Oct 282010

My four-year-old son wants to be a shark scientist. He knows how to spell shark, and he knows more about sharks than I do, and I sure have read a lot of books about sharks because of his fascination. When he announced a while ago that he wanted to be a shark for Halloween, I knew that his mind was made up, and I started searching for a shark costume. A reasonable priced shark costume could not be found, so I decided to make a homemade shark costume instead.

I must have been crazy, because I am not a talented seamstress.  I know the bare minimal, and I have an old Kenmore sewing machine (probably 30 years old) that works sometimes and sometimes it does not.

After I took out the old Kenmore, I remembered why I had not touched it for a long while. Last time I could not get it to work properly! I tried, my husband tried, I tried again, but it would not sew properly.

My mother used to sew a lot, when I was little so she taught me a few things, but only the minimum, and I found myself just wanting to call her and ask her for help. My mother is no longer with us, so that was not an option, and I had to figure out the problem myself.

I finally went online, found the manual, and went through the threading step-by-step as well as checking out the problem solutions. Voila! Fixed! With the help of the Internet I managed to fix it myself.

As always I had to find a frugal solution to a not-so-frugal problem.

  • I found 3 yards of dark gray fabric at Walmart $3 on clearance
  • I used 1 yard of light gray fabric for the inside “cushioning” – $1 at Walmart on clearance
  • I found a large scrap of white felt at JoAnns – Clearance price $1.50
  • I also got a gray thread $2.49
  • I used cardboard from a Fed Ex box.
  • I used the stuffing from a pillow my kids had ripped.
Final cost:  $7.99

The process:

  1. First I found some shark images online, then I drew a simple shark.
  2. I then drew the first outline onto the fabric, after having measured my son.
  3. I cut the fabric
  4. Then I started sewing the main piece.
  5. I made holes for my sons arms under the side fins. I cut out the fins in cardboard and put it inside the fabric before attaching them.
  6. I also stiffened the jaw with cardboard sewn in (all the cardboard can be removed for wash, as I left an exit hole for each piece).
  7. I left the front of the shark costume open, and I attached a long piece of felt. I also cut the teeth out of felt and sewed it onto the jar.
  8. I made two small pillows for the front and the back of the shark body and attached them on the inside of the shark costume to fill it out without making it uncomfortable for my son.
  9. The bottom was left open, but I did sew part of the bottom fins.

I spent countless of hours on this project, in fact I spent all last night working on the finishing touches. My main problem had been getting started, as I could not figure out how to start it off. When my little one came out asking for me in the middle of the night, he was used for a fitting.

My four-year-old son has his very own opinions, and I was so afraid that he would think the shark was not good enough. I kept thinking back to the day, when he asked me to make him a Lightning McQueen sandwich. I tried my best, and I was pretty proud of the result. My dear son started crying, because he was disappointed – it looked like a regular race car and not Lightning McQueen. I was horrified of the thought of him having the same reaction about his shark costume.

This morning my husband had agreed to take our four-year-old to the dentist and the doctor, as these appointments had been scheduled long before the announcement of my son’s pre k Halloween party. We were cutting it close though, as my son had to be at the party by 10 a.m. They got back by 10:10 am., and we were off to the party.

It only took five minutes before Shark Boy had cupcake all over himself, but we managed, and it still looked great. He has three more Halloween parties to go to, so at least he will actually get to use the fruit of my labor. The biggest problem is probably that the summer heat has returned to South Florida, and the shark costume is a bit warm.

My son loved his homemade shark costume, and he was so extremely proud of it. They were dancing at his Halloween party, and he was completely adorable dancing around in his very own shark costume. Mom did it! At least this time…. He was the only one in the entire pre school in a homemade costume, and there were countless princesses and action figures. My little guy might not have a $30 costume, but he sure had a very unique shark costume that he had helped make.

I would love to see what creations you have made for Halloween. It does not have to be costumes, and hey even if it is not homemade I would love to see it too. You can link up anything that has to do with Halloween below.

  5 Responses to “My Frugal Homemade Shark Costume – Halloween”

  1. thanks for posting it just what i am looking for! my 10 gonna love this

  2. and YES it looks GREAT,job well done

  3. wow great job i love it

  4. You did a great job! And you have more sewing talent than me; that’s for sure! Looks awesome 🙂

    My mom used to make me costumes, and sometimes I made some pretty weird requests!

    • Thanks Tory! This year we are going with a simple batman costume:) I am sure there will be another strange request one day though, so I’ll just have to take it one year at a time…and one kid at a time:)

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