We almost always make our own Halloween costumes, but that doesn’t mean I am an expert seamstress, by any means! For my kids’ comfort (and my budget!), I love building costumes with regular clothes that they can wear again. Then, we add in interesting accessories, hats, and props to make the costume complete.
When my oldest daughter was 4, she loved the idea of taking care of animals and decided she wanted to be a zoo keeper for Halloween. Our zoo keeper costume was so fun and easy to put together, and we loved adding all kinds of details to make it special.
Easy DIY Zoo Keeper Costume for Kids
Grab a few basic pieces of clothing from your closet, the sale rack, or the thrift store. Then, gather and create a few fun accessories to complete your zoo keeper costume.
The Basic Outfit
Polo shirt: Go for a solid, nature-inspired color like tan, olive green, or orange. Even if you are shopping for a girl, check the boys’ department, too. We found a polo shirt on the boys’ clearance rack at Old Navy. Uniform clothes are often on sale in stores this time of year, or a thrift store might be a good option for the shirt, too.
Cargo shorts or pants: If you don’t already have a pair of cargo bottoms on hand, grab a pair to add to your child’s wardrobe after Halloween. Bonus!
Boots or tennis shoes: Wear something you have, borrow from a friend, or check the thrift store.
The costume really comes to life when you add lots of props and accessories. Finding and creating these add-ons is my kids’ favorite part of costume-making!
Zoo patch: A patch adds detail to a plain polo shirt or hat. Check the gift shop or website of your local zoo, or the iron-on patch section of a craft store. Online, there are many options on eBay, Etsy, and Amazon.
Keys on a ring: Gather up some spare keys and clip to your belt loop.
Laminated name tag & clip: An office supply store has plastic badge holders that would work great. Your child can design a personalized name badge!
Hat: A basic baseball cap would be a good addition to this costume, or go for a safari look with a pith helmet. Party stores often have inexpensive costume hats.
Walkie-talkie: If you have a set of walkie-talkies, clip one on to your costume.You could also make a pretend walkie-talkie from a juice box – adorable! (via let’s go fly a kite)
Stuffed animal to carry
Fanny pack or satchel
This costume went right into our dress-up bin after Halloween, and got lots of wear for pretend zoo emergencies, safaris, and animal rescue adventures.
Just for fun:
- Read about jobs at the zoo and how zoo animals get checkups at San Diego Zoo kids’ website.
- Check out the books A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper and Z is for Zookeeper.
- Play Zoo Bingo on your next visit to the zoo via Mom it Forward.
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