Introduction: Oogie Boogie Costume (Glows)

Picture of Oogie Boogie Costume (Glows)
You're jokin'! You're jokin'! I can't believe mah EYEZ!" I made my husband into Oogie Boogie as a last minute costume for the LACMA Tim Burton/Dead Man's Ball, that we ended up missing and I cried. (We were both in costume, lost in downtown LA as the party was ending.) One of the most depressing moments in my creative career.

But hey, we made up for it with a great suggestion from a friend - on Halloween night, we went to Downtown Disney and took hundreds of photos with children and families and we were smiling all night. It felt really awesome for him to be recognized as Oogie Boogie and it was funny because everyone thought that we worked there and we were supposed to be taking pics. (The half-circle crowd with flashes from cameras, multiple familes in the same photos by incident and even some children crying at the sight of him.) - I was dressed as elegant Shock (Boogie's Kids).

We tried to get a portrait drawn of us, but the guy had to call his manager because of the mask. We overheard him in the background "NO, it's LEGIT"... hahah. It was a no-go. :(

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Burlap - around 7-8 yards to be safe
Black Yarn - cheapest stuff (Red Heart?)
Multi-Pack of needles - it has some big ones in there with round tips for burlap
Embroidery Floss - to match the burlap
Black Fabric/Embroidery Floss- for the mouth and eyes, optional
Black Sharpie - for the eyes/mouth as needed
Paper Towels - to wrap/pad the wire
Thick Wire - utility/type from Home Depot
Pliers, Scissors
Glowz by Krylon 6/7/8 cans - optional for black light effect

Step 2: The Shape

Picture of The Shape

To be a million % honest, I'm not a seamstress. I basically held the fabric up to him and made cuts where I thought I would need them. So, as strange as it is, I will tell you how I did it.

I unfolded the burlap and had him lay on it. I made a cut from head height to a couple feet below his feet for the back panel. Because of the amount of burlap I had left, the front panel was shorter and it made a deep neckline, in the end. Which was fine, I just put a panel there at the end, to make it covered up.

Once you have your front and back panels, you can use the yarn to stitch up, LOOSELY and UNEVENLY, the sides. Go deep into the burlap, maybe a half inch or more on each panel, so that it won't unravel the edges if it stresses the seams.

I made the arm panels by themselves and I made them come to a peak, just beyond his fingertips. (That way he had control over them.)

Once your arms are cut out and sewn together, you can just attach them to the body, without sewing the armholes shut. I liked doing these steps with him inside the costume so that I would know how it looked and fit when I would be done.

Step 3: Texture

Picture of Texture

One thing that I wanted to make sure of - that he wouldn't just be a guy in a burlap sack. So I pinched some lines of burlap and used the embroidery floss to stitch behind them. This created ripples and folds where there were none. I think this should be critical, even though it's just a tiny step, which may go unnoticed.

Step 4: Feet Holes

Picture of Feet Holes

When it came to the bottom, I just made the two sides (front and back) meet at the bottom edge and did some folding and tucking around his calves so that I knew he would be able to step into and out of the suit once it was finished. Don't worry about the bulkiness of the extra fabric down there, that's what you need for the low-crotch-boogie look.

Step 5: Escape!

Picture of Escape!

At this point, he's sewn into the costume and I needed to get him out. So I took my scissors and made a clean line, maybe 2.5 feet long from the back of the neck, all the way to mid-back. I had him carefully take it off his shoulders and then down his waist and step out of it.

Once the costume was free from his body, I reinforced the V, where the end of my cutting rested. I wanted to make sure that it didn't rip any further. (Basically, sew like a mad person, back and forth, all over it with the embroidery floss.)

Then I wanted to make some ties in the back to tie it shut when he puts it on. So I did this with the black yarn, it was simple and effective. He's been in and out of this costume on the failed tim burton night, family party, work party and halloween night, with no wear on the V section , nor the ties. :)

Step 6: Glowz!

Picture of Glowz!

Time to buy a million cans of Glowing spray paint that won't go to use. :( We used about 6 cans. You may want to buy 7 or 8, just to be safe, and return the last one if you don't use it. But remember, the suit will need numerous coats, and so will the mask.

