My son has had a fixation with fish, and ocean life in general, since he was tiny. When my brother got married in Hawaii, we bought a watercolor painting of seahorses at the Ocean Rider seahorse farm, and it’s one of my son’s favorite things to look at. So, for his first Halloween, a Baby Seahorse costume seemed the perfect solution.
I looked at a couple of photos on the web for inspiration, but none of them were exactly what I wanted for my son. The costume needed to be easy for him to move in, and relatively easy for me to be able to access his diaper.
The costume in the picture is actually a joint effort between my housemate and myself. I did all the parts which were sewn, and he painted and formed the parts which were made from craft foam. Basically, the body was a “bag” type construction, with elastic around the legs for fit, and Velcro at the bottom so I could get to his diaper.
To make the bag, I sewed long strips of fabric. Next, I scalloped the edge of the strips to simulate a seahorse’s spiny exterior. I then darted in the fabric, from the point of each spike, to get the square-pyramidal shape of the spike, before sewing the strips all together. The tail was just another strip, with a big fabric curlicue added and stuffed with cotton batting. All this took a long time.
I made the costume a little on the big side because I wasn’t sure how much my son was going to grow in the time it took me to make the costume. This is why, in the picture, you can see that at the last minute I had to take up the shoulder-seam a bit with a safety pin. Anyway, the bag slid on over a gray onesie. Once it was on, I stuffed the boy with cotton batting to get the right shape. Definitely, the hardest part of making this costume was the repeated fittings on a squirming infant.
The mask portion of the costume was a hood-type cap I sewed, using the same fabric. For each fin, my housemate cut two pieces of black craft foam, and painted them with silver paint to match the fabric. Then he sandwiched them with a bit of gray sparkly tulle and glued the whole package together. The head was made in the same fashion: painted craft foam glued in the correct shape.
Once I had all the foam pieces, I just took a bit of gray thread and tacked them on to the hood at critical points. You can sort of see that the dorsal fins were only attached under the face and at the nape of the neck. I had to use a bit of thread as a stringer between the two dorsal fins to keep them upright, but you can’t see that because it was under the face.
This costume got rave reviews at every party we took it to, and I’m saving it in case the next kid is remotely the right size to wear it at their first Halloween!