Whether you need a costume for a Halloween party or simply want to kit out your dressing up box with some simple but effective outfits, check out these easy fancy dress ideas for kids. Don’t worry if you can’t afford a fancy new outfit – the best fancy dress costumes are the ones you put together yourself, for pennies!
Who hasn’t fantasised about becoming a character from their favourite storybook? Book character costumes are easy to put together, and they’re easy fancy dress ideas for kids that will come in handy on World Book Day.
- Mr Men and Little Misses. For most Mr Men and Little Miss outfits, you can use the same easy formula to construct the perfect costume. Take two large pieces of card, big enough to cover your child’s body front and back, down to their legs. Use the appropriate colour for your character! Cut out the requisite shape and draw on the features with black felt tip. Create cardboard straps to go over the shoulders, fastening the two sides together – you’ll end up with an apron-like outfit. Simply dress your child in their Mr Man or Little Miss colour underneath – plain tights or trousers are all you need for their legs.
- Hungry Caterpillar. Start with an oversized green T-shirt (or a long green dress) for the body. You can make stripes by sticking duct tape on horizontally. For the head, there are a couple of different options. Either make a mask from cardboard, with big yellow eyes, or take a red ball (football size), cut it open to create a ready-made helmet, and stick pipe cleaners through two holes in the top for antennae.
Pets and animals
Young children are often fascinated by animals. Let them explore their wild side with these easy animal costumes.
- Black cat. Dress your child in a black top and leggings. Fix black cardboard triangles to an Alice band for ears, and make a tail by stuffing a black sock or half a pair of tights. Finish with some feline face paint! (This basic costume can easily be adapted for other animals: simply customise the colours, tail, ears and face).
- Octopus. Old tights to the rescue again! Take four pairs of tights, stuff them with old newspaper or cotton wool stuffing to make tentacles, and fix them to a belt or ribbon to be worn around your child’s waist.
- Dinosaur. Got an old hoodie that you no longer need? Sew triangular spikes all down the back for an instantly recognisable dino. Complete the dinosaur look with white triangles around the edges of the hood for teeth, and eyes on the head.
Scary costumes are among the most straightforward to make, so if you’re looking for easy fancy dress ideas for kids, try one of these.
- Ghost. It’s as simple as cutting eye holes in an old, white sheet! For a more sophisticated phantom you can customise your costume with black marker pen, or cut it into shape with scissors. As easy fancy dress ideas go, this one is a winner.
- Pumpkin. Take an orange T-shirt (it should be quite a baggy fit) and draw on eyes, nose and mouth with black marker pen. Top with a green hat and there you have it! Optionally, you can stuff the T-shirt with a cushion, to make a rounder pumpkin.
Why fancy dress is more than just a bit of fun
Dressing up allows kids to let their imagination run riot. Whoever they want to be, all it takes is a few simple accessories – and all that pretend play is fantastic for helping children to understand the world around them, empathise with others, be creative and express their emotions. While they’re enjoying their role play, young kids can also practise putting on and taking off their clothes – a skill that hones their fine motor skills and helps them build their independence.
Here at Toad Hall Nurseries, we always have lots of special events and opportunities for the kids to dress up. To see what’s coming up, just click on the Events tab for your local nursery.