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diy halloween decorations

How to Make an Easy Pirate Costume

Landlubbers, look out! This easy, inexpensive pirate outfit will help bring home the booty on Halloween night.

More in Decorating

Click here for Fairy Costume Instructions.

Pirate Costume

Materials and Tools:

store-bought white long-sleeve button-down shirt (a couple of sizes too big)
set of 6 5/8" eyelets or grommets
eyelet setter
leather cording
black sweat pants
dimensional glow-in-the-dark paint
store-bought vest
two scarves
hand sewing needle and thread (optional)
pirate themed buttons (optional)


  1. At the top of the shirt, just inside the button placket for the top three buttons, mark the placement for three sets of eyelets or grommets (three running vertically down the left side of the button placket and three directly opposite those on the right side of the button placket).


  2. Snip a very small hole where the marks were made. Insert the male (larger shaft) end of an eyelet through the front of the shirt. Click the female portion of the eyelet where the male portion extends on the backside of the shirt. Insert an eyelet setter into the back portion of the eyelet and pound with a hammer on a hard surface. The teeth of the male portion should clasp the female portion. Continue for all six eyelets.


  3. Carefully cut the button placket just outside of the stitch lines so that the stitching remains intact. Cut from the collar to the second button, across the placket and up to the collar. The edge of the collar can also be snipped just outside the stitching line to create a frayed look.


  4. Lace leather cording through the eyelets to create the pirate's open-throat shirt. Cut the bottom of the shirt to the appropriate length for your pirate.

    To make the sleeves, cut off the cuffs and re-stitch them to the sleeve a few inches above the bottom of the sleeve to form a channel. Thread leather cording through the channel and tie around the pirate's wrist.


  5. Swap the buttons on the vest for pirate-themed buttons.


  6. To make the pirate pants: Cut the sweatpants to be approximately 6" shorter. Cut a frayed edge into each leg. Apply stripes of dimensional glow-in-the-dark paint for added effect and for safety.

For a No-Sew Project

Rather than re-stitching the cuffs to the sleeves, simply cut off the sleeves to an appropriate length and fray the edges, and skip switching out the vest buttons.