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Original Girl in a Tree Illusion Costume

My ten year old daughter came up with this idea and built just about all of this costume by herself. She won the grand prize at her school’s trunk-a-treat costume contest and most creative at her school’s Halloween parade. It was hilarious seeing her walk around the neighborhood at night as a girl in a tree and she got many “cool” complements throughout the night.

Our family makes only homemade costumes for Halloween. They are costumes that make people laugh, wonder and are never scary. This year, my daughter wanted to make an illusion costume. Her big brother has been making illusion costumes for many years, some of which were inspired by this coolest homemade costumes website! She too wanted “fake legs”. She thought about all the things she likes such as monkeys and climbing trees. That was it! She decided to just keep it simple and become a girl in a tree. She added a black crow instead of a monkey for a better Halloween look.

The costume is actually quite easy to build and we spent about $10.00 for materials along with what we had around the house. It is lightweight and the two main branches hold up on their own keeping the hands free to hold things like a trick or treat bag.

The girl in a tree costume can be modified to make other things in a tree. Dress up like a cat and make and stuff cat legs with fleece fabric! How about a monkey or a brown bear in a tree? The possibilities are endless!

Here is her hand-drawn diagram explaining all the parts to her costume:

Girl in Tree Diagram

* cardboard from a broken down box (24”x 36”) or longer depending on waist size.
* 1 yard of twill fabric or cotton sheeting.(doesn’t matter what color… it will be painted)
* 5 sheets of poster board
* 1 roll of packaging tape
* 2 rolls of duck tape
* one package of satin blanket binding for shoulder straps.
* Hot glue gun.
* four pieces of PVC pipe 10” long to hold up the fake legs
* two 90 degree PVC connectors
* brown acrylic paint
* old pair of jeans, sneakers and tights.
* Polyester fiberfill
* safety pins


• Score and fold cardboard in half to make it 24” wide.

• Wrap cardboard around waist and loosen it to make a 3” space all around the waist. Tape.

• To make the two main trunks, roll poster board so one end is 6” diameter and other end is about 4” diameter. Tape to hold shape. Make two 6” long slits in the wide end of each roll to attach it onto the cardboard waist. Tape with packaging tape.

• Continue to build branches with half-sheets of cardboard. To attach branches, make 3” slits at end of branch to attach at desired angle. Tape securely. MAKE SURE YOUR TREE FITS THROUGH A DOOR AS YOU WALK SIDEWAYS.

• At this point you may want to temporarily tape the cardboard waist tube and tree to a stool to begin attaching the fabric trunk. Measure a piece of fabric to go around the cardboard waist tube. Hot glue or sew a seam down the side. Make the bottom a bit wider to make walking easier. Hot glue in place.

• To make texture of tree bark, tape wrinkled duck tape up and down the branches.

• Paint tree and trunk brown and fabric trunk brown. Slip an extra roll of poster board inside the fabric trunk to make painting easier.

• When dry, climb inside tree to figure out where to trim the bottom trunk. Cut root shaped pieces all around. You may want to cut the roots higher in the back like a slit in a skirt to make walking easier. (This tree was able to run!)

• Measure and cut two pieces of blanket binding to make the straps that hold the tree up. Make the straps cross in the back. Allow at least 6” of extra strap at each end to tie onto the cardboard waist tube

• Make two “L” shaped PVC shapes to give the fake legs a sitting position. Tape two of the PVC “L”’s to the inside front of the cardboard waist.

• Stuff tights with polyester fiberfill, Slip jeans onto tights. Pin sneakers to jeans

• Slip jeans onto “L” PVC pipes and secure the jeans onto PVC inside. Use belt loops to get a good hold of the jeans as you are securing them with duck tape.

• Hot glue leaves and a black crow to make the tree more life-like.

• Step into tree, put straps on and put another shirt on to cover the straps.


 My ten year old daughter came up with this idea and built just about all of this costume by herself.  She won the grand prize at our sch

Coolest Homemade Costume Contest 2023

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