I took him outside and made him do some slow spins as I painted him up. It's transparent, so you can't see what you've done until you hold a black light to it, once it's dried it will activate. Yes, the paint went through and I ended up painting my husband LOL, it made a cool effect. (The can says to not get it on your skin. But he lived.)

I would say....10-12 coats of spray paint and between those, you need to go over it with a hand-held black light to see where you've missed any spots.

Step 7: The MASK...dun Dun DUUN!

Picture of The MASK...dun Dun DUUN!

Yeah, this is the make-it-or-break-it part. When I finished the mask and I put it on my husband I was so frustrated that I wanted to quit. It looked HORRIBLE. need to work it until it looks right. Just remember that. DONT GIVE UP. I grabbed some safety pins and started to pin where I thought would help out the look, then I used the matching floss and I tacked it in place. That saved the entire costume. Just, don't, quit.

Now, to make the mask, I did the same ridiculous thing where I laid the fabric over his head and I thought about the ghost tip on top, and where the face would go to the sides and I used a marker to mark where the eyes would go. Then a straight line for the placing of the mouth.

I took some paper towels and padded some wire shapesfor the mouth (top and bottom) so that they would have the puffy look, as Oogie Boogie does in the movie. I did a preliminary sew-on with the black yarn and noticed that I wasn't getting the full shape of the lip stiches, so I did a second run-through and exaggerated the existing stitches to complete the effect. I did this with the top and bottom lips. Then I used some black floss to sew in the black fabric right along the inner lip line. I left some excess fabric there and just made clean edge cuts after I had sewn in the giant rectangle. (amateur) lol

I tried to do the fabric eyes that you could see through, but the fabric was gathering too much and it was a major mess, so I just shaped the eyes with the sharpie and I evenly colored in where the eyes would be. (He could see through the burlap, so it was a great solution to the fabric eyes.)

For the eyebrows, I didn't want them to be TOO pronounced, so I left out the wire and I just rolled up some paper towel into a couple snake shapes and I sewed it into the face, where the brows would be. (Using the matching floss, burlap color.) Make sure not to pull the thread too tight, you just want the hints of brows, nothing like the lips. (Just don't let the tan thread go into the black eye color, stay above the black line.)

Then I folded the tip top, cut the peak shape and stitched it together with the black yarn. Once I had met the top of the head - area, I stuffed some recycled plastic bags in there to hold the shape. Continuing on with the mask, sew the head and neck shut, on your costume wearer, with room for him or her to lift it off. That way you know exactly how tight to make it. I added an extra panel to the back of the mask to overhang some of my "yarn closures" on the back of the costume, which worked out. :D

The GHOST TIP! :D I wanted to make the top peak of the mask visible from the front, but not an unnatural bend. So I carefully folded the tip, while it was on my husband and smashed the plastic bags out of the way on the inside to find the best tacking spots. I fastened 2 safety pins where I wanted to sew, and then I tacked the folds in place. It was a gentle hold for the shape that I wanted.

Now, to finish it off, just add any extra flaps where you'd need them, or extensions to lay over onto parts of the costume if you'd like.

Step 8: Glow Face

Picture of Glow Face

Maybe it's a good idea to spray all the fabric before you use it, but that could be a waste of the paint, which is $5 a can!! GAH!

So, we painter's-taped the eyes and pinned the mouth shut and gave it a few coats of the spray paint. Once it passed the black light test, we were done!

Step 9: Strike a Pose!

Picture of Strike a Pose!

Time for photography and fun! :D Go scare little kiddies or parade in your new suit. I had him dance in front of the green felt and put him in with the Boogie Man Himself! So you can listen to the song and watch their "duet" haha.

I really recommend going to a public place to make kids happy and families smile because it makes YOU feel good about it. I really needed that, to bring me up from the slums that I was in, a couple days before. HAPPINESS is Contagious! <3


Breaz made it! (author)2017-10-13

Thank you! Thank you!! For these instructions. It really helped tremendously!!!

Ckwhit (author)Breaz 2017-10-23

Looks great! I'm not having as easy of a time! Any pointers?

