Dressing as a football player is one of the easier homemade costumes you can choose before a Halloween party, especially if you have any real football players in your family or friend group. Borrowing a few key accessories helps you pass off some basic garments as a football player costume, which is perfect when you're looking for easy DIY last-minute Halloween costume ideas. Celebrate your favorite team along with friends as part of a group costume or create adorable baby costumes for the littlest football fans in your life.
Source some football pants
Real football uniform pants include padding, but a pair of sweatpants or leggings is all you need for a convincing football player costume (assuming you won't be playing any tackle ball on Halloween). Choose pants that fit snugly and cut off the legs just below the knee.
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If you're dressing up as a player from a specific team, your team's uniform might have a colored stripe up the side of each pant leg. One option is to paint the stripes onto your pants using fabric paint. You can also cut strips out of scrap fabric or felt and attach them to the costume pants with fabric tape.
What color is your uniform?
Can you guess the most popular colors that NFL teams use for their uniforms? The most common colors, used by 13 teams each, are blue and black. The least common uniform color? That would be teal; it’s only worn by one pro team (the Jacksonville Jaguars).
You have the freedom to choose any colors you wish for your costume, but if you want to be “official,” steer clear of any apparel or equipment that’s similar to the color of a football. NFL rules don’t allow players to wear anything on the field that could confuse their opponents.
Make or borrow shoulder pads
It's wise to figure out your plan for shoulder pads before choosing a football jersey since the size of the pads may affect the fit of the jersey. If you can't borrow any pads from a real player, try creating your own padding from craft foam. Old shoulder pads pulled from '80s- and '90s-era clothing might also work, especially if you stack several together to create some good shoulder bulk.
A lightweight cardboard box can also be repurposed into "padding." Flatten the box and use a craft knife to cut out a neck hole. Then, shape and cut the cardboard to fit squarely over the shoulders (kind of like epaulettes). Cosplay tutorials for making shoulder armor might also give you some ideas for DIY shoulder pads.
DIY a football jersey
If you can't borrow a football jersey or find one in a thrift store, DIY your own using a V-neck T-shirt. The core elements you want to add to the shirt are:
- Stripes of a contrasting color around the neckline and around the arm holes
- A number (repeated on the front and back of the jersey)
- A last name (either your own or that of a famous player)
Optionally, repeat the player's number on the shoulders too. You may also decide to put the team name on the front of the jersey instead of or in addition to a player's number.
There are several easy ways you might decorate your jersey. Tape stencils to the shirt and use fabric paint to fill them in or print images on heat transfer paper and iron them onto the shirt. Felt letters and numbers can also be glued to the shirt with fabric glue or a hot glue gun.
Teamwork makes the dream work!
NFL teams are composed of more than 50 players, so there’s prime opportunity for group costumes here. In addition to football players, members of your group can dress up as:
- Team managers
- Crazed fans
- A football itself!
The last touch(down)
Finish a football player costume with sneakers and a football helmet. (An athletic headband can also be swapped out for a helmet.) Copy the black greasepaint smudges that players put under their eyes to cut down on the sun's glare using black face paint or eyeliner. Carry a real football or make a paper mache football to carry as a prop.