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How to make an Oogie Boogie costume

Updated April 17, 2017

The Oogie Boogie Man is one of the main characters in Tim Burton's movie "The Nightmare Before Christmas." He is a large, round ghost full of bugs and beetles with pointy limbs and a loud mouth. Creating a costume of The Oogie Boogie Man is not as hard as it looks. Using burlap, twine, some black paint, a little creativity and an extra pair of hands, you can design a costume in about a day.

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The Body

  1. Lay the person who you are making the costume for on the floor. Use the measuring tape to measure the person's height from head to toe. Use this measurement to cut two single layers of burlap from the roll. Lay the two pieces on top on each other on the floor in front of you.

  2. Trace an outline of the person's body excluding the head, feet and hands on the burlap with marker. Cut the outlines out. Pick one of the outlines up. Cut a slit from the middle of the neck to the waist. Sew the zipper into the slit with the needle and the thread. Place the sewn outline on top of the other outline.

  3. Cut a small slit through the two outlines at the side of the neck with scissors. Thread twine through the hole and tie a knot. Continue cutting holes, spacing them 5 to 7cm (2-3) inches apart and threading the twine through until you reach the ankle. Repeat on the other side. Continue this step on the inside of the legs so that you have a costume shell.

  4. Glue the plastic bugs to the side seams of the costume shell and along the ankles and wrists.

The Head

  1. Roll the helmet in burlap so that you have a cylinder with at least 30 inches above and below the helmet. Secure the burlap to the helmet using glue. Cut the burlap beginning at the top above the right ear down to the top of the helmet. Repeat on the left ear side, stopping at the top of the helmet.

  2. Fold the hat portion sides into a triangle and sew them together. Take the tip of the hat and pull it down to one side. Secure the tip with thread.

  3. Colour the eyes and mouth on the face of the hat using the black paint. Glue some bugs around the mouth.

Limbs and Assembly

  1. Fold a large square of burlap in half and then half again. Place your hand on top of the square to ensure that it fits inside the square. Do this for both hands and feet.

  2. Lay each square flat on the floor. Take one corner of the square and fold it to the middle of the square. Fold the corner opposite the folded corner across to meet the folded edge so that you form a type of cone. Sew the edges together. Repeat this process for both hands and feet.

  3. Put sweat suit on followed by the Oogie Boogie costume shell. Secure limbs to hands and feet with safety pins. Put hat on head.

  4. Tip

    Stuff the belly of the costume with a pillow or towel to fill the costume out.


    Ensure visibility from the face flap. Cut the eyes out if you cannot see.

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Things You'll Need

  • Roll of burlap
  • Measuring tape
  • Black marker
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Long zipper
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Bike helmet
  • Black paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Bag of plastic bugs
  • Glue
  • Sweatsuit
  • Safety pins

About the Author

Laura Werner has been doing rights-based development writing since 1998, focusing on grant applications for international organizations. She is pursuing a dual Master of Public Health and Human Security at the University of Pittsburgh.

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