Sweatpants: All Sorts of Homemade Halloween Costumes


At the risk of sounding like my mom: When I was a kid, we never wore store-bought Halloween costumes… We could get pretty clever, pulling off last-minute homemade costumes from old bed sheets, tin foil, or shipping boxes (I was a front-load washing machine).

My mom sews, like with a sewing machine and patterns. And my sewing doesn’t extend past my little makeup bag of a few random thread colors, needles and buttons. For a minimal-sewing, low-cost, and warm (if you’re north of the Mason Dixon line, you’ll understand) solution, try sweats and hoodies – genius! Assorted, “probably on sale ‘cuz it’s so ugly” colors, open up an assortment of homemade kid costume possibilities.


This little elephant costume has the added bonus of a trunk (yay!). You can keep this simple or go into detail. Either way, it’ll still look like an elephant.

  • Body

    Simple: Gray sweats and a hoodie
    Get detailed: Drybrush darker gray fabric paint for a leathery look. Go extra large on the sweats and add batting for girth.

  • Ears

    Simple: Fabric-glue, hot-glue or sew stiff felt ear shapes to the sides of the hoodie.
    Get detailed: Cut slits in the hoodie so you can hide your sewing out of sight.

  • Trunk

    Simple: Wrap a paper towel tube in batting to create the graduated shape. Then cut a sleeve of gray felt and a pink snout to fit. Wrap it around the tube and batting, and secure the felt on itself with your glue of choice. You can either attach this to an elastic band to wear around the head and over the ears, or widen the base and attach it to the lowest point of the hood.
    Get detailed: Add white felt or foam tusks!

  • Tail

    Cut a graduated sleeve of gray felt, glue or sew shut, stuff with batting. Attach a fringe of yarn at the end or reserve a few inches of felt below the bottom closure and cut fringe. Stitch, pin, glue, or tape the finished tail to the base of the sweatshirt (back, duh).


This one is so ridiculously easy: Red sweats and a hoodie for the body.

    • Eyes

      Cut 2, 4-inch foam balls in half. Draw black pupils with a sharpie or craft paint. Attach to the top front of the hoodie, saving room for the nose.

    • Nose

Cut a (at least) 4-inch foam ball down by a third, just enough to make a flat surface for gluing. Paint the larger (2/3) piece orange. Glue it below the eyes.

Now, look at the assortment of colors available for sweats and use your imagination: Use fabric paint or electrical tape to turn orange sweats into a tiger suit. Attach yellow and/or orange fringe around the front of a brown hoodie and arm openings to make a lion – oh my. Pink sweats, a curly tail, and an abbreviated version of the elephant trunk for a snout.

Personally, I’m going for it this year with an attempt at a homemade Buzz Lightyear costume, equipped with a wristband laser cannon (laser pointer). And I’m pushing to get my husband to sport that Elmo costume.

Check out FatWallet merchants like Sears, Hanes.com, and Champion USA for inexpensive sweats with Cash Back to boot!

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