Are you looking for an easy and cheap last-minute costume for your little boy or girl? I was so pleased with how my baby’s Halloween costume turned out that I had to share (plus, it’s a good excuse to share cute baby photos). Judging from my stats and emails and reader comments, there will be quite a few little homemade Robin Hood costumes running around this Halloween, and I hope this will give you another fun idea to add to your DIY Halloween costume arsenal.
My older son decided last Halloween that he would be a cowboy this time. This past spring I happened to find a great cowboy costume on clearance for around $4. He was sorted out, but what about baby brother? Since the baby is too little to have opinions of his own, I decided to do the same as last year, and make his costume go along with big brother’s theme. So, he would be a horse.
The cheapest toddler horse costume I could find cost around $25 plus shipping, which just wasn’t worth it for a one-time use thing. So, I wracked my brain thinking about how I could create a DIY horse costume myself. Finally I had my “Eureka!” moment, and I created this very cute toddler horse costume for very little money.
How to make a kids horse costume
- Matching hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants (I found both for around $8 total)
- Skein of yarn for mane and tail (less than $3)
- 1 yard 3/4-inch wide ribbon in matching color
- Hot glue gun and glue
- Matching felt (I actually used scraps of faux leather that I already owned, or fleece would work, too)
- Black craft foam sheet (around $1)
- Bandana (I had one already, but they cost about $1)
- Two sheets 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock
- Large story bookTotal cost: less than $15
Note before: The great thing about this horse costume is that it can be made to be disassembled and used for regular clothing after Halloween. Use safety pins or sew pieces onto the clothing with large stitches that can easily be removed later. I was in a hurry so I decided to hot glue the pieces onto the hoodie, but we’ll be able to re-use the pants.
Step One: Create the mane
Fold pieces of cardstock lengthwise and tape together at the ends to create one long piece (you could also use a long piece of cardboard that is at least 4 inches tall). Tape the end of the yarn to one end of the cardstock. Wind the yarn around the cardstock pieces on the short side.
Wind yarn around cardstock or cardboard to create a mane
Occasionally scrunch the yarn together so there are no gaps. Continue until you reach the end of the cardstock, then snip the yarn and tape the end to the cardstock.
Cut a piece of ribbon the same length as the cardstock. Apply hot glue to one side of the mane, a few inches at a time. Make sure there are no gaps in the yarn as you do so–you want glue only on the yarn, not the cardstock. Affix one edge of the ribbon to the hot glue, working your way to the end of the mane.
Glue the edge of the ribbon to one side of the mane
The mane is glued to the ribbon to hold the yarn together.
Run your scissors down the other side of the mane, to cut the yarn loops in two.
Snip the yarn loops to make the mane look more like hair
The picture shows me doing this after removing the cardstock, which is fine, too, just a little trickier. Once the yarn is snipped in half, slide out the pieces of cardstock.
Step Two: Affix the mane to the hood
Starting at the top center of the hood, affix the ribbon at the base of the mane with hot glue, an inch or two at a time. Continue until the entire length of the mane is affixed down the center of the hood.
Comb yarn to one side (to cover the ribbon).
Step Three: Create the tail
Tape the end of the yarn to the cover of a large storybook (that you don’t mind applying tape to) or a piece of cardboard. Wrap the yarn around the long way, until the wound yarn is 4 or 5 inches wide (depending on how full you want the tail to be).
Snip the yarn and tape down the end. Cut a separate piece of yarn wide enough to reach across the wound yarn, with enough excess to tie a knot. Slide the piece of yarn underneath the wound yarn and tie it tight at the top.
Remove the tape from the ends of the yarn and slide the book out. Cut the loops of yarn in half.
Step Four: Affix the tail to the waist
Use hot glue to attach the tail to the center of the seam of the waistband on the back of the hoodie.
Step Five: Create ears
Using felt (or fleece or faux leather) that matches the hoodie, cut two pointed ear shapes. Think of the shape of a teardrop, only flat at the bottom. For my toddler sized costume (24 months size), the ears were about 3 inches across and 4 inches high. I cut one out and then used that as a template for the second ear, so they would be the same size and shape.
To create some dimension, apply hot glue along approximately one inch at the top of each ear, and pinch the top edges together.
Next, apply glue along the bottom edge of each ear, and fold the sides of the ear inward to meet at the middle, pressing until the glue sets (sorry I forgot a photo of this step, but you can see the end result below).
Step Four: Affix ears to the hood
Apply hot glue along the back bottom edge of each ear and affix to the top edge of the hood, on either side of the mane.
Separate a portion of the mane to create “bangs” that fall between the ears.
Step Five: Create hooves
Cut strips of black foam the same width as the cuffs on the hooded sweatshirt. Glue the top edge of the foam strips along the seam between the sleeve and the wristband on the hoodie, working a little bit at a time. Overlap the end of the strip slightly over the beginning of the strip, gluing in place. Use scissors to cut excess foam.
The “hooves” are strips of foam glued around the wrists of the hoodie.
You could add hooves to the pants as well. I decided to skip it because I thought it would be difficult to put the pants on my son, and I figured the hooves would probably fall off anyway as he toddled around.
Step Six: Add a bandana
I think the bandana is what makes this costume super cute. Tie it loosely around the outside of the hood. I happened to have one from a past costume that was pre-folded and had velcro, but bandanas are easy to find for cheap in any craft store.
When I was envisioning all of this in my mind, I wasn’t sure if I would love the end result or not, but I ended up being so thrilled with this cute horse costume!
You could use real horse colors like brown, gray, black or tan, or you could get inventive and use other fun colors to make a My Little Pony costume. You could even make an easy unicorn costume.
The great thing about starting with regular clothing is that the costume fits well, so it’s comfortable and cozy; you be less likely to contend with your child trying to rip off the costume, or tripping over it. My son loves his horse costume!
Hope you love the idea as much as I do. Happy Halloween!
Check out my Kids Costumes page for more fun DIY costume ideas!
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