How to make a school-friendly halloween costume

How to make a school-friendly halloween costume. #costume #halloween

I, Dear Dad, was planning on Dear Son’s halloween costume. I always have smart plans (please read as easy plans). Yes, I like to keep life simple. 🙂 The plan was to take Dear Son to a costume shop and ask which costume he liked the most. Didn’t I say I always have smart plans? Dear Wife was saying that halloween costume needs better planning than this and definitely more creativity is required. “No worries; leave the costume to me this year. Creativity is my middle name”, this is what I said.

Did we ever mention in this blog that Dear Son is not familiar with any super heroes? He might have heard of one or two from his friends in the daycare but in reality he does not know what superpowers super heroes posses. Dear Son has not yet learnt how to copycat the gesture of a superhero. His heroes do not have much physical strength and generally come from his story and picture books, for example — Curious George, Dory, Llama Llama, Harold, so and so forth. None of them have much power, let alone superpower. Anyway, let us get back to the halloween costume.

We went to Party City at the Sunland Towne Centre (655 Sunland Park Dr.) in the Westside of El Paso. Party City has a large collection of costumes. There is a row with pictures of the costumes. One can select a costume and collect a ticket from a sales representative and then follow some green footprints, probably of Incredible Hulk’s, to head toward the inventory to pick up the costume. There are some fitting rooms near the inventory area.

I asked Dear Son the million dollar question, “which costume do you want”? He said, “I do not want any costume”. Clearly, Dear Son would need help. I asked him if he would like the costume of a policeman pointing at a picture. No interest. 🙁 Then I pointed at an FBI agent with a badge, a doctor, a fireman, and a pirate, with no luck. Dear Son whispered Itsy Bitsy Spiderman. He was staring at Spiderman. He is familiar with the song Itsy Bitsy Spider and he heard about Spiderman from his friends. To him, Spiderman is the person with eerie eyes who wears Itsy Bitsy Spider on a blue-red dress. Spiderman, here we come. It was not too hard. Dear Son did not allow a trial in the fitting room but it was a clear fit based on the height of the costume. It was the only available Spiderman costume for his age-group. It is a costume that has the legs and the top-part joined together. I was happy that Dear Son picked up something by himself.

This is how the costume looked like before the DIY. Pretty cool! However, it will be hard for a four-year-old to pee or poop by himself while wearing this costume. The daycare required a Halloween costume for the whole day.
Figure: The costume before my DiY project. Pretty cool! However, it will be hard for a four-year-old to pee or poop by himself while wearing this costume. The daycare required a Halloween costume for the whole day.

On our way back home, I started to use my brain cells. The daycare asked all the kids to wear a costume on the Halloween day. How will Dear Son use the bathroom if he wears this costume? Given that it is hard for a four-year-old to put on and take off a costume that combines pants and shirt, the teacher would need to assist Dear Son to pee or poop every time he goes to the toilet. Oops… There is no going back because this is the only Spiderman costume available. Of course, we can try other shops for other costumes but a DIY-idea came to my mind that I would like to try first. The idea is to separate the top and the bottom parts of the costume.

Good thing is that we bought a sewing machine a few months ago. I have used the sewing machine a few times — I have become a novice tailor. 🙂

Separating the top of Spiderman from the bottom

This was one of the hardest tasks in this project, especially because this is the starting. The burning question in mind is, am I going to damage the costume? Duh.. separating the top from the bottom of a costume means damaging it. In my defense, probably yes; I am going to damage it but what to loose here; we still had a few more days to fix errors. 🙂

The tread-cutter I used to separate the top and the bottom parts of the costume.
Figure: The tread-cutter I used to separate the top and the bottom parts of the costume.
Cutting the threads was time consume. It took me around forty minutes but that is because of my lack of experience, I do believe.
Figure: Cutting the threads was time consuming. It took me around forty minutes but that is because of my lack of experience, I do believe.

I used a thread-cutter to accomplish the task of separation. I spent around forty minutes on this. Given that I used a thread-cutter only once or twice before to cut no more than an inch or so, forty minutes sounds very promising to me. 🙂 The cloth was delicate and it was elastic, which made the thread-cutting activity a bit problematic. Anyway, the operation of separation was successful. 🙂

Coming up with a usable top

Some sewing is necessary for the top part once it is separated from the costume. The bottom end of the top-part has to be stitched to make sure that threads from the open sides do not come out. It was hard for me to keep the sewing threads aligned with the border while I was using the sewing machine.

The top-part of the costume after separating it from the bottom using a thread-cutter.
Figure: The top-part of the costume after separating it from the bottom using a thread-cutter.


I am a novice tailor. :-( I sewed the bottom-edge of the top-part. The sewing did not end-up great but it will work. Next time, I would use red threads to hide the erroneous sewing.
Figure: I am a novice tailor. 🙁 The sewing at the bottom-edge of the top-part did not end up great but it will do. Next time, I would use red threads to hide the erroneous sewing.

