The Civil War was an important and tumultuous time in America's history. This period produced some interesting historical figures, such as Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, as well as some colorful fictional figures, such as Scarlett O'Hara. Consider a Civil War-inspired costume for children for Halloween, imaginative play or to enhance a school lesson on the topic.
The enlisted Union soldiers wore blue field jackets while the Confederate soldiers wore gray. Create these costumes by removing the buttons from a blue or grey shirt and replacing them with gold metal buttons. Cut a rank insignia out of yellow felt and glue or sew it to the sleeve. Wear a belt around the waist and leave shirt tails out. Find a hat and gun at a costume store. Create an officer's costume by finding a long coat and adding two rows of gold buttons to create a double-breasted look. Wear a cowboy-style hat with a gold cord wrapped around the base.
The women of the Civil War era wore dresses with large skirts, held out by hoops, and elaborate detailing. Southern belles wore hoop skirts with stiff crinolines that created a bell shape. The fabrics were ornate. Make a hoop skirt by making a large, full petticoat and sewing a Hula Hoop into the bottom hem to create the shape. Wear a large skirt or dress over it. Make a matching bonnet by tying a wide, satin ribbon around the top of a straw hat and then tying it in a bow under the chin.
Both male and female Civil War-era children wore the same type of clothing up 'til they were 5 -- long, white dresses that would keep children cool and allow room for growth. Make a simple white, full-length dress out of cotton material. Pair it with bare feet or short black or brown boots. Older children wore different outfits. Little girls wore calf-length dresses with white aprons; patterns are available for such outfits, which usually included pantaloons. Little boys wore denim or canvas pants, collarless cotton shirts, woolen vests and black boots or bare feet.
Other Civil War Costumes for Kids
Create costumes in the likeness of prominent Civil War figures such as Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant or Abraham Lincoln for children. Make a stove-pipe hat like Lincoln's out of a round oatmeal container; make a brim by cutting a circle out of black card stock. Another Civil War character that a child could dress as is Scarlett O'Hara, from the book "Gone With the Wind." Make a large hoop skirt out of green fabric to recall Scarlett's famous dress made from velvet parlor curtains.