A (Mostly) DIY Daniel Tiger Halloween Costume

A (Mostly) DIY Daniel Tiger Halloween Costume

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Henry is 18 months old, which means the following:

  1. He didn’t go trick or treating. We gave him half a KitKat and he ran laps around the living room for 20 minutes, so he’s good on candy.
  2. He doesn’t care what he dresses up as.
  3. His love of Daniel Tiger knows no bounds.

He likes the show, but he REALLY likes this Daniel Tiger book. The binding is broken from overuse. Which is not to say *pinky up* la dee da, my toddler prefers books to television, la dee da. Because that is FALSE. He will run you down to get to the iPad if you say “Sesame Street.” This is just a particularly beloved book.

A picture of a cartoon tiger (Daniel Tiger) wearing a red sweater and red sneakers. he is smiling and waving.

My original plan was to not get him a costume at all, since he wasn’t going to any activities where he would need one. It felt like it would be a huge waste of money and time.

Then, when I was at Joann’s getting him Daniel Tiger fabric (more on this later), it occurred to me that I could very easily make most of what he needed to dress up as Daniel Tiger. Some of it would have to be purchased, but it could all be reworn or reused, thus eliminating the waste factor.

A green shopping cart filled with red skeins of yarn, and blue fabric with Daniel Tiger cartoons printed on it.

First up was the iconic red sweater. It needs a hood, a zipper, and pockets. The R&R Hoodie by Tanis Lavallee is the absolute perfect fit. It’s like it was designed for this express purpose. I used Basic Stitch yarn from Lion Brand in the Garnet colorway because it’s what JoAnn’s had in the color I needed at the time inspiration struck. It’s acrylic, which isn’t my favorite, but it certainly has it’s places (for instance, a sweater your kid may or may not wear exactly once before getting it covered in food. Toddlers are gross).

A red hooded sweater laid out on a couch. It has pockets and a zipper and is toddler-sized.

This was my first time installing a zipper into my knitting. I was very intimidated by the prospect of it, but it was actually much simpler than I thought. It really seems to come down to how well the zipper is pinned to the sweater.

Red hooded sweater laid out with a red zipper pinned to the opening with colorful ball head pins, but not sewn in yet.

The actual sewing was a breeze. I watched or read every tutorial I could find about hand sewing zippers into sweaters because, as a friend reminded me on Instagram, Mom Tiger would say, “when we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do.”

I planned to buy a zipper after I finished the sweater (to make sure I got the right size), so imagine my surprise when I found out I already had a zipper in my stash in the exact right size and color. That NEVER happens. I did not, however, think to check what kind of zipper it was before I installed it, and turns out it’s not a separating zipper, making this cardigan a pullover. Can’t win them all.

A close-up of a red sweater with a red zipper sewn in.

Next up was the hat. I was inspired by this crocheted hat, but since I’m very new at crocheting, I felt more comfortable knitting it. I used the Easy Peasy hat by Tin Can Knits in the Fool’s Gold colorway of Patons Canadiana yarn. Again, acrylic. Again, toddler.

Knitting the hat was, in fact, easy peasy. Embellishing the hat was dicey. I knit up some quick ears and whipstitched them on. I used Bernat Pipsqueak yarn, which is a fun fur I had in my stash. A fun thing about this yarn is that whenever you work with it, it leaves a layer of fuzz on every. single. thing it touches (sidenote: I have a lot of fun fur in my stash because I keep getting this idea that I’m going to knit Henry a bunch of stuffed animals out of it, then whenever I go to get it I remember that fun fur is a nightmare/disaster and LOLNOPE my way out of there).

A gold-colored hat with ear flaps and strings to tie it under a toddler's chin. It also has matching ears sewn to the top, and brown stripes embroidered on the ears and top of the hat.

The eagle-eyed among you may notice that Daniel is supposed to have stripes on the side of his face too, but I have two very good excuses for leaving them off: 1) the hat was getting crowded with embellishments; 2) I didn’t want to.

Then came the face. This took many, many tries to get it to remotely look like Daniel Tiger.

A gold-colored hat with ears and brown stripes on the top. There are black safety eyes and a pink heart-shaped safety nose on the front of the hat, with eyebrows and a mouth made from black yarn. It is meant to look like Daniel Tiger, but it definitely misses the mark.
Anyone else getting a real Ike Broflovski vibe?

Ultimately I went with white knit circles from the Penelope pattern by Rebecca Danger (I already had this pattern and knew it would work), safety eyes and nose, and embroidered eyebrows and mouth. The safety eyes and nose were a mistake, though. The posts stick out and, I imagine, make it uncomfortable to wear. I tried to take them off to embroider them instead, but those things were NOT budging. I guess good for safety, but bad for my purposes. By this point, though, I had tried the hat on Henry and it was clear he wasn’t going to keep it on for very long anyway.

A gold-colored hat with ears and brown stripes embroidered on the top. On the front of the hat is a tiger face, made of black safety eyes on top of white knit circles, a pink heart-shaped safety nose, and eyebrows and a mouth embroidered in brown yarn.

I bought red Converse sneakers and a Tigey doll, and BAM. Daniel Tiger in the flesh.

A toddler dressed up in a Daniel Tiger outfit is smiling and trying to run away from his mom, who is trying to hold him still for a picture. The boy wears a red-hooded sweater, a gold hat designed to look like a tiger, khaki pants, and red sneakers. He holds a blue stuffed tiger toy. The woman has on a sleeveless black dress, glasses, and her hair is pulled back. There is a fireplace and a bookshelf in the background, as well as a baby gate and a whole mess of toys. There are pumpkins on the mantel. A small blue heeler dog sniffs around next to the woman and toddler.

Of note: Daniel Tiger doesn’t wear pants, but that wasn’t going to fly around here. Also, I cannot stress enough that this is the least blurry picture anyone has taken of him in the last six months. This kid is ALWAYS on the move. Case in point:

A blurry toddler runs away from his mom, who is reaching out to pull him back.

He wore this costume for exactly 5 minutes. I put the sweater on him and he screamed and pulled it away from his body as though he was a vampire and the sweater a crucifix. So while all items of this costume can technically be worn/played with again, I think it’s only the sneakers and the Tigey who will see any repeat action. The sweater I can possibly get him to wear as the weather gets cooler and he gets used to wearing layers again. The hat, well, I tried.

A blue heeler dog wears a hat designed to look like a tiger and chews on the handle of an orange and black gift bag that says "Trick or Treat." He is laying on a blue rug and there is a red stuffed gorilla behind him.

The dog – in a weird twist of fate – was much more receptive to wearing a hat. He just wants to be included.

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