Spooky Ghost Halloween Costume for a Toddler

My toddler son wanted to be a ghost this year and not just any ghost- a spooky ghost.  I scoured the stores, but everything I saw was just a sheet with a zig zag edge.  I wanted something that billowed and floated to give it an eerie feel.  I decided that I would make a costume for the first time.  I thought that if I used different types of fabric that it would add more dimension to the costume.  I went to a fabric store and bought three yards of cheesecloth, white tulle, and costume satin.   I also bought three yards of white cotton fabric to make an underlying robe.  I was going to add a hood, but I thought that it would be better to paint his hair white and use makeup for pictures.

To make the costume, I folded the white cotton fabric in half and had my son lay on the fabric.  I traced around him leaving space so it would hang loose.  I then cut a small neckhole.  I sewed it all together and hemmed the bottom.  I didn’t want to do strips.  Instead, I traced a pattern of a long teardrop (about 2 feet) and used that to trace and cut over 100 teardrops from each of the three fabric types.  I cut 6″ rectangles of the white cotton and used them as panels.  I alternated sewing teardrops on each panel.  From there, I sewed the panels with the teardrops on to the robe in a random fashion until it looked full.

I bought a plastic chain with skulls and draped it diagonally from shoulder to the bottom and hand sewed at each point.  I cut a slit on the back of the neckline and hemmed.  I then used an elastic loop and sewed it to one side of the slit.  I found a large button and sewed it on the other side of the slit.  This allowed the neckline to hug my son’s neck and room to put it on over his head.  To give it an aged look, we used gray spray paint lightly on the edges of the costume.

The costume took a couple of weeks and it was mostly due to cutting those teardrops.   The hardest parts were cutting those teardrops and applying makeup on a toddler.  In the end, those at the festival loved his costume and many parents asked if he would take a picture with their children.  We received lots of compliments, because he really looked spooky.  The best part for me was seeing how much he enjoyed playing the part and trying to scare us when we were taking pictures.

  • Costume Ideas Brainstormer
    • kelli

      Hi! I love this costume. Thanks for posting. This is perfect for my 3 year old who wants to be a scary ghost. I have eveything cut out, but I’m just a little confused on how you did the 6″ panels. Do they go vertical or horizontal? Can you help me with those a little more? Thanks so much!!

    • Sarah

      I also love this costume and am just to start making for my 2 1/2 year old son! Would be interested in the panel clarification…Otherwise, going to have to just
      wing it. ;)

      • kelli

        Not sure if you have started this yet, but I just used 6″x6″ square panels, with 4 teardrops on each one. It has worked great. The panels are covered for the most part anyway because of the way the teardrops are layered. Hope this helps!

        • Lindsey

          How did you all do the bottom cotton fabric? Did you make arm holes somehow?

        • Sarah

          Thanks Kelli! Very helpful…I’ve done the robe/dress part and am just about to start sewing the teardrops to panels. I’ll take your 6″x6″ panel advice and sew the teardrops to it. Did you alternate the 4 teardrops per panel (i.e., 1 of each fabric or all one fabric per panel)? I’m thinking it’s alternating … but just wanted to check.

          Thanks for your tip above!

    • Avb

      I love this costume! I have been searching for a cool looking “spooky ghost” costume to make my son since he asked me. I was so frustrated with ideas since everything online suggests just ragged clothes or a sheet with holes in it. I just picked up the fabric (thanks for including how much to get) so I can slowly start cutting the tear drop pieces (much better idea than just strips). Can’t wait to see how it turns out. Your son looks amazing!

    • Va

      Did you sew the panels on to be puffed out? How does it add more depth if it is just sewing on a single sheet of fabric?

    • mom

      Hi well I finished the dress part. Still cannot grasp how to sew on these tear drops. how many to each panel. and where are you sewing the panels? help for my grandson..

    • Shannon

      I love this costume, have bought my materials and am ready to go, but I’m puzzled about the tear drops. Does the “round” end of the tear drop get sewn onto the costume, or the “pointy” end? In the pictures it looks like the “round” end gets sewn on and the “pointy” end points downward, but I am total novice at sewing and want to make sure I’ve got it right!


    Cost: $20-$50 Individual Man/Boy Costume Makeup / Body Art More Than a Week Toddler