Jumbo Elephant

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Jumbo Elephant Costume
Total Time 1 hour Ages preschooler

What do you get when you take an old gray sweat suit and add a few snips and tucks? A costume that will let your little one make a big impression trekking for treats as a floppy-eared elephant.

What you'll need

  • Oversize gray hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants (a set that's a couple sizes larger than your child's should do)
  • Scissors
  • 2 large cylindrical containers, such as 18-ounce oatmeal canisters
  • Tacky glue
  • 2 sheets of white craft foam, 12 by 18 inches
  • 2 sheets of gray stiff felt, 12 by 18 inches
  • A few pinch-style clothespins
  • Duct tape (we used transparent)
  • A piece of poster board at least 14 by 9 inches
  • 3-inch adhesive-backed Velcro strip
Helpful Tip:

Wrinkles and sound effects
You can simulate an elephant's wrinkly hide by mixing 2 teaspoons of gray acrylic paint and ½ cup of water in a small spray bottle. Then, before starting step 1, bunch up the sweatshirt and sweatpants accordion style and spray on the mixture. Lay the garments flat until dry, then flip them over and repeat the process on the other side. Spray-paint both sides of the gray felt as well.

If your child wants to trumpet like a real elephant, simply duct-tape a small party horn to the inner trunk near your child's mouth.

How to make it

  1. Cut off the bottoms of the sweat suit sleeves and legs so that everything is about an inch too long for your child. Save the cut-off leg pieces for step 5 (ours were 16 inches long).

  2. Jumbo Elephant - Step 2

    Remove the lids from both cylindrical containers. Then cut off and discard the bottoms. Cut each cylinder in half so that you end up with 4 equal-size rings. Place 1 ring inside each arm. Fold the material over the lower edge of the ring and glue it to the ring. Next, slit the remaining 2 rings, as shown, and attach them to the leg bottoms as you did the arms.

  3. Jumbo Elephant - Step 3

    Cut 4 rows of toe shapes, as shown, from one sheet of white craft foam and glue them to the arm and leg hems.

  4. Jumbo Elephant - Step 4

    Cut a pair of large gray felt elephant ears like the ones shown here (don't worry; they don't have to be exact). Then attach each ear to the hood by applying glue to both sides of the felt along the edge that goes closest to the head. Pinch the glued edge from inside the hood, sandwiching the ear between the fabric and using clothespins to hold it in place until the glue dries.

  5. Cut both of the leg pieces (left over from step 1) vertically along the seams. Trim the elastic cuff off one and then fringe the bottom. Roll the material vertically to create a tail and tape it closed. Then tape the tail inside the sweatshirt, as shown.

  6. Jumbo Elephant - Step 6

    For a trunk, spread the other leg piece right side down on a table. Fold down the material a half inch from the top and glue it in place. Make 2 horizontal cuts a few inches below the fold, as indicated. Then tape together the flaps below the cuts.

  7. Jumbo Elephant - Step 7

    Cut the other sheet of white foam in half lengthwise. Roll each half into a tusk and tape it closed. Tape the tusks to the material on each side of the trunk.
    Next, trim the piece of poster board to the same length as the trunk, roll it up, and insert it into the trunk (it will uncoil and fill out the trunk when you let go). Finally, loosely wrap the 2 open flaps around your child's head and use a strip of Velcro to keep them in place.

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