Breaz (author)Ckwhit2017-10-23

Where are you having a hard time?
It's a ton of hand sewing so that is where I got exhausted.

Geezus92 made it! (author)2016-11-14

Loved the instructions. This is how my version came out with my own tweaks. Thank you! I was the winner of a halloween costume contest.

AdrianS135 (author)2016-10-31

I attached the wire for the mouth to this and it worked great

AdrianS135 made it! (author)2016-10-31

Thanks for having this up. It was fun wearing it. I made my mask move.

ccaulifield made it! (author)2016-10-31

This went great! Took me a few hours but will have to spend a few more to perfect it. Learned a few things along the way using this guide and plenty of actual photos; The stitches look best when they go straight across the seem, to make sewing easier i ttaped the yarn to a bamboo bbq skewer allowing me to thread many stitches at once, also i used twine to sew as i had some in the house.

HanYall (author)2016-10-14

This is incredible both my mom and I are obsessed with this movie. We have been Jack and Sally so many times for halloween i cant even count anymore. Soo this is very exciting to finally try out Oogie Boogie. One of my favorite characters.

mysterials (author)2016-10-13

What a great turnout!! I was jack, and Sally last couple years for im glad i found this ooggie boogie how to. Ty for posting

LulluxD (author)2016-09-25

Was it easy for him to get in and out of the costume all by himself and if so, how? I'm just thinking of being able to use the toilet and such ;). I'm considering making it for this years halloween, so it's pretty crucial is possible ;)

gabgra11 (author)2016-09-19

That looks amazing! It looks just like the movie!

GannonD made it! (author)2016-08-31

Made this for a "Halloween in July" party any it was awesome! I couldn't get the eyebrows to look good so I left them out, but everything else turned out great!!

narkymanek (author)2016-06-08

I have a question, do you happen to have a video showing how you made this? I only ask cause me and my friend who is helping me are both visual learners, like we need a video to help.

CarrieM4 made it! (author)2015-10-31

I made this a couple years ago - and pulled it out again this year (with just as many if not more compliments). Below is upon completion (except feet) and the "big day" taking it in public.

SteffanK made it! (author)2015-10-30

4 Years on and this is still helping people :) this is my effort. Thank you!

Lockshocknbarrel (author)2015-10-28

Last full body pic was cut off. This is a bit better. I also added holes around the wrist to have hand access & a slit with velcro on the side to be able to reach his pocket/wallet

Lockshocknbarrel made it! (author)2015-10-28

Thank you!!! Your instructions were a great help! Wore the mask on a hat at Disneyland for MIckey's Halloween Party & will wear the whole outfit for a party this weekend.

IngridM8 made it! (author)2015-10-24

Thank you for the instructions! They were really helpful
had a great time making it

Bebasjax (author)2015-10-14

Thanks for posting, I got the materials today to do it for my husband. Hopefully I can pull it off.

TheTSMAgency (author)2015-10-14

Great instructions! Thank you for posting! I'm making this right now for my son to wear in Disney World for the Halloween Party! Having trouble shaping the head but hopefully it will work out.

SuperAlley (author)2015-10-08

Quick question: how much were the supplies and where did you get them? I love the costume you made!! It's amazing and looks like the real Boogie! I want to frighten my friends on halloween night! Mwahaha?

pikachu4592 made it! (author)2015-08-23

We are working on a nightmare before Christmas display for Halloween and Christmas for our home in the front yard. Your costume was the inspiration for our stand up Oogie Boogie. Took us a while to get enough stuffing to fill him up. Hope you like him. Your costume helped me get a great start and turned out fantastic. Thanks for the ideas and diy.

mryan2 made it! (author)2014-11-16

Turned out great! The only things I changed were: I sewed just the edges of the arms so I could easily take my arms in and out. Also I made little boots for it to fit around my shoes.

mryan2 (author)2014-11-16

Turned out great! The only things I changed were: I sewed just the edges of the arms so I could easily take my arms in and out. Also I made little boots for it to fit around my shoes.

cheener (author)2014-11-03

also made this...didn't do the glow and added some bugs....I also used a hat and some foam underneath to keep the burlap off my hubby face...thanks for the directions

shana.dentonreynolds (author)2014-10-31

Thank you for the how to manual....our boogie boogie was a huge success...

caitlinrobbins.demass (author)2014-10-30

Question: Did you double up on the burlap? In your photographs the entire costume looks very opaque. But with the burlap I'm using one layer seems pretty transparent. Under decent lighting I can easily see clothing and hands under it.

