Non-costumey costume
September 27, 2010 12:55 PM   Subscribe

What's a good costume for a little boy who hates wearing costumes?

I have a very sweet, sensitive little 2-and-a-half year-old nephew who has no patience for wearing hats/masks/capes, etc. Even things that are of great interest to him- like a fireman hat at the Children's Museum- cannot be worn. I'd be fine with him not wearing a costume but I think he'd feel left out of his school's Halloween festivities. He loves all things most little boys love, like dinosaurs, farms, animals, trains, etc. I'm pretty crafty and can find my way around a sewing machine so I don't mind a costume that requires some work. A super hero seems like a possible idea but I can't think of any heroes that don't have a cape. I'm hoping someone has some excellent ideas for a costume that, when worn, wouldn't feel any different than wearing regular pants and shirt. He lives in a coldish climate but for the most part he'll just be wearing this indoors.
posted by shornco to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (36 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What about an old-school prisoner? He just needs a black and white striped sweat suit.

Or, one of those skeleton sweat suits? He doesn't even need to wear the gloves and mask. The clothes are cool enough!
posted by two lights above the sea at 12:58 PM on September 27, 2010

How about a Ninja?
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:59 PM on September 27, 2010

Mini Steve Jobs.
posted by bondcliff at 12:59 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Would he tolerate face paint instead of a full costume?
posted by dywypi at 1:00 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

seconding the skeleton "sweat suit". they also have skeleton jammies at gymboree.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 1:01 PM on September 27, 2010

When my own nephew was 2 1/2 years old, my sister simply made him a shirt like Charlie Brown wears and black shorts, and it was the cutest thing ever ever ever.
posted by mreleganza at 1:01 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

The Incredibles don't wear capes!
posted by zsazsa at 1:05 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

A super hero seems like a possible idea but I can't think of any heroes that don't have a cape.

Heroes without capes or masks. Hm...

Mister Fantastic

I'm sure there are more, but those were the first two that came to mind.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:07 PM on September 27, 2010

Lovely Maggie Mason of Mighty Girl made her toddler a fish costume out of an orange hoodie.
posted by kitkatcathy at 1:08 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

How about costume T-shirts? Just a tee shirt with the costume printed on it. I have a Wonder Woman one that I absolutely adore.

Here's a link to a bunch on 80's Tees. The Ninja Turtles shirts have youth sizes, I noticed, but you'd have to check for that for each tee style.

Here's a toddler-sized Superman shirt. To heck with the cape.

I love the Charlie Brown idea for a homemade shirt-costume!
posted by mostlybecky at 1:10 PM on September 27, 2010

Mr. Incredible does not have a cape and could be done fairly easily.

And as the mother of a fireman obsessed boy (4 of eight halloweens), a pair of dark jeans, white tshirt, and red suspenders go a long way when you throw on a sew-on firefighters patch. Some local depts will give you one if you ask nicely. One of my favorite things I've made my son was a firemans jacket from a black sweatshirt. Split the front center and insert zipper. Apply yellow seam binding at zipper, collar, bottom hem, and top and bottom of sleeves. I opened the seams on the sleeves and sewed the binding strips in. As a final touch, a local embroidery shop was able to do the emblem and his name on the chest.
posted by Talia Devane at 1:11 PM on September 27, 2010

Spiderman doesn't wear a cape. Also, here's a recent question about hoodie based costumes. Also, with any costume, the most kids only wear the mask for about 4 seconds anyway.
posted by artychoke at 1:12 PM on September 27, 2010

Wow, awesome costume ideas. Clearly I need to brush up on my superhero knowledge if I'm going to survive aunti-hood.
posted by shornco at 1:20 PM on September 27, 2010

He is the invisible man! You can't see him, because he is INVISIBLE!
posted by micawber at 1:22 PM on September 27, 2010

I would go to the thrift store and buy the ugliest plastic glasses and break out the lenses, let him wear them and tell him he can go as a mad scientist or Clark Kent.
posted by cda at 1:23 PM on September 27, 2010

My kid is like this too.

Last year we did this astronaut suit.

This year I'm thinking UPS man or Ghostbuster.
posted by k8t at 1:28 PM on September 27, 2010

Sometimes you can find pajamas that are costumish, like these firefighter PJs. (we have these and they are a HIT.)
posted by peep at 1:31 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

What about those orange jumpsuits astronauts wear?
posted by ambrosia at 1:32 PM on September 27, 2010

My kid as an astronaut.
posted by k8t at 1:34 PM on September 27, 2010

Also, at 2.5 years, I doubt that he's got the social or clothing awareness to feel left out, so don't worry about it too much. However, you could go for something that the toddler set might recognise.
posted by b33j at 1:46 PM on September 27, 2010

Let him not wear a costume. I remember being that painfully awkward about such things at that age and God, it hurts. Let him not wear a costume. And here's the thing: if he ends up feeling more awkward about not having worn a costume when everyone else did than he feels about wearing a costume... he'll have learned something, and developed. And next time he'll ask you to help him pick a costume.

