Where the Wild Things Are Family Halloween Costume
I just realized that this is our first family Halloween costume we’ve done with our kids. I always just highlighted Jasper–that was fine enough for me. But once Jasper started really acting like Max from Wild Things I knew we had to do this costume as a family. Gwen from our team took on the challenge and SHE NAILED IT! Seriously so good. We had a lot of hands on it too since I’m still in baby survival mode ;).
Where the Wild Things are Max Costume Idea
This part of our family costume is so simple. Seriously, it hardly takes any time at all, so if you’re in a pinch, this is a great option: cute, cozy, and simple.
First things first, you’ll need a white jumpsuit. Easy. This is a good option if you need help finding one. We added in some more visible buttons like the illustration as well as a tail.
You’ll also need:
- Faux fur like this (for the tail and crown)
- A crown. For ours, we used Jasper’s flower lane crown. We would highly recommend! They are durable, comfortable, and adjustable and you can use them for birthdays and more. If you’re interested, you can find them here.
- Hot glue, safety pin, or clip (to attach the tail)
Instructions for DIY Max Costume
- First, cut the length of the faux fur rope needed for Max’s head circumference. Tie in a knot. (crown should fit snugly inside)
- Then cut another piece of faux fur rope for the tail (estimate length as needed). Hot glue, pin, or clip the faux fur tail in place.
- Done! So easy, right?
Baby Wild Thing Halloween Costume
Baby’s costume was super simple because we started with a simple furry onesie base and worked it out from there.
You will need:
- Furry jumpsuit with hood (we used one like this)
- Horn template from our shop
- Masking tape
- Acrylic paint (we used white and gray)
- Hot glue
- Face paint (we used black for his little nose)
DIY Cardboard Horns and feet for Wild Things Halloween Costume
- For the horns, cut out two sets of our template, found here.
- Print out the templates.
- Trace the templates onto cardboard, then cut out the templates as indicated.
- Slide the two separate pieces into the corresponding slots, then wrap completely with masking tape so the cardboard is covered. Wrap as if you’re wrapping a mummy, so the tape is nice and flat, no bumps or wrinkles (this will make painting them a lot easier later!)
- Paint the horns your desired color/pattern/texture! We did kind of a gradient to mimic the original illustrations in the book.
- For the feet, print out the template (found here), then trace it onto cardboard and cut out.
- Paint the feet however you want! We chose gray for the claws and white for the rest, then added some texture.
- Wait for the paint to dry, then use hot glue to attach the horns and claws to the furry jumpsuit.
- Ta da!
Adult Where The Wild Things Are costumes
The adult wild things costumes were definitely the most time intensive of the family costumes, but are also showstoppers. So worth it. For these, you’ll need:
- Cardboard (plenty of it! You’ll use it for the masks and feet)
- Newspaper, 1 part flour, 5 parts water, 2 Tbsp salt, and a pot for the paper mache
- Black faux fur like this
- orange/brown yarn like this
- Two baseball caps
- Acrylic paint
- Yellow sweatsuit set (something like this and this)
- Brown hoodless sweatshirt
- Gray sweats
- Yellow felt
- cream/white felt
- Hot glue
- Floral wire (we used 22 gauge)
- Styrofoam balls for eyes (3in diameter balls are a good size)
- Elastic (¾ or 1 in width is good)
Prepping the masks
- Cut out two large circles of cardboard, one for each mask. Make one slightly larger than the other.
- Cut three, evenly-spaced slits in the top third section of the cardboard circles
- Overlap each of the slits with each other slightly, then hot glue. This will give the mask a little dimension.
- Cut off the bottom third of each of the circles(these will be the mouths)
- For the teeth, cut out roughly ten triangles (just estimate the size) for the smaller, yellow wild thing, and 14 for the bigger, horned wild thing.
- Next, glue the teeth onto the bottom of the top third section, underlapping them slightly. Leave a few inches of space on each side of the teeth. Do this with both masks.
- Then, hot glue the bottom section of both masks back on, bending the top third around so the bottom section underlaps slightly and gives the sides and bottom a little depth.
