This is an ikaika helmet.
They are actually miniatures of the helmet worn by a warrior society known as the Makini (makini is a type of weapon but can also be translated as "many deaths"...yikes!). These warriors had the job of protecting the high chief and, as such, these small helmets are said to protect against evil spirits.
University of Hawaii Football uses the ikaika helmet as one of their logos.
We have two in our family. One is pictured here and it hangs from the rear view mirror of The Green Hornet and the other, a gift to Mr A from his daughter when she went to Kaua'i, is much larger so it normally hangs in the living room.
In the last week, the baby has finally taken notice of our little talisman. I assumed that a helmet would appeal to the boy aesthetic (how sexist!) but sadly, this has not been the case. While sitting in the front seat (dont call CPS - the car was parked) he kept eyeballing the helmet very cautiously. When the eyes swung around and "looked" at him - an eruption of tears!
Weve tried to make the makini more approachable - we gave him a high-pitched voice, pet him with our hands, etc. Ikaika has gone so far as to touch the ikaika helmet but he still approaches it with a kind of quiet reverence.
I appreciate the fact that the helmet is so scary. How can it be expected to ward off evil spirits if it cant even ward off a 7 month old baby?!