Follow TV Tropes


Bucket Helmet

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

A Sub-Trope of Improvised Armour; one good way to start making it is putting a metal bucket, or, alternatively, a metal pot or colander, on your head. Most likely to be used by children (see Weapon Jr.). You may have noticed that they are really hard to wear and ridiculously easy to remove because of the handle.

The name may be used as an insult.

See also Cool Helmet.


    open/close all folders 

     Anime & Manga 
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • Marvel Comics' Forbush Man, modeled after Red Tornado referenced above.
  • Although Magneto's helmet is not an actual bucket, "bucket head" is a common Fan Nickname for him.
    • It's also an in-universe nickname for Nova.
  • The Bizarro version of Doctor Fate wears a bucket on his head in lieu of the Helm of Nabu.
  • Comic Cavalcade: The cover of issue 23 depicts Cotton-Top Katie's friend wearing a pan on his head to pretend to The Flash.

     Fan Works 

  • The first American Ninja movie had the main character, Joe Armstrong, wearing one of these during a fight, although instead of being used as armour Joe is using it to taunt his opponent.
  • In the vampire comedy Eat Local (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] 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.

     Folk Tales 
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • In Through the Looking-Glass when Tweedledum and Tweedledee put on makeshift armor in order to fight, they use saucepans for helmets.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Pikel Bouldershoulder of The Cleric Quintet wears a cooking pot as his standard helmet (and only piece of armor).
  • They don't wear actual buckets, but the Mandalorians of Star Wars Legends are often called 'bucketheads' by their enemies and the people who find them unpleasant in general.
  • The mad jester Patchface wears one of these in A Song of Ice and Fire. They have antlers with jinglebells attached to them, in imitation to the habit by his lieges to put deer horns on their helms.
  • The Muddler of The Moomins wears one.
  • 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.

     Live Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

     Newspaper Comics 
  • One arc in FoxTrot had Jason fashioning a make-believe virtual reality helmet out of a bucket.
  • 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.


     Tabletop Games 

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

     Video Games 
  • One of the kids from Brave Fencer Musashi 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.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: some zombies wear bucket helmets, which give them quite a defense compared to normal ones.
    • Crazy Dave wears a pot over his head, presumably to protect his brains from being eaten.
    • The bucket helmet is available as a hat in Team Fortress 2 for Soldier.
  • Speaking of 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.
  • One of the male Lilty designs in Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles is called "Bucket Head", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Donnel in Fire Emblem: Awakening always wears a metal pot as a helmet, even after he promotes from a villager to a proper soldier.
    • Adult male villagers wear pots on their heads as well, most likely to indicate humbleness.
  • Boktai: Trinity wears one of these
  • The main character of Heart of Darkness wears a metal colander as a helmet.
  • You'll need a bucket helm to complete the Bonus Dungeon in Dungeon Siege II.
  • Corporal Paraplonk in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story wears a plastic red bucket on his head — though it's a little big for him, making his eyes peek out under the space between the handle and bucket itself.
  • In 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.
  • A bucket and a traffic cone are both cheap, if somewhat underwhelming, helmet options in Dungeons of Dredmor (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).
  • X-Men: Mutant Academy 2, on the PS1, featured a pool party stage where all the characters had their costumes replaced by swimwear. Juggernaut wears a plastic sand bucket in placement of his helmet.
  • In Terraria you can craft a bucket out of iron, which, among other functions, can be equipped as a helmet that grants you a whopping 1 defense.
  • The description for the "Power Helmet" item in Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean 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.
  • 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!
  • The Lufia series often has Pots that can be equipped as headgear, which are exactly as effective as one would imagine.
  • A user-created joke helmet for PlanetSide 2's 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.
  • In 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.
  • Space Station 13 lets you wear a bucket on your head. If the bucket was full of water, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Mario & Wario Subverts this trope: the bucket blinds Mario (or Yoshi or Peach) and only Luigi can take off the helmet.
  • Kanna Kizuchi in Your Turn to Die wears a bucket on her head. Several sketches, sprites and 4-komas jokingly suggest that she does so to hide pudding.

     Web Animation  

     Web Comics  
  • In the Star Wars parody comic Diary of a Crazed Mimbanite, the Darth Vader Clone 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.
  • 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 one of The Simpsons 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.
    • Another episode has Homer and Bart putting pots on their heads and then charging at each other head first.
  • Johnny Pompalope (the Lake Hoohaw equivalent of Johnny Appleseed) in the PB&J Otter episode "The Johnny Pompalope Story".
  • A common Fan Nickname for many incarnations of Megatron from Transformers is "Buckethead", due to his distinctive head design. Generation One Megatron's Start of Darkness established that it really was a helmet, a keepsake from his days as a lowly miner.
  • 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.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Numbahs 86 and 362 wear colanders, tying in with KND 2x4 technology.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • The Chum Bucket bucket helmets appear again in the first SpongeBob movie as a mind control device Plankton uses to brainwash the citizens of Bikini Bottom as part of his Plan Z.
  • Greg from Over the Garden Wall wears an upside-down teapot as a hat. It's part of his elephant Halloween costume.
  • 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.
  • 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.

     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".
    • 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 protestors 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.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: