How to make animal costumes for kids

Updated November 21, 2016

If your child wants to dress up as a cat, lion, mouse, rabbit or other animal for Halloween, a school play or other occasion, there's no reason to spend money on an expensive store-bought costume. You can easily make a better quality costume at home for less money. What's more, making animal costumes for kids is so easy that even young children can help to make their own costume, giving them a feeling of pride and accomplishment.

Choose the type of animal costume and find or purchase a hooded sweat suit or footsie pyjamas in the appropriate colour. For instance, choose pink for a pig costume, white for a cow or sheep, orange for a tiger, brown or black for a dog or monkey, or grey for a cat or mouse.

Add details to the body of the costume. To make the costume look more realistic, study a picture of the animal whose look you are trying to imitate with the costume. Use fabric paint or black magic marker to add black stripes to a tiger or tabby cat costume. Cut out irregular circles of fabric and use a hot glue gun to add spots to a cow or dog costume. To make a furry sheep costume, glue white batting to the outside surfaces of a white sweat suit.

Make ears out of felt for the animal costume. Cut two triangles of felt in a coordinating colour for a cat, tiger, pig or cow costume. Use a rounded shape for a bear, monkey or mouse costume. For rabbit ears, shape two pieces of wire into bunny ears and glue the wire between two pieces of felt cut to resemble bunny ears. Cut two pieces of pink felt in the same shape as the ears for the costume, only 1/2 inch smaller on each side. Glue a piece of pink felt to the front of each ear. Glue or sew the ears onto the hood of the sweat suit or onto a child's headband if the costume is made from footsie pyjamas.

Make a tail out of a sheet of felt that matches the colour of the sweat suit. It should be two feet long by one foot wide to make an animal with a long tail, such as a dog, cat, lion, mouse or tiger. Roll this felt rectangle up tightly along its length, applying hot glue to the inside as you roll and at the very end so that it will stay rolled up. If you are making a cow or lion costume, cut the end of the tail into a fine fringe about three inches long. For a pig costume, use a one foot by one foot felt square and roll it up with a wire inside. Twist the pig tail into a corkscrew shape. Sew the tail to the back of the costume. For a bunny tail, simply glue a handful of cotton balls together and attach to the back of the sweat pants.

Use face paint to cover the kid's face in a colour to match the costume. Use black eyeliner to colour his nose and draw whiskers on his cheeks. Place coordinating socks on his hands and feet to imitate the look of paws.

Things You'll Need

  • Hooded sweat suit
  • Fabric paint, markers, cloth or batting
  • Hot glue gun
  • Felt
  • Face paint


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