There are different settings in the sewing machine to embroider the sides. I tried to play with a few but finally decided on a simple one. The picture above shows how the sewing at the open end looked like. It was not impressive at all. The white threads were shining and giving me a villain-smile. I should have matched the color of the sewing-thread to reduce the visibility of my naive artwork. 🙂 Anyway, it will do for now.

Coming up with a pair of pants

Figure: The separated bottom part of the costume. It cannot be used as pants because the waist is not ready to wear it as pants.

This stage was a little bit more complex than I expected. The bottom part of the costume cannot be directly used as pants because the waist-portion is not prepared to hold onto the body. That means I need to make the waist-part of the pant. I do not have the expertise to do that. Therefore, I decided to use an existing pair of pants to hold the legs of the costume. 🙂 Of course, I used a pair of pants that was already a little bit worn-off. A picture below shows the pants and the bottom part of the costume side by side.

I decided to use a regular pant to hold the bottom part of the costume.
Figure: I decided to use a regular pant to hold the bottom part of the costume.
Figure: Pin the bottom-part of the costume over a regular pair of pants.

Sewing became a bit easier when I pinned the costume-legs over the pants. The pins hold the costume-cloth well enough to prevents unintentional movements. Sewing continuously around the entire waist to attach the costume to the pants was difficult for me. I sewed in steps of five to six inches. Taking the pants out of the machine and the needle was a hurdle for me because of my lack of experience. I still used short steps because short steps helped me keep the costume aligned with the pants.
The bottom of the legs came out to be alright in terms of sturdiness but the alignment of the threads was horrible. We need a costume that is comfortable for Dear Son to wear in the daycare. The one I made will serve the purpose. The costume was comfortable because it was basically built over his regular pants.

Bottom of the pants after sewing the costume.
Figure: Bottom of the pants after sewing the costume.
The final product. The top and the bottom parts are separated.
Figure: The final product. The top and the bottom parts are separated.

Given that there were two parts in this altered costume, Dear Son was able to pee and poop all by himself in the daycare on the Halloween day. 🙂 That was the objective of this DIY project. Didn’t I say, I always plan simple? Simple is my middle name. 🙂 Ok … I admit — it was not that easy for me. All that matters is — Dear Son was happy. Dear Wife was not that impressed by the final product but she was happy that I gave significant effort on this project. The challenge made me happy.

Settle in El Paso team 🙂

UPDATE: For the Halloween of 2018, we have prepared a list of available school-friendly Spiderman Halloween costumes in the following post: school-friendly Spiderman costumes.


48 thoughts on “How to make a school-friendly halloween costume

  1. Very creative. Your middle name is creative, indeed. I have couple of times reworked on clothes, but always for myself. I cut trousers and make it shorts, I cut shirts and make them T shirts. I have also created a new clothe by patching it.

  2. Wow, you actually did a pretty good job at separating the costume and making it into pants and a shirt. Unfortunately, I’m not exactly the best at these type of do it yourself jobs especially in terms of sewing. Did they not have a set of pants and a shirt in the style of spiderman anywhere? I went to a store recently and they had quite a few different ones like a superman one.

    1. From where I purchased it, the spiderman costumes were all in one piece. There are not much costume options in other places like Walmart or Target. Also, I did not put much thought on it when I purchased it. The bright side of it is — I got the chance to work on a DIY project. 🙂 I just thought there is nothing much to loose if I give it a try.

      Thank you for visiting and commenting.

  3. It is amazing how you took out time to separate the costumes of the spiderman Halloween costume for the celebration. Honestly, this shows how creative you’re at finding solutions to things.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I just wanted to make my son’s day with the costume a bit comfortable.

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful week.

  4. Such a good idea. Having such skill really helps in times of need. What I have noticed in most of these super hero costumes are in overalls. I believe that if clothes aren’t useful anymore then lets improvise the cloth and make it useful again. So having to cut them and making them more comfortable and convenient would for kids to wear is just fine rather than keeping the original design and it’s making your kid less interested of the costume because it’s uncomfortable.

    1. Little ones have trouble at school with the overall. I agree with you – two pieces will help. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

  5. Ha ha ha, the title is funny, and I think you worked too much to that costume. You should check in the stores for a Spiderman costume made from two pieces (pants and a blouse), that is how I bought a Spiderman costume to my son.
    Anyway, I appreciate your work and I think you did a great job in the end! Congratulation, I guess there is nothing that you cannot do!

    1. I admit I did not think much when I purchased it. Look at the bright side — I practiced sewing. 🙂 Also, most superhero costumes that store kept had a joint top and bottom. I think, this is how sometimes they keep the prices low. The costumes that had separate tops and bottoms were policeman, FBI agent, and cowboy, which Dear Son did not want. Next time, I will definitely search for a superhero with disjoint top and bottom based on your suggestion. Thank you very much for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful week.

