Children who are looking for something really scary to wear for Halloween might choose to dress up as bats. These are, after all, among the most frightening and mysterious creatures that live on earth. They look ugly, with their beady eyes (they cannot see well, hence the saying “blind as a bat”), large and unshapely mouths, sharp teeth and long, pointed ears that resemble horns. Many of their habits, such as sucking blood, are repulsive. When children wear bat costumes, however, they can look at least as adorable as they do scary. You can buy a bat costume ready-made at a store, but it is much cheaper – and more fun besides – to make one of your own from scratch at home.

This article will tell you in detail how to put together the perfect bat costume for Halloween. Several possibilities will be given so that you will have greater flexibility in choosing to use what is available in your household. You may also find that you or your child has a personal preference for one method in particular.

Things You Need To Make a Bat Costume

  • a long-sleeved shirt
  • some dark gray or black felt or an old umbrella
  • a pair of scissors
  • a pair of wire cutters
  • a needle and thread
  • puff paint
  • a tape measure
  • a set of wire coat hangers
  • safety pins
  • hair ties
  • electrical tape
  • hot glue
  • a beanie cap
  • a pair of leggings
  • two black pipe cleaners
  • makeup (optional)
  • a set of costume fangs (optional)

Steps for Making the Bat Costume

The exact dimensions for any costume that you make for your child will depend on his or her size. Take measurements of these before you proceed to work on the costume itself.

Place the long-sleeved shirt flat on the floor and measure the distance from the cuff to the armpit to the hem of one sleeve, adding eight inches to that figure. This is the diameter of the circle that you then cut from the felt, and the circle should be cut in half.

With the needle and thread, sew one semicircle onto each of the sleeves. Leave an eight-inch excess dangling.

Unfold the hangers with the pliers and straighten them out. Measure the distance between the underarm of the shirt and the semicircle at three points equally spaced apart. For each circle, according to these measurements, cut the wire hangers into three lengths with the cutters. Place three onto each semicircle, equally spaced apart and angled outwards from the underarms. Secure each length with a piece of electrical tape. Cut U shapes between the wire lengths with the scissors and you have your wings.

The wings can also be made by cutting an old umbrella. If you do not have an old one in your house, you can buy an inexpensive one at a thrift store. Before you start to use the umbrella, unscrew the top and remove the wires that hold the ribs and the sliding mechanism together. Do not throw away the wires, for you may find that you need them for securing the wings to the shirt. Cut away from the frame and use the puff paint to accent the outline of the umbrella. If it has holes in it, you can tape them up and camouflage the tape with a black permanent marker. After the paint has dried out, fold each wing in half and pin it down the middle of the back of the shirt with the safety pins. It can take some time to adjust the wings to their proper position. Tape the hair ties to the wings so they can be fastened to the child’s wrists.

The next step is to make your ears. Cut out two regular pentagons from the felt and fold their corners inward and overlapping so that they are shaped like ears. Felt is a stiff material that can stay in place easily. Secure the shapes with the hot glue and sew them, facing forward, onto the beanie cap.Have the child put on the beanie cap, the shirt and the leggings. Alternatively, you can use more of the puff paint to outline the ears. Bend the pipe cleaners so that they point in opposite directions and attach them to the ears.

Another way you can make the ears is with pieces of the umbrella ribs and some sticky felt.
Use two of the ribs to make a triangular form and place a third rib in the center thereof. Put the piece thus formed onto the sticky side of the felt, then put more on the top, sticky side down. Cutting around the triangle, repeat these steps to make the other ear.

You might want to tape the ears to the costume. That way, you can remove them and use the costume again next year. The child can wear a hooded shirt to which the ears can be attached, or you can give him or her a headband that can slip onto and off the head easily.

Now it is time to put on makeup, which is optional. You can put black face paint onto the child’s face, such as on the eyebrows, and also insert the fangs. The bat costume is now complete.

Cynthia Lopez