Saturday, October 15, 2011

Homemade Pterodactyl Costume

This year, R wants to be a cat. A cat. For me, that's the epitome of boring as far as Halloween costumes for boys are concerned. I want him to be happy though, and being a cat will make him happy. I'm just a little bummed I don't get to try and make something awesome. Of course I don't tell him any of this, but that's the truth. He might be saving us a lot of trouble though. You see, for some reason, I often procrastinate. Even if I'm excited about something. Sure I can say that this year would have been different, but who knows? At least a cat costume will be simple and quick, right?

This is a little embarrassing, but I thought I'd share it anyways. Last year R wanted to be a "flying dinosaur" and the only thing lamer than me waiting until Halloween day the last minute to make his costume, were the ones you could buy. Go ahead and google "pterodactyl costumes."  Okay. So I should have started a month before, but honestly, I started this project at around one in the morning on Halloween day. If you have a child that desperately wants to be a pterodactyl and you start now, you could make it 100x better, so I thought I'd tell you all how I did it.

I don't have pictures of the process because I was in such a frantic dash to the finish, but I think it's all pretty easy to comprehend. If I don't explain it well enough and you have questions, please ask and I'll try to do better. Anyways, I just put him in a green thermal and green sweat pants. I bought some green material for the wings and quickly made a pattern by using his shirt as a guide. The wings were sewn and tacked onto the shirt. I liked this because I didn't have to sew a lot, and he got to wear the clothes for more than just one day. We also bought mittens and split each mitten in half. My husband hand-sewed the mitten into a forked hand, so that he would have his thumb and two other "claws." He had two fingers on each side of the mitten, and it didn't bother him at all.  You can see this in the above picture.

The head was the time consuming part, and it wouldn't have been bad at all, had I started even a week earlier. You could make this look much nicer with a little well spent time. But hey, if you're like me, at least you know you can pull this off in less than 24 hours. I bought a plastic fireman helmet from The Dollar Tree and trimmed the back rim off. Then I taped folded paper plates to the helmet to make the pterodactyl shaped head. Next I covered the whole thing with paper mache. I was just slapping the stuff on and then drying it with a hair dryer. Meanwhile, my husband was making R's feet. We wanted him to wear his shoes, but my husband really wanted him to have dinosaur feet, so we sculpted some out of thin cardboard. We used a cereal box and just cut a piece out to fit around his shoe. We put it over his shoe, taped it together, and then removed his shoe to work further. Then my husband cut out pieces of the cereal box for the talons. He taped them to the base and then we covered everything with paper mache. Then we slept. Briefly. Next, I primed each piece with thin coats of spray paint primer. I let that dry (thankfully it dried quickly) and then spray painted everything green. I added a few details with acrylic paints and called it good. In order for the helmet to attach to R's head, I attached some of the leftover wing fabric to the inside of the helmet with Velcro. The fabric then fastened under his chin with Velcro. To wear the dinosaur feet over his shoes, we first put his foot through the hole in the top of the paper mache foot. Then we put his shoes on and slid the feet into place. So easy.

It's not perfect, but there you go. Maybe there's someone out there like me, with a child like R, who needs an idea fast. R loved it, and that's all that really matters. It was cheap, which is an added bonus. And in spite of the thrown together nature of the project, the helmet has held up well this past year. Although the feet met their demise in gravel driveways.

What do your children want to be for Halloween?


  1. I'm impressed! It looks like a Pterodactyl costume, and R looks pleased with it as well!

  2. That turned out great! Thank you for sharing on The Sunday Showcase!

  3. Thank you both for your kind words. I appreciate you taking the time to comment!

  4. Love this idea. I found you through “It’s Play Time” and made sure to pin this to Pinterest.

  5. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and share my post, Tabitha. I really appreciate it. I hope it helps someone make something even better. I've had traffic from various searches on how to make one, so there's some kind of demand out there. So thanks so much again for pinning!

  6. You said, "t's not perfect, but there you go. Maybe there's someone out there like me, with a child like R, who needs an idea fast."...that's me! We're gonna use this this year! Thank you!!


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