Updated on September 24th, 2016
I have four boys. They love to wrestle and rough house. What could be a better costume for them then to be all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Halloween this year? When I asked if they wanted a homemade TMNT costume, they all excitedly screamed yes!! They quickly started placing dibs on which of the turtles they wanted to be, of course based on favorite color or weapon.
This post is sponsored by Savers. All opinions are my own.
First, I headed to Savers and browsed up and down the aisles for all green clothes. There’s no better place than a thrift store to find specific clothes on a budget! Plus, since they weren’t the top stylish picks from the rack, most of the tops and bottoms I grabbed where the half price tag of the day! I paid $3-7 for a top and bottom for each of my boys. It would have been really hard to find all green clothes at a department store, but I found all I needed except one long sleeve all green top for my youngest. Pretty good, since I was looking for 8 total pieces!
Next, I headed over to the linens and found a scrap piece of butter yellow fabric – perfect for making turtle bellies with! The scrap of fabric was big enough for all four of the costumes and so I just needed the one piece for $2. I also grabbed a pillowcase to make the eye masks grabbing one of each of the four colors: red, orange, blue, purple. One of the pillowcases was thin and slightly silky. It had the hardest time becoming a mask, but the rest worked great! Look for thick cotton stiff pillowcases. Again, I had so many choices for each of the colors that I went with my favorite of the choices and the clearance yellow tagged ones when possible.
Finally, I wandered over to the home goods near the dishware. I grabbed four baskets in varying sizes looking for low, flat baskets that were round to make their turtle shells from. In total, each of the costumes was less than $10!
Gathering the supplies was the first step. When I got everything home I laid out each of the shirts and cut out the yellow scrap fabric on top to make their bellies. I used a gold sharpie to draw their turtle belly outline and then roughly cut around the belly shape leaving about 1/2″ salvaged edge. Then, I pinned the belly in place, tucking the salvaged edge in as I went to give the belly just a bit of a 3D feel as it looks in the pictures of the turtles. This also made it super easy to sew without having to be perfectly lined up. Then, I just sewed a zig zag stitch following the outer line.
When all the bellies were on the shirts, I took the baskets outside and spray painted them using a leftover can of spray paint I already had on hand. If you’re shopping for the paint, you can do brown or green for the shell, the turtles have been portrayed both ways depending on which turtle series you reference. I was going off the cartoon TMNT, like seen here where they almost have a brown/green/grey shell. Anyways, just spray paint the back rounded side of your basket that will form the shell.
When your turtle shells are dry, lace a rope, string, yarn, or whatever you have on hand through the basket in four spots forming two backpack like straps — one on each side. The kids can then just slip their arms into each of the sides and wear the turtle shell!
The final step was the eye masks. These were really easy to make and I didn’t sew them, but fray check would help if your kids plan to wear them a lot before Halloween or after. Line up the pillowcase on a cutting mat, if you have one. I quickly and easily cut the masks using a rotary cutter and a straight edge square that I had previously from making rag quilts. It doesn’t have to be perfect though, you can just use a pair of scissors if you don’t already have those items on hand. I cut from where you stuff your pillow inside all the way around to the far edge so that when cut as a strip, I could open up the strip and have one really long strip of fabric. If you see in the pictures, the turtles always have really long mask strings. Since most of the pillow cases had a seam right on the far edge where the end of your pillow would go when stuffing, it made it super easy to line up the center of their mask and cut eye holes and a small curved indent for their nose.
This whole aisle is second hand costumes! There is literally so many choices it will be hard to choose! Whatever your family wants to be for Halloween this year, head to Savers and make it a thrifty costume!