DIY ninja turtles Halloween costumes

Written by joanne robitaille
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DIY ninja turtles Halloween costumes
There are four turtles to choose from for a costume. (Getty editorial images)

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in the mid-1980s and were hugely popular for nearly a decade. A reboot of the cartoon series as "TMNT" in 2007 introduced the Ninja Turtles to a whole new audience. Since their introduction into popular culture, people have regularly worn Ninja Turtle costumes at Halloween. While some opt for the commercial approach and buy their costumes, others make their own from a variety of materials. The first thing you need to do when making a Ninja Turtle costume is to decide which of the four turtles you want to be.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Brown Bristol board
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Brown ribbon
  • Stapler
  • White tank top
  • Yellow fabric dye
  • Brown fabric paint
  • Half metre of coloured fabric
  • Cotton batting
  • Green trousers
  • Green shirt
  • Toy weapons

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  1. 1

    Decide which of the four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles you want to be. While the basic costume will be the same regardless, each turtle has his own specific colour. Blue for Leonardo, purple for Donatello, red for Raphael, and orange for Michelangelo. Buy approximately a half a metre of fabric in your chosen colour.

  2. 2

    Create the shell from a piece of brown Bristol board. Start by cutting the board into a circular shape then begin painting the various plates that make up a turtle shell. Look at images from the cartoon series to see exactly how the shells are structured. Cut two strips of ribbon to act as shoulder straps so you can wear the shell. Staple the ribbon to the underside of the shell like backpack shoulder straps.

    For another shell option, cut two circular pieces of brown fabric to the size you want the shell. Paint one of the circles with fabric paint to look like a shell. Sew the two circles together along the edges, leaving about six inches open (should look like a round pillow without stuffing). Fill the fabric shell with cotton batting until it appears rounded then sew the last six inches closed. Attach two strips of fabric to the underside (non-painted side) like backpack straps.

  3. 3

    Dye a white tank top yellow for the belly portion of the shell. If you can find a yellow tank top, use that instead. Paint the plate pattern found on the belly of a turtle's shell on the tank top front using brown fabric paint.

  4. 4

    Make the headband, belt, armbands and knee pads out of coloured fabric. Cut a strip to tie around your head like a blindfold. Mark where your eyes are when you're wearing the headband then cut out the eye holes. Cut five additional strips of fabric: a longer one for the belt and four shorter ones to tie around your elbows and knees.

  5. 5

    Assemble the rest of the costume. A pair of green sweatpants will make your legs look like turtle legs, but if you feel daring, wear green tights instead. Get a green long-sleeved shirt to put on under the tank top.

  6. 6

    Purchase toy weapons from a party shop or toy store. Each turtle has his own distinctive weapon. Leonardo uses a katana sword, Donatello has a staff (a broom handle is an easy option), Raphael wields sai swords, and Michelangelo's weapons of choice are nunchucks.

Tips and warnings

  • A spray-painted rounded rubbish bin lid (minus the top handle) is another shell alternative.

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