comic Books 
  • Comic Cavalcade: The cover of issue 23 depicts Cotton-Top Katie's friend wearing a pan on his head to pretend to The Flash.
  • The Bizarro version of Doctor Fate wears a bucket on his head in lieu of the Helm of Nabu.
  • Marvel Comics' Forbush Man, modeled after Red Tornado referenced above.
  • Nova: This is an In-Series Nickname for Nova.
  • The first Red Tornado was a woman who fought crime with a pot as a helmet on her head. She had modified it some so that it had eye slits and no handles.

    Comic Strips 
  • One The Far Side strip has a knight resort to wearing a frying pan on his head because his kids took his helmet to school.
  • One arc in FoxTrot has Jason fashioning a make-believe virtual reality helmet out of a bucket.
  • Garfield dons a sugar bowl helmet to protect himself from the Sludge Monster. He probably should have dumped the sugar out first.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The first American Ninja movie has the main character, Joe Armstrong, wearing one of these during a fight, although instead of being used as armor Joe is using it to taunt his opponent.
  • In the vampire comedy Eat Locals (2017), one character tied to a chair has a metal bucket placed on his head. He's just griping over this when a bullet is stopped by the bucket.
    "Well that's not going to help is it?! [bullet slams into bucket] OK... it was pretty helpful. Thank you very much."
  • In The History of Future Folk, the uniforms worn by General Trius and the Mighty Kevin (and later by their fans) include helmets that look exactly like red plastic buckets. This resemblance is Hand Waved at one point when one of them points out that buckets don't exist on Hondo.

  • Early in The Belgariad, Garion and his friend play-fight using, among other kitchen implements, a pot helmet and pot-lid shields. This does not go down well with his overprotective aunt, who is also the mistress of the kitchen. As a bit of an Ironic Echo, many years later in The Malloreon, the same aunt provides Belgarion with a lidded pot, which are converted into an actual helm and shield via the use of a little scrap steel from a broken knife, a fair amount of river clay, and no small amount of sorcerous transmutation by Durnik.
  • Pikel Bouldershoulder of The Cleric Quintet wears a cooking pot as his standard helmet (and only piece of armor).
  • Older Than Steam: Don Quixote: Don Quixote had a proper helmet, but he threw it away for the traveling barber's bronze shaving basin, which the barber simply wore as a hat while traveling (à la Johnny Appleseed); Quixote in his dementia believed that the basin was a magical golden helmet that would give him courage, and so he liberated it from the barber, thinking him a thief of great treasures.
  • The Shel Silverstein poem "Man in the Iron Pail Mask".
  • The Muddler of The Moomins wears one.
  • Joe's bargain-basement armour in Muddle Earth includes a saucepan for a helmet
  • At one point in one of the Pippi Longstocking books, Pippi puts a bucket over her head as a helmet. It covers her eyes. She proceeds to trip over something and says it's a good thing she was wearing the bucket or she'd have hurt herself — to which Tommy and Annika comment that if she hadn't been wearing the bucket she wouldn't have tripped in the first place.
  • A somewhat more serious use of the trope features in The Sharing Knife series. As a prank, a Lakewalker tells one of the local Muggles that Lakewalker "groundsense" can be blocked by metal (such as by wearing a pot on one's head). This is totally untrue; wearing a metal pot on your head doesn't affect groundsense one little bit. Although the results of this prank are played for a good bit of comedic effect, the underlying issue of the lack of trust between "Farmers" and Lakewalkers (and the fact that this lack of trust is not totally without basis) is treated as a fundamentally serious problem.
  • The mad jester Patchface wears one of these in A Song of Ice and Fire. They have antlers with jingle bells attached to them, in imitation to the habit by his lieges to put deer horns on their helms.
  • In Through the Looking Glass when Tweedledum and Tweedledee put on makeshift armor in order to fight, they use saucepans for helmets.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used in some episodes of El Chavo del ocho. Don Ramón once used a bucket to protect himself from Doña Florinda's slap, and another time El Chavo used it against Don Ramón punching his head (luckily Ron Ramón stopped before hurting his hand).
  • During a MythBusters test regarding how easily one could get lost in the wilderness in certain conditions, Adam and Jamie wore buckets on their heads to limit visibility to just a few feet. The technique was effective; Adam got lost, while Jamie only kept a straight path because of his wilderness survival training.
  • In the Top Gear: Vietnam Special, Hammond was the only one whose head was small enough to fit inside a locally bought helmet, so May resorted to using a colander for head protection and Clarkson used a metal bucket at first.

