Halloween will be here before you know it, and if you’re planning to make costumes, you know that the time to get started is NOW!  This is the costume I made for my son when he was two years old:  a carnival side show strong man.  I lost track of how many compliments I received on this strong man costume!  It was incredibly easy to make, and by using several items from the dollar store, like the t-shirt, I saved a bundle over a store bought costume.

This post first appeared at Dollar Store Crafts, where I am a contributor.


  • Black T-shirt
  • Paint
  • Styrofoam balls (2)
  • Dowel Rod

Step one:  Use a black t-shirt that is large enough to go from the child’s shoulder’s to mid-thigh.  Turn the shirt inside out.  I used a one piece romper as a pattern, otherwise you can measure your child to determine where to cut.  Mark your pattern with chalk (as pictured) and cut.

Step two:  Leaving the shirt inside out, sew where the white chalk lines are in the photo above.   Flip the shirt right side out for the next step.

Step three:  Paint a buckle and belt onto the costume.  I use washi tape (or use painter’s tape) to help make straight lines.  I used glitter paint to make the belt stand out.   Let the paint dry.

Step four:  Now to make the weight for muscle man to carry!  First, carve out a small hole in each styrofoam ball, and push the dowel rod in.  You can use a small amount of hot glue (not too much or you’ll melt the styrofoam) to hold the hod in place.  Paint everything black with craft paint.

I added a tattoo sleeve, found at Dollar Tree, to the costume, but he did not keep that on.  Draw on a loopy mustache with face paint, and your muscle man is ready for the carnival….I mean, Halloween!  I live in Central Texas, where it’s still pretty hot at Halloween, so during the day he wore the costume as is, and at night I just had to put a shirt underneath to keep him warm.

If you’re going as a group, you can add lots of side act characters to accompany your strong man.  I went as the bearded lady, and my husband was a sword swallower.  Who says Halloween is just for kids?

Looking for more Halloween inspiration?  I have lots of DIY costume ideas HERE.



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