Fun, Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids: Boys' Pirate Costumes

Time was when we could all raid our mother's closet for two or three silk scarves, and some colorful crinolines with which to transform our girlish selves into smoldering gypsy dancers or fortunes tellers, complete with kiss curls, red lips and every piece of gold costume jewelry we could cajole our mothers to part with for the big, costume party night.

Little boys were similarly arrayed in Dad's white shirt, collar turned under, and sleeves carefully pinned in at the cuff to simulate blousey pirate garb, all cinched in at the waist with the biggest, widest belt in the house. Some lucky boys even sported wicked looking, tin-foil covered, cardboard scimitars, along with a mascara mustache and sideburns à la Errol Flynn to complete the look.

Raggedy Pirate Boy from pirate-costume-ideas.com
Raggedy Pirate Boy from pirate-costume-ideas.com

Raiders of the Lost Attic

In these days of down-sizing and de-cluttering, those sartorial treasures, once relegated to the back of the wardrobe or banished to a trunk in the attic, are now cast out completely - gone to the Goodwill, or fabric recyclers. The really good pieces are often snapped up by collectors who patrol garage and estate sales in search of such prizes.

What's a kid to do nowadays for an easy, inexpensive Halloween costume? Like Indiana Jones, journeying around the globe in search of fabulous relics, we attic and closet raiders must now resort to ranging farther afield in search of our treasures.

Sure, we can all traipse down to the nearest big-box store and pick out a ready-made, off-the-rack costume - and there are some lovely ones available - but where's the fun in that? It's quick, easy, and efficient, and that could be just what the doctor ordered for many of us, pressed for time as we are these days. Sometimes, though, those lovely costumes can be a bit pricey - and the nicer they are, the more they cost.

For those with a bit of time, and a little imagination though, there's a world of possibilities out there, just waiting to be explored, where the challenge comes from sorting through what's available, and creating something wonderful out of ordinary bits and bobs.

Value Village, Goodwill Store

One of the best places to find super costume ideas is your local Value Village, or thrift store. You can make some amazing finds, especially around Halloween, when many stores trot out their period wear, and stock up on fake hair, crazy wigs, and inexpensive Halloween paraphernalia.

Unfortunately, some of these stores are trying to modernize their stock. They have simply gotten rid of a lot of the older clothing items that weren't selling. This is great news for those of us who depend on thrift stores to eke out our clothing budgets, because we know their styles will be more current. For those of us in search of inexpensive really, really, old clothing, it's not such a great policy.

Do not despair, though. As long as you know what to look for, you can still create super and inexpensive Halloween costumes for your kids.

Boys' Pirate Costume - Two Styles

Raggedy Pirate - little sewing required
Fancy Pirate - requires more sewing
Materials:
Materials:
Man's white shirt, long sleeved
Man's white shirt, long sleeved
Scarf, dark print or dark, plain for sash - should be long enough to go around child's waist and dangle almost to the knee
Scarf, long silky, in a brightly-colored print for sash
Scarf, dark print or solid square for head-dress
Scarf, bright print or solid square for head-dress
Men's suit pants - lightweight, tan or brown, only big enough to be loose, but able to be pinned or sewn to fit at the waist
Men's suit pants - light-weight, tan or brown, only big enough to be loose, but able to be pinned or sewn to fit at the waist
Belt, wide, plain leather-look, with plain buckle - ladies' belt will work
Belt, wide, plain leather-look with plain buckle - ladies' belt will work
Brown or black exercise slippers - fabric with elasticized edge
Boots, plain, leather look - inexpensive winter boots will serve well
Necklace, large "amulet" style on leather cord (buy a cord and necklace separately, and restring the "amulet" on the cord
Gold chain(s) with medallion, if possible

Fancy Pirate:

Shirt:

  1. Remove collar and placket from shirt as for the Raggedy Pirate costume.
  2. Pin the cuffs to slide over your child's hands. Sew the cuffs shut and snip off the buttons. Remove any thread ends. Add a loosely gathered lace ruffle over the cuff.
  3. Alternatively, you can completely remove the cuffs, and add lace trim, three to four inches in depth. Gather the sleeves onto 1/2" elastic cut to fit your child's wrists, sewing the elastic onto the back of the sleeve where the sleeve and lace join.
  4. Add the same or a similar lace trim to the bottom of the shirt.

Pants:

  1. Pin or baste the waist of the suit pants so that they fit your child's waist.
  2. Trim the pant legs so that the legs end at your child's ankles.
  3. Pants are worn tucked into boots and loosely bloused out over the boot tops.