Don't force him to wear a costume.
posted by Decani at 1:53 PM on September 27, 2010

He's two and a half years old; I don't think he'll process that message, Decani.

How about a ninja? Dress him all in black. Actually, with that, he could also be a shadow.

I was a texture-sensitive child, and one year I went as the color green. My mother painted my face green and let me wear my favorite sweatsuit.
posted by punchtothehead at 1:58 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

He's two and a half years old. He shouldn't be forced to do something that will traumatise him, punchtothehead.
posted by Decani at 2:00 PM on September 27, 2010

My kid at two and a half hated the whole costume thing too. We sent him off with some easy to wear costume accessories which he could use if he wanted. He didn't. It was fine. I told anyone who asked that he was dressed as a two and a half year old.
posted by firstdrop at 2:09 PM on September 27, 2010

at 2.5 years, I doubt that he's got the awareness to feel left out --> risible

Would he do, even briefly, any sort of hairband? A cat can be done pretty simply; I just put a "fur" "belly" on a turtleneck, tail out the back, furry mittens. A devil would be similarly simple.
posted by kmennie at 2:10 PM on September 27, 2010

two and a half? don't worry about it. Let him go to the party as himself. If he changes his mind, pull something out of your backpack (a mask, some makeup, a cape).

He won't remember this.
posted by philip-random at 2:14 PM on September 27, 2010

Red short sleeve tshirt + white wristbands + white pants + black shoes = Jack White
Black tshirt + Green long sleeve tshirt + triangle cut out of grey duct tape + black pants + black shoes = Captain Kirk
posted by 23skidoo at 2:27 PM on September 27, 2010

Give him a clipboard and let him tell people he's from the Census (or the worlds smallest process server, etc)
posted by quin at 3:14 PM on September 27, 2010

I've been planning a super hero costume for my almost 3 year old. He loves them all.
Aquaman does not have a hood or a costume.
I was going to get a white thermal top and bottom. Dye top orange and bottom green. Some fabric from fabric store for belt and gloves (you can do handless and just attach "top of glove to sleeve."

I also looked at doing a flash costume. Red footie pajamas with a couple little felt pieces cut out to look like his emblem.

If you have a little suit for him from some time he had to dress up you can do a super man t shirt under and tack the dress shirt open and he can be clark kent becoming super man. I think super cool but my kid isnt going for it.
posted by beccaj at 3:56 PM on September 27, 2010

Earlier today I came across an Etsy shop that just sells kits for modifying sweatsuits into costumes, DIY Costumes Creature Kits. I'll also second the fish costume that Maggi Mason made for her son. The Martha Stewart website has how-tos for a few hoodies turned costume as well.
posted by Miss Matheson at 3:59 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

What we did last year, and are repeating this year (with a different group's Halloween party): Star Trek (TOS) uniform. Black pants, Blue shirt, Science patch (bought off ebay for $3).
posted by fings at 5:42 PM on September 27, 2010

Last year, my just-3 year old wanted to be a monkey. So I found which of her clothes were varying shades of brown, attached a tail to the pants, and, voila, monkey (at least to her, and she didn't mind explaining it to older people with more elaborate costumes). You can just attach any sort of tail to whatever clothes he likes already, he could be a cat, dog, rabbit, pig, whatever he likes already, and be comfortable too.
posted by Margalo Epps at 6:26 PM on September 27, 2010

If you find a blue jumpsuit he could be one of the Imagination Movers. Bonus points that it's a little less common than Spiderman, etc. OK full disclosure, I'm biased because they're from New Orleans!

However I love all these costume ideas - it's refreshing to know that not everyone buys those nasty overpriced costumes from Party City.
posted by radioamy at 7:59 PM on September 27, 2010

Train conductor outfit with "overalls" (sans hat).
posted by oceano at 8:00 PM on September 27, 2010

My son is the same age as you nephew and has the same costume issues. This year I am putting him in black pants and a black turtleneck and painting his face like a mime. He will be Marcel Marceau!
posted by mudlark at 9:40 PM on September 27, 2010

How about dressing like daddy, or grandpa, or some other real world person he knows?
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:49 PM on September 27, 2010

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