Despite the best laid plans, sometimes it's impossible to avoid making a costume at the last minute. Your best bet when you're in a hurry is to use ordinary items you already have around the house. It obviously helps if you're crafty and have a few basic supplies, but even if you don't, there are always substitutions a desperate but clever parent can devise. Directions are included here for an easy lion and monkey costume. Allow your children to participate in the fun of putting these costumes together. It will take the pressure off you and give your child a sense of accomplishment.
Use a tan sweatshirt or long-sleeved T-shirt for the lion's top. Use tan sweatpants or corduroys for the bottom half.
Make a simple mane from a grocery bag. Cut a round hole in the bottom large enough to fit the child's face. Cut the bag half its height, cutting strips in the sides so they resemble a sun face design. Curl strips over the edge of a ruler, rolling them up around the face. Attach the mane to a brown knitted hat by stitching loops of thread from the hat over a few of the paper strips.
Make a lion's tail from a long flat piece of fleece or velour sewn double. Sew a bunch of looped brown yarn to the tail's end. Sew the tail to the trousers near the waist for comfort.
Wear tan or brown slippers, boots, or sneakers for the feet. Use tan gloves for hands.
Draw three whiskers near each side of the nose using a brown marker.
Use a brown hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants to make the body.
Make two round ears from brown felt or fleece. Trace one onto the other so they're the same size. Sew these onto the sides of the hood so they stick out.
Cut a long piece of brown felt or fleece for the tail. Cut a piece of coat hanger wire the same length, and sew it inside the tail so it curls upward and doesn't drag on the ground. Stitch the tail to the trousers near the waist so it feels comfortable for sitting.
Wear brown shoes or sneakers on the feet and brown gloves on the hands.
Give your child a banana as an accessory.
You can use patterned sweatshirts or T-shirts for a solid-colour costume by turning them inside out and wearing the plain side out. Use brown pajama bottoms if you don't have sweatpants. Look at pictures of lions and monkeys for the placement of ears and tails.