  • Buckethead, of course, wears a KFC bucket as part of his costume.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Johnny Appleseed is often depicted with a saucepan on his head. Somewhat subverted in that Johnny isn't usually described as doing so for protection — it was simply a convenient way to carry a cookpot on his travels.

  • Like in the original game, some of the zombies in Plants vs. Zombies Pinball wear buckets on their heads, and they require more hits to destroy.

    Tabletop Games 

  • Flush Force has Croco Bile and Chomp Bucket, two alligators that both wear buckets on top of their heads.

    Video Games 
  • Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean: The description for the "Power Helmet" item says that it used to be a cooking pot and can still be used as such. And it can be—using this item on an offensive turn does nothing but is necessary for one of the recipes that is instrumental in crafting numerous other recipes.
  • Boktai: Trinity from Boktai 3 wears a pot on his head.
  • Brave Fencer Musashi: One of the kids does this. His playmate's "helmet" is a woven basket — he uses this to convince her that his obviously superior bucket is a legendary artifact.
  • Chroma Squad: When you're just starting out, one of the first pieces of equipment you can craft for your squad is a bucket helmet. At the end of the game, when you have access to powerful extraterrestrial materials, you can make a far more effective bucket helmet.
  • Clash Royale: The Royal Recruits are more or less conscripts, they have somewhat practical yet obviously low-level armor and weapons. They also all wear helmets that are actually just wooden buckets with metal studded bands wrapped around it that cover their entire head. For added hilarity while the buckets do have a large rectangular eye hole, it's actually for their big noses and they also have plumes on top of said wooden bucket helmets as if that makes them anymore viable as helmets.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: You can put a wooden bucket on your head as functional armor. It grants 3 to your Physical Defense, which is not terrible for something you'll just find lying around very early in the game before real armor is readily available. The downside is that it also gives you a -1 to your initiative, as the bucket covers your eyes.
  • Dungeon Siege II: You'll need a bucket helm to complete the Bonus Dungeon.
  • Dungeons of Dredmor: A bucket and a traffic cone are both cheap, if somewhat underwhelming, helmet options (in addition to finding them randomly, Item Crafting allows the player to make the latter, while the former can be upgraded to an actual, useful helmet). There's also the "Helm of Threepwood", a helmet made from a saucepan and a Shout-Out to the Monkey Island games.
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: One of the male Lilty designs is called "Bucket Head", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening:
    • Donnel always wears a metal pot as a helmet, even after he promotes from a villager to a proper soldier. His Supports with Kellam in particular reveal it's to hide his incredible Messy Hair.
    • Adult male villagers wear pots on their heads as well to indicate humbleness.
  • Heart of Darkness: The main character wears a metal colander as a helmet.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom:
    • Some of the NPCs you fight alongside in the Monster Control Crew side quests wear buckets on their heads as makeshift helmets.
    • Reede, the mayor of Hateno Village, wears one during a sidequest to protect a local farmer's experimental crop of pumpkins from monsters. It mostly serves to show how unprepared he is for combat, as he'll flee the battle (causing a mission failure and forcing you to try again) if he takes too many hits.
  • Lufia: Series often has Pots that can be equipped as headgear, which are exactly as effective as one would imagine.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story: Corporal Paraplonk wears a plastic red bucket on his head — although it's a little big for him, making his eyes peek out under the space between the handle and bucket itself.
  • Mario & Wario subverts this trope: the bucket blinds Mario (or Yoshi or Peach) and only Luigi can take off the helmet.
  • NetHack has the Dented Pot. Provides the same head protection as a plain helmet or orcish helm, at less cost and only one-third of the weight!
  • PlanetSide 2: A user-created joke helmet for the New Conglomerate — a faction infamous for teamkilling and overall high levels of incompetence — was submitted for approval but sadly denied to avoid the slippery slope of silliness. It was a standard metal bucket with a pair of eye holes cut out via bullet holes, and with a yellow star sloppily painted on the side. The bucket's handle acted like a chin strap.
  • Plants vs. Zombies:
    • The Buckethead Zombie wears a metallic bucket helmet, which gives him considerable defense compared to the normal zombie or the roadcone-wearing Conehead Zombie. During the time travel-related shenanigans in Plants Vs Zombies 2, the Buckethead Zombie's variants get different buckets or similar objects related to their time period, such as the Buckethead Pirate's wooden bucket or the Buckethead Cowboy's spittoons, to name a few.
    • Crazy Dave, the player's assitant between levels, is iconic for being, well... crazy, but also for wearing a saucepan on his head for a helmet.
  • Rec Room: Buckets can be placed on other users heads
    • In addition, an actual bucket hat was obtainable for a limited time to commemorate the games anniversary
  • Rust: There's a bright blue bucket helmet. Moderate protection, costs research, terrible for sneaking around in the woods. Most grubs favor the bone helm.
  • The Secret of Monkey Island: Guybrush has to wear a pot on his head whenever he gets shot out of a cannon to avoid injuring himself.
  • Space Station 13 lets you wear a bucket on your head. If the bucket was full of water, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Spyro the Dragon (1998): The Big Gnorcs in Dark Hollow wear upended wooden buckets as helmets.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • A craftable hat for the Soldier is a saucepan, worn in the expected fashion. Given both his violent Cloud Cuckoolander tendencies and his implied crushing poverty, it's oddly fitting.
    • The bucket helmet from Plants Vs Zombies is available as a hat for Soldier, as is the cone hat for the Pyro.
  • In Terraria: You can craft buckets out of iron or lead, which, among other functions, can be equipped as a helmet that grants you a whopping 1 defense.
  • X Men Mutant Academy 2 features a pool party stage where all the characters had their costumes replaced by swimwear. Juggernaut wears a plastic sand bucket in place of his helmet.
  • Your Turn to Die: Kanna Kizuchi wears a bucket on her head. Several sketches, sprites, and 4-komas jokingly suggest that she does so to hide pudding.