- For the horns on the bigger wild thing, you can use the same template used for the baby wild thing (found here) and just make them bigger.
- For the eyes, poke wire through the styrofoam balls and loop back through to secure. Then poke the wire through the cardboard and twist in the back to secure.
- For the nose, take one styrofoam ball (for the center of the nose) and do the same thing you did with the eyes, placing it where the nose should go. Then, for each nostril, shave off the bottom as needed (roughly one third) to let the balls settle down on each side of the nose center. Secure with wire.
- Now, crumple/fold some pieces of newspaper and build them up around the top and bottoms of the eyes. These are the eyelids.
Now you’re ready to do the paper mache!
Prepping the paste/newspaper
- Cut a bunch of long, thin strips of newspaper. It’s nice to have them cut in advance so you don’t have to do this with sticky hands later. Cut as many as you think you’ll need to cover both masks adequately in a couple layers.
- Boil 4 parts water. In separate bowl, whisk 1 part warm water with one part flour. Try to get out any lumps. If you live in a humid place, add a few tablespoons of salt to prevent mold growth.
- Once the flour mixture is done, slowly stir into the boiling water. Mix it in well, then let boil for a few minutes. If it seems a little thick, you can add water, and if it seems thin, you can add flour.
- Now you’re ready to apply the glue!
Glueing the masks
- First, take a strip of newspaper and dip it into the paste. Coat the paper completely, sliding your fingers over the paper so the paper is covered in a thin layer of the paste.
- The next step is to apply the sticky newspaper to the mask! (Note: you make want to use gloves for this step, it can get pretty messy)
- Keep applying the newspaper pieces until the mask is covered (cover the teeth, too!). Tip: Make sure to place them randomly, rather than going the same direction the whole time. The paper mache will hold better this way.
- Remember to cover the horns with paper mache, too! Wrap them like a mummy, using the same wrapping technique as for the baby wild thing horns.
- Let dry COMPLETELY before moving on to the next steps.
Once you’ve applied two or so coats and they’re dry, you’ll be ready to paint! Note: it usually takes at least a day or two for the paper mache to dry (faster in dry, hot climates, and slower in cold, humid climates).
- Now for the fun part: paint the masks! Use ours as a reference for colors, and we’d also recommend looking at the original illustrations if you need more help figuring out how to paint them.
- After the paint is dry, you can cut out strips of the faux fur and hot glue them all around the bigger wild thing’s head. Cut strips of yarn and hot glue them onto the smaller wild thing’s head. To make the yarn look like it’s parted in the middle, you can fold the strips of yarn in half and glue the folded sections to the middle where the part is.
- Now, poke two eye holes below the nose (they will look like nostrils). You want to be able to see while wearing this thing!
- The next step is to hot glue the baseball caps inside the masks. Place them so the back of the hat is just above the eye holes. This should make it so you can see when the hat is on your head.
- If you would like, you can also hot glue a couple of pieces of twine to the back of the mask that you can tie around your head for extra stability.
- The masks are done! Whew!
Prepping the adult clothing
Prepping the adult outfits of the family costume is simple:
- Cut out a bunch of yellow, felt strips. Hot glue them onto the brown sweatshirt.
- For the pants, cut out a bunch of strips that are flat on one side and have a row of triangles on the other (see photos of the costumes for details). Hot glue these on in rows.
- Last is the feet. For these, cut out cardboard feet using our templates (found here)
- Next, paint the claws on the yellow wild thing. We did white for the claws and the rest a bit textured with yellow, gray and brown.
- Glue a yellow piece of felt onto the main template for the smaller, yellow wild thing. For the bigger wild thing, glue gray felt onto the feet, then more white felt cut the same way the pants are.
- When the paint is dry, hot glue a strip of elastic to each corner of the backs of the feet to make loops like stirrups (the loops will attach around the backs of the heels and help keep the feet on over your shoes).
That’s a wrap! Let the wild rumpus start!
If you loved this costume tutorial and would like to find more great family costume ideas, check out these other posts: Mom and Baby Costumes, Group Halloween Costumes, and Last Minute DIY Costumes, Jasper’s Viking Costume