I made this for one of my best friends for our Nightmare Before Christmas group this Halloween. I like to dress in theme so this year we picked something she liked since she normally will just wear whatever we ask her to. We all love the movie too of course!
This Oogie Boogie Costume was made entirely by hand with burlap, wire, stuffing, hot glue, quilt batting, black linen, and black fabric paint. No sewing required for those who have an aversion/no sewing machine! The best part was it only cost about $50 and brought so much happiness to all of the people we met that night.
I started with the head because I figured that would be the most difficult and time-consuming part, as well as the most recognizable feature when it was time to wear the costume. First I took the wire and twisted 2 pieces together to make a halo-like headband that would ensure the head sat correctly on her head. Then I made 3 larger circles (one large, one middle sized, one smaller) in the same way and attached them together with some more wire, these eventually became the mouth.
After that I used some more wire to connect them a few inches apart so they hung from the halo like headgear. Bend the larger rings down into Oogie’s signature grin. Next I shaped 2 eyes from the same wire and attached them to the hoops at a slant with hot glue.
Now it’s time for the quilt batting, start carefully covering the wire frame with your quilt batting, rolling the edges over the wire so the curves will be smooth. Make sure you leave batting for the swoop he has on his head! Cut out the eyes and glue the edges over the wire like you did everywhere else. Glue some batting around the bottom lip like a tube.
You’ll probably need to use some work gloves for this to keep from burning yourself, or cheap wooden chopsticks that you can press the burlap down into the hot glue with. Start covering the head with your burlap in the same fashion as the quilt batting. I had to use 2 layers, rolling the fabric under and gluing it along the edges.
You can get burlap cheaply at Lowes or Home Depot for about $12 for an 8 yd roll, I used 2 because it has wide holes and I had to double layer it but if you bought it at Joann’s or another fabric store you could probably do just one layer.
After this I painted on the lines where his yarn stitching is, on the side of the head and on the lips. But, I probably wouldn’t do it that way again because it makes the process take much more time. I would just use black yarn and a large needle to stitch through the layers of burlap. This will give the same look with less wait time, and it’s better if you don’t have a steady hand.
Now you’ll begin to add your black fabric, make sure you can see through it!!! This is probably the most important choice you’ll make with this costume; you won’t be able to enjoy your Oogie Boogie Costume if you can’t see! Glue your fabric behind the eyes carefully, making sure you pull it tight.
Here is where the smaller ring comes into play, it will be the inside of the mouth sitting just at or under your chin. It will give the illusion of an actual open mouth. Start gluing your black fabric to the lips and then to the “back of the mouth.” Make sure that you glue the fabric to the lower lip on a curve, don’t just go along the straight edge of the fabric or it will become rumpled.
After you’ve gotten the head completed it’s time for the body. I made my Oogie Boogie skinnier so she could maneuver through densely crowded areas more easily, but it will look better if Ooogie is plumper. If you’re doing a skinny Oogie then you need to make sure you put a zipper in the back but if you’re doing a fatter one you may be able to get by without it. You can find a zipper that will match your burlap at any large fabric store such as Joann, Hancock Fabrics, or Hobby Lobby.
Lay down and have someone cut out a piece of burlap for the body that’s long/wide enough for the stuffing you want to put it. Mine had 2 full bags of stuffing. Glue along your side seams to make the outside of the body. Cut arms out and glue them together the same way, but wait to attach them to the body. Leave them a couple inches longer and wider than you think they need to be for wiggle room.
For the inside I used 3 white t-shirts (all free giveaways at school), one long sleeved, that I glued together to make a sort of dress. If you’re putting in a zipper put it in now, between the burlap and t-shirt layers.
Put on both layers of the body, burlap and t-shirt, and attach the arms to the body, by doing it on the costume wearer you ensure that it fits them better. If you need to, you can put a work glove under the area that you will be gluing so no one gets burned.
Add all of the lines to the body suit along the seams, if you want to put bugs in one of the seams as if you’re unraveling do it now.
Attach the head to the body. This will also have to be done while the costume is being worn so make sure all hair is safely tucked away. I only attached the head in the back so she could lift up the front to breathe if she got too hot (we didn’t know what the weather was going to be like). I just folded the fraying edges of the “throat” under and glued them so it could look as seamless as possible.
After that is all done - start gluing the bottom of the burlap to the bottom of the white “dress” in gathered segments leaving a space open for stuffing. Glue the edges to the inside so the white shirt is invisible.
Now for the fun part: stuffing! Just start shoving all of you stuffing into the body and adjust where it’s laying every bag or so. Once you get it almost done put it back on before sealing it up to make sure you don’t need more. If you’re happy glue the last bit closed.
Lastly are the shoes. I used a cheapo pair of tennis shoes from Wal-mart that were already ruined from a paint party. I had my friend tie them so she could slip them on and then covered them in quilt batting to cover the laces and designs. Then I covered it with burlap and put the stitches on, leaving several inches at the top in case her ankles showed, which wasn’t ever a problem with how long I made it.
And that’s how you make an Oogie Boogie costume! Make sure you’re ready for a lot of hugs and admiration, people love the Boogie Man!