    Web Animation 

  • In the Star Wars parody comic Diary of a Crazed Mimbanite, the Darth Vader Expy has a helmet that looks exactly like a bucket.
  • The Little Trashmaid: Tidy wears one of these, and carries a trashcan-lid shield and pitchfork when she goes to fight "Ursula"... who is simply a tangled mass of old fishing nets and other trash.
  • Snooch from Two Lumps sometimes wears an improvised helmet from a pot, usually when he goes to defend the laundry fort.
  • In Waterworks, Connie makes herself a helmet from a kitchen pot.
  • In The Weekly Roll, The main way Sorcerer and anarchist Trevor has of making fun of sir Becket is by calling him "sir Bucket".

    Western Animation 
  • In The Adventures of the American Rabbit, Rob, the title character's secret identity, is menaced by a gang of jackal bikers. The leader wears a metal helmet, and when complimented on it he insists that it's actually not a helmet, it's a kettle. And what do you cook in a kettle like this? Rabbit stew.
  • The Angry Beavers: Whenever Norbert assumes his alter-ego as the Baron Bad Beaver, he uses a metal bucket for a helmet (with a hole for his eyes).
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Numbuhs 86 and 362 wear colanders, tying in with KND 2x4 technology.
  • In the Cow and Chicken episode "Comet!", Chicken sells star-covered cooking pot helmets, underwear, a football helmet, and other things to panicky gullible people as "Comet Protection Devices" to make money off his prank of leaving his dad's golf ball dangling in front of a giant telescope. Ironically, it turns out there was a REAL golf ball-sized comet on the way after all, which ricocheted off several pot helmets and hit the only one not wearing one, Chicken.
  • Bucket of Dragons: Riders of Berk wears a bucket on his head instead of the obligatory helmet. It's a sign that he's a bit 'out there'. It also makes for a good storm-predicting device.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy has an episode where Eddy, jealous of Jimmy getting all the attention, creates a set of Improvised Armor in a bid to trump Jimmy's bubble-like safe suit. The headgear is one of these.
  • One of the urchins in The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack wears a saucepan with eyeholes cut in it as a helmet. He also wears an eyepatch over the helmet.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Frenemies", the guardian of Mt Everhoof is a pony who wears a rusty bucket helmet, with one section rolled up to accommodate his face. His name is Rusty Bucket.
    • The closing montage in "Apple Family Reunion" includes a photo of Apple Bloom and Babs Seed wearing nail buckets on their heads and playfully saluting.
  • Greg from Over the Garden Wall wears an upside-down teapot as a hat. It's part of his elephant Halloween costume.
  • Johnny Pompalope (the Lake Hoohaw equivalent of Johnny Appleseed) in the PB&J Otter episode "The Johnny Pompalope Story".
  • Rick and Morty: In the Season 3 episode "Rickmancing The Stone", Rick, Morty, and Summer meet a brutal and imposing post-apocalyptic warlord, Hemorrhage, who wears a painted bucket as a helmet to conceal his rather plain facial appearance and shy personality.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In one of the shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show days, Lisa and Maggie put cooking pots on their heads to play Space Patrol; Bart puts a vase on his head and it promptly slides down, blocking his vision.
