Introduction: How to Make an Inexpensive Giraffe Costume

This guide will help you create a unique giraffe costume for as little as $20 in only 1.5 hours. Every year I struggle with coming up with a creative costume that doesn't take a lot of time. We are all busy this time of year, and if you are a college student, there is a good possibility you are also broke. If you are wanting to stand out from the boring ghosts and witches this Halloween, unleash your inner animal with this easy, yet creative, Halloween costume!

Step 1: Gather Your Materials.

Materials you will need are:

An all-white (or cream), long-sleeved outfit - $0-30
This can be anything from a white sweatsuit to long johns to a unitard, just as long as the the pieces are long-sleeved and are the same color of white or cream. You may already have something lying around, and if that doesn't work, you can also look in used clothing stores. Make sure the items are things you won't mind gluing pieces onto and getting destroying. For this costume, I am using a white unitard. All the other items can easily be found at any craft stores.

1/4 yard of dark brown felt or fleece - $2.99
(For the hooves)

1 yard of light brown felt - $5.99
(For the giraffe spots, tail, and ears)

2 bottle of fabric glue - $4.99 ea.

Plastic headband - $1

1 Safety Pin - $.01
(For pinning the tail on).

Step 2: Make the Giraffe Spots

1. Cut out several polygon shapes from the light brown felt that are irregular and of different sizes.
  • The size of the shapes can be anywhere from 2 inches to 6 inches wide.
  • Don't worry about making them look perfect. Giraffe spots are typically just irregular polygons.
Warning: If a young child is helping, scissors can be dangerous if not used appropriately.

Step 3: Glue Giraffe Spots Onto White Outfit.

1. Glue the felt giraffe spots you cut out in step 2 onto your white outfit.
  • Squeeze glue onto all of the edges of one side of the felt shapes.
  • Make sure glue is spread to the very edges of the shape. You do not want edges peeling up.
  • Place shape onto outfit (glue-side down) and smooth it out. You can start anywhere on your outfit. Just make sure you start with one shape and spread out from it rather than just gluing the shapes thoughtlessly all-over.
  • Leave a 1/2" or 1" gap between each shape to allow the white of the outfit to show through and to convey the giraffe pattern.
Caution: Glue is messy! Work on a hard surface that can be washed, and wear clothes that you won't mind getting glue on.

Step 4: Create Ears for Headband.

1. Cut out 2 leaf-shaped pieces from the light brown felt.
  • 3 inches wide x 5 inches long
  • They should be the same shape and size.
  • Hint: It might help to cut one out and trace it onto the remaining felt.

2. Fold the ear pieces make them look more realistic.
  • For the right ear, pinch in bottom of the right side of the ear and fold 1/2" of the left side over towards the right side.
  • Glue left side onto right side of the bottom of the ear.
  • For the left ear, pinch in bottom of the left side of the ear and fold 1/2" of the right side over towards the right side.
  • Glue right side onto left side of the bottom of the ear.
3. Set ear pieces down until Step 6.
  • You will be making the horns next.

Step 5: Create Horns for Headband.

1. Cut two 3" tall by 1.5" wide rounded horn-shaped pieces from the light brown felt.
  • Make sure they are the same size.
  • Don't worry about getting them precise; a giraffe's knobby horns are supposed to be funny-looking.
2. Place glue around the outside edges of one of the pieces.
  • Caution: Do not place glue on the edge opposite of the rounded side of the horn piece. This needs to be kept open.
3. Glue 2 pieces together.
  • Make sure to spread glue out towards edges and not inward. You only want glue on the edges.
4. Once completely dry, flip pieces inside out so that the glued edges are not showing.

5. Do this process again for the other knobby horn.

Step 6: Connect Ears and Horns Onto Headband.

Once ears and horns are completely dry, you are ready to glue them onto the headband.

1. Glue horns onto the headband.
  • Open up the bottom of the horn a bit.
  • Place first horn a bit off-centered from the center of the headband so that each face of the horn is on a side of the headband. The center will be directly between the horns.
  • Glue open flaps together on the bottom of the headband so horn stays on firmly.
  • Follow these steps to glue the other horn onto the headband.
2. Glue ears onto the headband.
  • Place right ear to the right of the right horn.
  • Wrap bottom of the ear around the headband.
  • Glue securely so that the ear sticks out.

Step 7: Create the Giraffe Tail.

1. Make the tail fringe.
  • Cut out a 6" x 3" rectangle of light brown felt
  • Fold rectangle in a hot-dog half.
  • Cut 1/2" strips beginning on cut edge down to the folded edge. Do not cut through fold.
  • Set fringe off to the side.
2. Make the tail tube.
  • Cut out a 6" square of light brown felt.
  • Roll up the square and glue the side down to make a tube.
3. Connect fringe to tube.
  • Accordion-fold the fringe on the folded side.
  • Stuff folded edge into one side of the tube.
  • Glue fringe into the tube.
4. Safety pin the end of the tail to the backside of the costume just below the tailbone.

Step 8: Cut Out Shapes for Hooves

1. Cut out shapes from the dark brown felt to make shapes for the hooves.
  • Cut out a rectangle that is longer than your hand (or rather, the hand of whoever is wearing the costume) and that is about 4 - 5" wide.
  • Cut out an oval shape from the rectangle, leaving a tab at the bottom to glue shape to the sleeve of your costume, but make sure to not cut too far away from the edges. (You don't want your hooves too small.)
  • Cut a slit at the other end for the toe separation.
  • Do the same for the other hand.
  • Follow these directions for the hoof shapes to go on top of your shoes, but when cutting out the rectangle, make sure it long enough to cover the top of your shoe.
2. Glue hooves onto costume.
  • Glue the tab of the hand-hoof just underneath the sleeve edge that will be on the top side of your arm.
  • Repeat for other hand-hoof.
  • Glue the tab of the foot-hoof just underneath the edge of the pant leg that will be on the top side of your shoe.
  • Repeat for the other foot-hoof.

Step 9: Wear Costume.

1. Put your white giraffe suit on.
2. Put headband on.
3. Take a look at yourself in the mirror.
  • Warning: There is not a giraffe in your house. The giraffe costume is quite deceiving, but it is just you in a giraffe costume!
4. Think tall.
  • Now that you are a giraffe, you need to think tall. Maybe try to bite off a leaf from a tree or something.
5. Get other friends to join!
  • Convince other friends to be lions, zebras, safari guides, etc. You can end up with an entire African safari group!
Halloween Easy Costumes Challenge

Finalist in the
Halloween Easy Costumes Challenge