How to Make a Lion Tamer Costume


Lion tamers are one of the main performers in traditional circuses. They are daring performers who control lions' behavior, all while dressed in a flashy costume. You can change any sartorial elements you wish for your own lion tamer costume, but the classic lion tamer outfit features a red jacket with tails, tall boots and a top hat. This costume will be popular on its own, but would also work well as a couple's costume with the second person dressed as a lion. You can find many of the costume essentials for a lion tamer outfit at secondhand shops and craft stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Red suit jacket
  • Red thread
  • Red fabric (to match the suit jacket)
  • Cardboard
  • Yellow or gold fabric
  • Fabric glue
  • Yellow or gold fringe
  • Black trim
  • White pants
  • Black riding boots
  • Black button-down shirt
  • Black top hat
  • Small stool
  • Whip
  • Skirt
  • Cut a 2-inch slit up the seam on the back of the red jacket. Sew around the edges to reinforce the fabric and keep the seam from expanding.

  • Cut two 8- to 10-inch triangles with a slight curve in two sides from the red fabric to make the coat tails, and sew one to each side of the seam on the back of the jacket. Sew the tails to the inside of the jacket to conceal the stitches.

  • Cut two semi-circles from cardboard using the size of your shoulders to determine the size needed for the semi-circles. These will be used to make the fringed shoulder pads.

  • Cover the circles in yellow or gold fabric and glue the fabric in place on the underside of the cardboard.

  • Glue the gold or yellow fringe along the rounded edges of the shoulder pieces, leaving the flat edge without fringe.

  • Attach the shoulder pieces with fabric glue to the shoulders of the red jacket and trim the fringe so that it falls halfway to your elbows.

  • Glue black decorative trim from the lapels down the front of the jacket and along the bottom to the coat tails. You can use twisted fabric cord, zigzag trim, ribbon or any other decorative fabric trim you come across at a craft store.

  • Put on white pants and tall black riding boots. Any pants you have in your wardrobe will do, for example, slacks or leggings.

  • Wear a black button-down shirt under the lion tamer jacket.

  • Wear a black top hat to complete the look, adding the same decorative trim you put on the jacket to the hat if desired. If you can't find a real top hat, you should be able to find a plastic hat at any party store.

  • Carry props like a small stool and a whip to complement the ensemble.

  • Substitute the pants for a white skirt and boots with heels for a more feminine costume. You could even glue fringe to a white skirt to coordinate with the fringe on the shoulders of the jacket.

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  • Photo Credit lion image by Inhumane Productions from
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