Dressing like a pirate is a great way to get into the spirit of Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th) or as a Halloween costume. But how can you dress like a pirate without spending a fortune on a costume? Check out these tips for how to dress like a pirate with regular clothes.
Costumes don't have to cost a lot! Whether you need a last minute pirate costume or just want to stock the kids' dress up box with many choices, learn how to DIY costumes with what you already have and without spending a lot of money.
This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase after clicking on a link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Do you have a child who loves dressing up like a pirate? If so, you may be wondering how you can help them do so without buying a expensive costume. Here we go!
Pirate costume parts
Can you make a pirate outfit with regular clothes? You sure can! Take a look in your closets, drawers and the dress-up bin for these parts of a pirate costume:
- white shirt
- black vest or sweater
- bandana or scarf (red, black, or blue will work)
- pair of black pants or leggings
- toy sword (optional)
- eye patch (optional)
What you need for a homemade pirate costume
Tunic or Shirt: The first step is to find a tunic or shirt that your child can wear as the base layer of their outfit. A white button-down shirt works well for this, but any color will do.
If you don't have a button-down shirt on hand, a simple t-shirt will also work. Just be sure that it isn't too baggy, as you want your child's pirate outfit to look well-fitted.
Pants or Skirt: Next, you'll need to find some pants or a skirt for your child to wear over their tunic or shirt. Again, any color will do, but black looks particularly striking.
If you don't have any black pants on hand, consider dying a pair of white pants with black fabric dye. This will give them the perfect piratical look.
Bandanna or Headscarf: No pirate outfit is complete without a bandanna or headscarf. If you don't have either of these items on hand, not to worry – simply tie a piece of cloth around your child's head.
A red bandanna looks particularly striking, but feel free to get creative and use whatever color you have on hand. Scroll down to see what I used for my daughter's Halloween pirate costume.
Belt: Finally, every good pirate needs a belt to hold their sword (or pretend sword) in place. If you don't have an extra belt lying around, consider using an old scarf or necktie instead. Just be sure to tie it tight enough that it will stay in place during all of your child's swashbuckling adventures.
Finishing Touches: Once you've put together the basic elements of your child's outfit, it's time to add some finishing touches. If you have an eye patch lying around, consider letting your child wear it as part of their costume. You could also add some temporary tattoos or face paint to really bring their pirate look to life.
With just a few items that you likely already have in your home, you can easily put together a pirate costume for Halloween or dress-up time all year. If you're planning to join the kids for trick-or-treating, why don't you make yourself a pirate outfit with regular clothes, too!
Throwback to Halloween 2012
We used what we had on hand and only spent $3 for this homemade pirate costume in October of 2012 (see photo). We started by using normal clothes for the main pirate costume parts. We already had the bandana, eye patch and hat from our dress-up bin.
We found boots at the thrift store for just $2.00. They were a great purchase, because they ended up being used for this pirate costume, an elf costume, and so many other characters during pretend play.
The pirate hat is an inexpensive Dollar Tree purchase that you can also find at party supply stores or online.
For the splash of color, I bought a tiny bit of red fabric at Walmart for $1.00 and used it as the sash. This pirate costume DIY was a big hit with my daughter!