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How to Make a Mock Turtle Costume

Updated February 17, 2017

The mock turtle is a character from Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland." The mock turtle, famously illustrated by the Victorian artist Arthur Rackham, has a turtle's shell but the head and feet of a calf. The mock turtle is named for the Victorian dish mock turtle soup which used calf parts to imitate turtle meat. In "Alice in Wonderland," the mock turtle is sad because he used to be a real turtle. A simple mock turtle costume is easy to make and can be used for a last-minute Halloween costume for both children and adults.

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  1. Cut out two ovals from the green poster board. These should be large enough to cover the back and front of the costume wearer.

  2. Poke a hole on each side of the ovals near the top. The holes should be placed near where the ovals will fall on the shoulders of the wearer.

  3. Cut two pieces of sting, about 6 inches each, and string them through the holes on each side, attaching the two ovals. The string should rest on the shoulders of the wearer to hold the shell in place. Use more or less string as needed depending on the size of the wearer. Tie knots at each end of the string so that it will not slip through the holes. The string can be adjusted easily to fit.

  4. Draw a shell pattern on the back oval. You can try drawing a pattern on the front as well or leave it blank. Look at pictures of turtles for ideas. You can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. Try using acrylic paints to create a multicoloured shell.

  5. Cut two long triangles of grey felt for the calf ears. The ears should be four to six inches long and narrow toward the tips. Round the tips instead of leaving them pointed.

  6. Sew the triangles onto the hood of the hoodie. If you curve the base of each triangle in a semicircle, the ears will droop more realistically. You can paint the inside of the ears pink.

  7. Cut out a tail from the grey felt. This can simply be a strip about two inches wide and one to two feet long. Sew the tail to the seat of the sweatpants. If you are making the costume for a small child, you can shorten the tail so the wearer will not trip.

  8. Tip

    If you prefer not to sew, you can use safety pins or a glue gun to attach the ears and tail.


    If you are making this costume with a child, supervise them around scissors, needles and glue guns to avoid injury.

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 large sheets of green poster board
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Marker or acrylic paints
  • Gray hoodie and sweatpants
  • 1/2 yard grey felt

About the Author

Based in Portland, Ore., Miranda Sinclair has been writing professionally since 2009. She holds a B.A. in English and theater from the University of Oregon, as well as an M.A. in English and certificate in teaching college composition from San Francisco State University. Sinclair works as a tutor and teacher of writing.

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