How to Dress as Link from the Legend of Zelda Video Games
Elven Hero Comes Alive With Thrift Store Finds
Link, the elven hero from the Legend of Zelda series, is a pretty popular fellow. As the titular hero of one of Nintendo's most popular games, he's helped sell over 67 million copies of the different Zelda games worldwide. He's even in the Video Game Hall of Fame. It's no wonder that each year thousands of kids want to dress like Link for Halloween.
Sure, You Can Get a Professional Costume - But What Fun is That?
There are a lot of different places you can buy a Link costume for Halloween.
- At HalloweenCostumes.com, The adult LInk costume costs $62.99.
- This one, at Oscostume.com, costs $180! And you can barely even see what you are getting!
- You can get a cute costume on .. for $48.99. That's not including the shield. Amazon.
- Try Ebay! They might have something you can afford, if you try hard enough. Or....
Try Making Your Own!
That's what I did about four years back for my son, an avid video game addict who wanted nothing more than to recreate the character with whom he had enjoyed so many hours on his trusty WII. I looked at all those expensive online costumes and thought... I can do that. So I did... and you can, too, with minimal expense and no sewing!
What Does Link Look Like?
What does Link look like? What inexpensive things can you use to recreate him? Check out some of these pictures to get a refresher.
Okay, now, let's review Link's basic look. He's got...
- A green tunic
- A green triangle-shaped cap
- A longsleeved white shirt under the tunic
- A belt
- A pair of khaki pants
- A sword
- A beautiful and very elaborate shield
Here's the challenge: Is it possible to recreate Link's basic look using clothing we've got around the house? Can we pick up some of the odds and ends from thrift stores? And, even more challenging... can we do it without having to sew anything?
Any longsleeved white shirt will do, really, as long as it fits the child fairly snugly. For the most part, the shirt is going to be covered by the tunic, but you need something to shape the neck and cover the child's arms. The first time I made this costume with my older son, we used a white dress shirt that was part of his school uniform. For this recreation, I got a longsleeved t-shirt from a local thrift store. It's not even completely white - but that's OK, because the tunic will cover the writing. Cost: $1.89.
For the green tunic, we need an oversized ADULT green long-sleeved shirt.. An adult shirt will hang down long below the waist on a child, giving off the general look of a tunic. Yes, the sleeves are too long for a child, but that's OK. We are going to cut them off. Save one of them! We will need it a little bit later.
For this demonstration I found a fleece sweatshirt in the discount remainder bin at Wal-Mart. I liked this particular sweatshirt because the shirt sleeves were separated from the main torso of the shirt with seam. By cutting on the sleeve on the outside of that seam, I succeeded in making the tunic look like it was still securely hemmed. Cost: $5.00
This was probably the easiest part, in our case. My son just happened to have a spare pair of khaki pants lying around. It's a typical wardrobe staple, right up there with jeans Cost: $.00
(Of course, a pair of khaki pants will generally run about $25, but at least your kid can wear them again other places.)
Of course, the tunic just won't work unless it's contained by a belt. There were not that many belts at the thrift store I went to for this, but I chose this one because it was easy to adjust it to fit my son's waist. It was also the least expensive belt in the thrift store. Cost: $.89.
OK, the boots were a little tricky. I am a Texan, so I live in cowboy country - but cowboy boots are exactly the kind of boots we don't need for Link. Fortunately, with a little searching, I was able to come up with these black cloth boots. They are a little scruffed up, but I figure - Link's an adventurer! I bet his clothes are always a little scruffy! Cost: $4.00.
Remember when I told you to keep one of the sleeves to the sweatshirt? Now you will find out why. It does appear that a sweatshirt sleeve, tapered almost to a point at one end and with a large opening at the other end, does look an awful lot like Link's hat when the big end is placed on a child's head. The best thing about this trick is that the tunic and the hat will be exactly the same shade of green. If you like, you can sew the opening that the hand used to go through shut, but it's not entirely necessary. Cost: Nothing. You paid for this when you got the sweatshirt.
Nearly any child's play sword will work for this, as long as it gives off the general air of being European medieval rather than being, say, a Japanese Shogun sword. This white wooden sword was actually a souvenir from a trip to Medieval Times. We painted over the tell-tale writing. Cost: I've forgotten. This thing's been in the back of a closet for ages. Try checking garage sales or a party shop if you don't happen to have a spare sword lying around.
I found this pair of plain black gloves on a dollar rack. I figure it will serve the purpose well enough for Halloween night. Slightly thicker, heavier gloves were available for a few dollars more. If you like, try cutting off the fingers to give the fingerless look that Link has in some photos. I chose not to do this. We might want the gloves again a few months from now. Cost: $1:00.
This last element was a labor of love for our family when we created it. For this, you need a large piece of cardboard: one side of a box works well. You will also need an exacto knife, some glue, a piece of elastic, and some tempera poster paints.
- Draw the shield pattern by hand, following the pictures available here. The shield should be about twenty - four inches long and about 18 inches wide.
- Paint the blue part first, then the red, then the yellow and white.
- Let the shield dry.
- Cut the shield out using an exacto knife.
- Glue elastic to the back so you can fit it over your arm.
- Defend the kingdom!
The Finished Product
So, there you have him - Link has come to life with some thrift store bargains and a little hard work. It cost us about $13.00 to put this whole thing together, and my son used it this outfit for both Halloween and trips to the Renaissance Fair for two years. We definitely got our money's worth from this Link costume!
Another Homemade Link Costume
- Low-Budget Link Costume (The Legend Of Zelda)
I love the Legend of Zelda games, and thought this would be a fun costume. Turns out it was cheaper and easier than I expected. And the best part - no...