The pirate gold medallion(s) should hang about mid-chest, over the shirt. Fold head-scarf in half and tie over your child's head with the knot and tails to one side. Fasten the belt around your child's waist over top of the shirt.

Pull the shirt up so that it blouses loosely over the belt. Tie the second scarf just below the belt, knotting to one side so the tails hang down unevenly.

Finishing touches you can purchase: tri-corn hat (three-cornered pirate hat), eye patch, plastic pirate sword.

Raggedy Pirate:

Shirt:

  1. Remove collar from shirt using scissors; button the shirt and turn it inside out, then sew the placket shut on both sides of the buttonholes, as high as the third-from-the-top button. This allows room for the shirt to slip over your child's head. Snip off all the buttons and remove any thread bits.
  2. Cut off the sleeves in a ragged and uneven manner so the bottom edge will fall about half-way between your child's elbow and wrist. Shred the sleeve bottoms in several places.
  3. Trim the hem from the shirttails in a raggedy and uneven manner, Shred the shirttails in several places. Shirt may be belted or worn loose.

Pants:

  1. Pin or baste the waist of the suit pants so that they fit your child's waist.
  2. Trim the pant legs in a ragged and uneven manner so that the legs end roughly half-way between your child's knees and ankles.
  3. Shred the leg bottoms in several places.

Attach amulet to leather cord or string. The pirate amulet should hang about mid-chest, over the shirt. Fold head-scarf in half and tie over your child's head with the knot and tails to one side. Fasten the belt around your child's waist over top of the shirt. Tie the second scarf just below the belt, knotting to one side so the tails hang down unevenly.

Finishing touches you can purchase: eye patch, plastic pirate sword. You may not want your pirate to go barefoot, so the brown or black exercise slippers are a good alternative.

Pirate costume from thisnext.com
Pirate costume from thisnext.com

It's both simple and inexpensive to add a sleeveless vest to your child's pirate costume. Simply find a brightly colored silky or velour shirt, and remove the sleeves. Cut off the button placket from both sides, and then shorten the vest to the desired length.

The newly-created vest is worn over the shirt, belted, and tied with a colorful (long scarf) sash. If you wish, you can sew on gold or metallic rick-rack trim to finish the cut edges.

The costume on the right features a red jacket, gold sash, and fun fake prosthetic (hook hand), along with a silvery cutlass.

With a little work, some basic sewing, and very little cash, it's possible to create some truly fun, unique costumes for your kids ,These are the kinds of costumes that can involve the whole family in both the shopping and in the making - costumes that you will all remember for years to come.

© 2011 RedElf

More by this Author


13 comments

FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I was always something different each year for Halloween and my costumes were always either made by Mom or combined thrift store buys. I remember being a gypsy one year.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

That sounds just like our Halloween routine, Flora. I miss having kids to find/make/sew costumes for the big trick-or-treat night.


FatFreddysCat profile image

FatFreddysCat 5 years ago from The Garden State

My kids were pirates for Halloween two years ago. Their costumes were a combination of homemade and a couple of store bought items.

This year they want to be the Mario Bros. (Mario and Luigi), we're still trying to figure out how to work that one. Haha.


rosettaartist1 profile image

rosettaartist1 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Good advice again RedElf. Happy Haloween


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Cat, I'll bet they were the cutest pirates - er, I mean, the roughest, toughest pirates :D I've been imagining little boys in slightly-too-big yellow ball caps with red or blue coveralls, work boots, and big fake handle-bar mustaches. too cute (Sorry, don't tell your boys I said "too cute.")

Thanks rosettaartist1 - Happy Halloween to you too.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

It's such fun to dress them up for Halloween and kids love it. I used to love it more the our son did.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Hi there, friend Hh. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. I, too, am pretty sure it wore off for my son long before it did for me.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Rock on, RedElf! You're so right- we can do a TON with used clothing when it comes to costumes. Especially pirate costumes, hahaa! This is a really fabulous Hub. Your tips are super useful... I've gotten quite a few costume ideas to work with now!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Simone, you are most welcome. I come from a long line of "costume builders" and "clothing re-purposers." Granny would be proud to see your comments.


cashmere profile image

cashmere 5 years ago from India

Here's to budding Errol Flynns . Easy to do pirate costume, thanks for sharing


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, cashmere! Pirates are great fun!


htodd profile image

htodd 4 years ago from United States

Thanks...Great post


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada Author

You are always welcome, htodd!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working