    • "Lisa The Simpson" has Homer and Bart putting pots on their heads and then charging at each other head first.
    • When Groundskeeper Willie is momentarily homeless and stuck in the rain, Marge offers to let him stay at the Simpson house. Willie turns down the offer at first, saying he'll be find as long as he has a pot to keep his head dry. Marge points out that it's a collander; "So that's where all me soup went!"
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Welcome to the Chum Bucket", Spongebob has to wear a Chum Bucket bucket "helmet" while working at the titular restaurant. The "helmet" however is really just a bucket-shaped hat and is just a uniform instead of armor.
  • In an episode of The Tick, Die Fledermaus and Sewer Urchin had to infiltrate a group of supervillains by improvising evil costumes from a gardening shed. Sewer Urchin had a metal bucket with an angry face drawn on it over his head.
  • Total Drama:
    • The first part of a multistep dare in "I Triple Dog Dare You!" that Heather has to perform is to have a bucket filled with pigsty mud dunked over her head. The bucket next serves as a helmet when she's loaded into a cannon and shot into the rest of the mud pile at pointblank range.
    • When Chef introduces DJ to kitchen duty in "The Chefshank Redemption", DJ has to wear a saucepan on his head as a stand-in for a helmet while Chef goes all military on his instructions.
    • In preparation for the gladiatorial match in "Brains Vs Brawn: The Ultimate Showdown", Lightning dons himself in makeshift armor. He cuts open a saucepan's side to make room for his face and hammers the pan down to fit around his skill. The rudimentary helmet serves him for most of the match until by chance Cameron knock it off him.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: Done by Peter Parker when he was secretly mocking Nova.
  • Piglet occasionally wears a cooking pot as a helmet in the Winnie the Pooh videos, when the gang is going on an adventure.
  • Veggietales: In "Are You My Neighbor?", the citizens of Jibberty-Lot wear cooking pots on their heads, as well as hurling them at their enemies.

    Real Life 
  • Very often Truth in Television in history:
    • The conical jingasa of the Japanese ashigaru doubled as a rice-cooking pot.
    • Likewise, a lot of European helmets (up to at least The Vietnam War) had the unintended secondary purpose of being used as a cooking vessel or water carrier when no others were available; such utilitarian uses are common for military equipment in general.
  • Inversion:
    • The German name for the Medieval great helm is Topfhelm or "pot helm". Incidentally, the great helm really is also known as a "bucket helm."
    • Another name for the Medieval rimmed chapel-de-fer infantry "steel hat" is kettle helm.
  • Subversion: the usual German nickname for the WWI and WWII British Brodie helmet was Salatschüssel (salad bowl)
  • Ned Kelly's helmet was a real functional bulletproof helmet shaped like a bucket.
  • The 2011 "Day of Rage" in Yemen had numerous protesters wearing improvised helmets such as buckets, pots, slabs of rocks, and in one notable case — breadsticks.
  • From British politics (most recently in 2017), we have Lord Buckethead.
  • Played straight by Pastafarians, who wear cooking implements as headgear, though they're purely decorative.