    1. Haha ? I did not have any sewing experience till six months ago. I have done a few projects in the last few months, which gave me a little idea. ? thanks a lot for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful day.

    1. Thank you very much for your beautiful comment. I am glad to know that you also enjoy working with a sewing machine. Sewing is definitely a great fun. 🙂 Have a wonderful day.

  6. Wonderful how you transformed the costume to be much more practical for him all day. I’m smiling as I remember the Itsy Bitsy Spider song 🙂

    1. Happy to know that the post made you smile. We had tons of fun doing this project. Thanks for visiting our blog and the follow.

    1. Haha ? I am sure anyone can do it! I did not have much experience on sewing before this. I just did a few curtains before. ? I appreciate your kind comment. Thank you for visiting.

  7. Awww… I’m so glad it all worked out. Plus, you made a great memory for all involved. Someday one of you will say… remember the Spider-Man costume????

    1. Hahaha. Thanks a lot, Nancy. Yes, I am with you. These days will remain as a treasured memory! Have a wonderful weekend.

  8. Oh wow! You are one of the best parents. Some of us make do with what there is because this mom didn’t even have time to go to the shops, despite having a weekend before Halloween. Sigh! Maybe, regularly reading your blog will help get some of the good parenting you have. 🙂

    1. Thank you very much, Anne, for this wonderful comment. We try our best. I am sure all parents do. Thanks again for visiting our blog and writing a very encouraging comment. Have a wonderful weekend ahead.

    1. I appreciate your comment. Thanks for visiting. I just found that your comment somehow went to the spam folder without sending any notification. This is why I did not respond earlier. 🙂 have a wonderful day.

  9. This is wonderful in so many ways. 1- that you took the time to alter a costume for your son rather than make him wear something he didn’t want 2- that you did a brilliant job of it by overcoming obstacles that came up and 3- that you shared the DIY with all of us! It was hilarious and informative all at the same time. Great post!

    1. Thank you very much for reading this article and writing such a beautiful comment. I enjoyed this project a lot. Dear Son had a great time in the daycare on the Halloween day. We went out to the neighborhood for trick-or-treating that evening. It was awesome!

      I appreciate your wonderful comment and visit. Your comment is very inspiring. Have a wonderful week.

  10. You did a fabulous job with this project and I agree that they should make these costumes in two pieces. I’m admiring the thread cutter, I’ve had mine for some time and do not have the protective ball on one side.

    1. Definitely, the thread cutter is a handy item. I was not aware of it until a few months ago. My wife pointed at the thread cutter when I was trying to use scissors to cut some threads. 🙂

      I appreciate your visit and the comment. Have a wonderful day.

  11. When I was an Early Childhood teacher, I would have been so happy about your clever sewing project!! You just might receive the “Dad of the Year” Award!!

    1. LoL. I appreciate your comment. Coming from you, this is a great encouragement for me. Thank you very much for visiting our blog.

  12. you did extremely well. One tiny little extremely annoying remark though. that kind of stitching easily unravels. You pick apart ONE thread on the end and pull…………….magic, it’s all done in about…oh, 35 seconds. You hate me now, don’t you? lol

    1. That is awesome! That will save a lot of time. Just to make sure, so that I can use your method next time. Are you referring to the step where I used a thread-cutter to separate the top? Instead of cutting every zigzag stitch, I could pick one thread at one end and pull off the entire stitching? That is really tremendous! 🙂 Cutting-the-threads part was quite hard. I will use your method next time.

      Thanks a lot for visiting our blog and providing helpful tips.

  13. You are one savvy wife and mother. I remember when I was little having a costume the mask of which I could not take off because it was sewn to the hood of my costume. I know from experience that a costume must be utilitarian and cute!

    1. LoL. Thanks a lot Grace, for visiting and telling us about your childhood experience. I tried to make it utilitarian. I wish I could do more to make it look better. I still have miles to go in alterations. 🙂

  14. Love it on all levels! Not only have you come up with a great, and much more practical, user-friendly childs costume for Dear Son, you smashed three daily prompts in one.
    Excellent work! ?

    1. Thank you very much, Vanessa. Here is the story behind three daily prompts — I started writing this post yesterday when the prompt was Eerie and ended writing it today when the prompt is Copycat. Of course, Transmogrify stands for this week’s photo prompt. 🙂

      We are delighted to see you revisit our blog and write a beautiful comment. Thanks once again.

  15. Even if Dear Wife wasn’t impressed, I am very impressed. A lot of people wouldn’t think through to see the problem and even less would come up with a solution. Good job!

    1. LoL. Thank you very much, Sarah, for visiting our blog and leaving a wonderful note. Dear Wife was very happy that I tried. She gave me all 100 points for trying. 🙂 Again, I appreciate the encouraging note you have written for me.

    1. I appreciate your kind encouragement, Susan. It was more like a necessity since Dear Son would need to spend the whole day in the daycare in a costume. Many thanks for visiting our blog.

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