Mielameri (author)2014-10-29

I can't even wrap my mind around how awesome this is. Really cool, and so well executed!

lisbeth.vonderfehr (author)2014-10-29

How did you cut the burlap for the mask?? I am trying to make the costume to my son, but I am a little scared about the mask! :-). Cross you fingers :-)

BLASTFEMI (author)2014-10-28

This is awesome!

emily.artis.10 (author)2014-10-26

im making a girl version of this, but im going to use your mask.

leah.everest (author)2014-10-26

Pics to follow as it is not quite done but making this for my 10 year old for part of our family costume. This made it so much simpler!!

karynml (author)2014-10-23

This looks like a really great project; thanks for sharing! I'm going to try it for a Halloween event next week and the only thing I'm going to change is to purchase green (or avocado actually) colored burlap - and bypass the issues with using black lights and/or spray painting the fabric. I have sourced the colored burlap and hope my design turns out half as good as yours! Thanks again!

krayman made it! (author)2014-10-16

Thank you! I followed your instructable last year for Halloween; it turned out really good & everyone loved it! Here is my daughter wearing it with my niece in her store bought Sally costume. I think the only thing I had problems with is making his body look full & not like a person wearing a sack...mainly because I ran out of time.

maria.liwanag.9 (author)2014-10-10

This is awesome! It looks so professional. I'm trying to do a last minute costume. I have too many events & I won't be able to swing too many projects, but this one looks perfect. Thanks so much for the idea and for the tips! You have inspired me!!!!

propgirrl (author)2014-06-12

Love this!!! Finally a project I think I can pull off! LOL!

Thanks for posting. Nice job!

shastina1223 (author)2014-04-15

You did such a wonderful job. I am looking at making him as a prop for an event in October and wanted to thank you for the tutorial. It will be helpful because I did not want to make a solid piece due to transport and now I realized I can do it similar to what you have done and make the costume then prep him on site! Thanks again

jujudalton (author)2013-12-17

I used your directions to make an Oogie Boogie this last week. They were so helpful! Thanks so much!

Mine isn't as nice as yours and it doesn't glow but we did win a costume contest.

tandykins (author)2013-10-08

Can I recommend making the paint yourself? You can buy the glow powder relatively cheaply (it's used to make fishing lures) and then just mix it with any clear coat. Viola. Glow paint.

rathemighty (author)2013-09-18

Can you help me make a Candlejack costume?

dfm500 (author)2012-11-09

I did this for Halloween this year. Mine didn't turn out as well (and didn't glow), but for ~$25 and ~2 hours of work, I was presentable at a halloween party. I used hot glue for the seams. It was faster and easier than sewing. I also created the sleeves separately, so they could be pulled off easily. I wish I had used safety pins to hold the mask to the body. I am 6'3", and I kinda looked like a guy in a burlap sack. I wish that I had used safety pins to hold pillows on the inside, around the middle to give the body some bulk. But otherwise, it was cool. Thank you for the original instructions!

lefaye152 (author)2012-10-18

Beautiful! I would have sewn some plastic bugd into the seams.

SweetLincoln (author)2012-09-16

this is awesome. very inspiring.

karalalala (author)2012-09-16

This is nuts. You are AWESOME! Nice job.

rrkrose (author)2012-09-02

Wow this is amazing! I am planning on making it for someone for halloween.

albertkelley25 (author)2012-05-24

did you make shoes for the costume

PaHalloweenFreak (author)2012-05-12

I LOVE OOGIE BOOGIE! Great job on this costume! It's the best I've seen!

Dusk Shadows (author)2012-04-11


xxev75 (author)2012-01-08

Luv it!!! You are amazing ty for sharing.

cdawisconsin (author)2011-11-22

I can't believe how good this is. It's like you pulled him right off the screen. Great project and well deserved win. Congrats.

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