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Tutorial: Halloween Costume: No Sew Jack-o’-Lantern

6 October 2011 36,929 views 15 Comments

by heather

costume pumpkin

You don't have to sew to make a cute Halloween costume. Make a quick and easy no-sew jack-o'-lantern costume out of an orange t-shirt and a few common craft supplies. This pumpkin Halloween costume works well for adults or kids, and can be made in just a few minutes, so it's a great option for a last-minute handmade costume.

You might be able to find an orange t-shirt at the dollar store, but it's not a guarantee. You will always find plain orange t-shirts at your local craft store, though, and they are usually $5 or less. I recommend using self-stick craft foam if you have it. You will be able to remove it after Halloween and keep the shirt for further everyday use. If you don't have self-stick foam, plain craft foam or felt will work. Just stick the pieces on with craft glue or hot glue.

I worked on this costume with my four year-old last year. Here's a video tutorial (and also, a really accurate depiction of crafting with kids and blogging with them, too! Check out the photo shoot at the end of the video).

Project Materials:

  • Orange t-shirt, $1 and up
  • 1 sheet each black and green felt, on hand or about $1
  • 1 sheet self-stick craft foam, on hand or about $1
  • 1/4" elastic, on hand or $1
  • 1 green pipe cleaner, on hand
  • 1 green pom-pom, on hand
  • Scissors
  • Safety pin
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks (adults only) OR craft glue
  • Recycled sturdy cardboard (6x6" piece)
  • Recycled plastic grocery bags (optional)

Total: $1 and up

pumpkin costume

How to Make:


1. Cut eyes, nose, and mouth shapes out of black felt or foam. Make your jack-o'-lantern facial features any shape you like! I cut two triangles for eyes and a triangle for the nose, and a half-moon shape for the mouth, with a rectangle cut out of  the flat side of the half moon for a tooth.

2. Cut green collar pieces: four or five triangles cut out of self-stick craft foam.

3. Attach the green triangles around the collar of the t-shirt.

4. Attach the facial features on the front of the shirt, just below the green triangles.

cut a slit in t-shirt hem to make casing

5. Cut a small slit in the inside layer of the waistband. Attach the end of the 1/4" elastic to a safety pin, and thread the elastic through the waistband until it goes all the way around and comes out through the slit.

t-shirt casing

Cinch the elastic so the waistband is slightly gathered, but not uncomfortable. Tie the ends of the elastic together and clip excess. Tuck the knot inside the waistband.

6. Gather the sleeve the same way you did the waistband, but cut two slits, one on either side of the seam  on the bottom of the sleeve. Thread elastic into one hole and out the other, and tie knot over seam. Repeat for second sleeve.

7. If a rounder pumpkin shape is desired, stuff with recycled plastic grocery bags when child puts it on. Avoid this step for younger children and babies.

pumpkin hat 2


1. Cut 6" circle out of recycled corrugated cardboard (I used a bulk cereal box). Use an old CD or plastic lid for a template, if desired.

2. Cut larger circle out of green felt. Use a bowl for a template, if desired. Note: this circle doesn't have to be perfect, because the edges will be hidden.

3. Put a line of hot glue around the outside of the cardboard circle, close to the edge. Fold felt over around the entire edge.

4. Measure a piece of 1/4" elastic around child's head and under chin. Cut so elastic is snug but not too tight (ours was about 20"). Glue raw edges of elastic flat to middle of cardboard circle.

pumpkin hat

5. Cut circle of felt slightly smaller than the cardboard disc (about 5"). Hot glue over exposed cardboard and elastic.

6. Wrap green pipe cleaner around a pen to make it curly. Hot glue pipe cleaner curl to top of hat. Hot glue pom-pom over the center of the pipe cleaner.

pumpkin costume


Reusable Shirt: If you want to reuse the orange shirt, skip the felt and hot glue, and just use self-stick craft foam for all the facial features. Remove elastic and craft foam pieces after costume use.

What to wear underneath: wear neutral pants or leggings (black, green, or white) or tights (black, white, green, or striped) and black shoes. If your weather is cold, wear a black, white, orange or green turtleneck, long-sleeved shirt, or hooded sweatshirt underneath pumpkin shirt.

Baby Pumpkin: This costume will work well for infants or toddlers, just adjust t-shirt size (use toddler t-shirts) and avoid plastic bag stuffing.


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  • heather (author) said:

    If you want to see what it’s like to blog with little humans around, watch the video. Especially the last 2 minutes!

  • Michelle L. said:

    Still the best punkin costume! My favorite part is the lid, er, hat, er, stem!

  • mikeasaurus said:

    Awesome and simple costume! I also thought the video was very funny (candy bars seem to be a good incentive for your model)

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    “Why do I have an Easter basket?” Just about died laughing. So stinking cute and now my three year-old is asking to be a pumpkin. Fairly certain we’ll be doing this. Thanks so much!

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  • Peter said:

    Thank you for sharing this no-sew jack o’ lantern costume. It’s perfect for some of us with little or no sewing ability!

    I’d like to share some information about a costume contest that is going on now and I thought you and your readers may be interested. You can enter over at http://www.halloweenhero.com/costume-contest-2013.html and there is a $250 grand prize.

    Anyway, love your site and keep these great ideas (+ tutorials) coming – it’s almost Halloween.


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