There's nothing cuter than a small animal lover all decked out in an animal costume. Using a few facts about sea otters, along with a hoodie and pants and a handful of craft items, create otter costumes for your special event, whether a marine life educational day or Halloween. The DIY costume is suitable for all ages, from tots to seniors who want to pay their respect - and look cute while doing it -- to the world's smallest marine mammal, an endangered species that lives in the nearshore waters of the Pacific Coast.
Otter Terrific Characteristics
When planning your costume and following the tutorial instructions to make it, keep in mind the physical characteristics of a sea otter. Doing so will help you with details.
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This funny animal has a flat, broad tail that acts as a rudder and also, along with their webbed, flipper-like back feet, helps propel an otter through the water on its back. Claws on the front paws, unlike the back feet, are retractable. The sea otter's elongated body is larger at the chest and midsection. Its outer coat is brown, black or silver. The head, except for the black nose and cute little black ears, may be lighter in color.
DIY Otter Halloween Costume Foundation
Things You'll Need
Hoodie in an otter color and in a soft fabric such as microfleece, velour or flannel. The hoodie should have a drawstring so it can be tightened securely around the head -- important for peripheral vision and costume appearance. The hoodie should also have front pockets. If the weather is really warm, you can substitute a long sleeve T-shirt for the heavier hoodie. You can also consider using a onesie for a very small child.
Pants that match the hoodie in color and material. Pants and hoodie sets are sold in leisure wear departments.
Small pointed scissors
Thread in color that matches hoodie
Tissue or napkins
Toy octopus, squid and/or fish -- one for each pocket
Clam shells and a stone (optional)
Fabric glue (optional)
Hot glue gun (optional)
Step 1: Rip Out Pocket Seams
Using the seam ripper and scissors, carefully remove the stitching from the hoodie's outside pockets.
Step 2: Give the Otter Some Food Pouches
Create the otter's food pouches: Hand-stitch or glue the pockets, openings facing upward, under the arms, extending partly over the chest.
The sea otter, after diving for food, carries its prey such as squid, clams and fish, inside of pockets -- flaps of skin extending from under the arms to the chest. It also carries favorite rocks for breaking open clams and mussels, using its chest and belly for a dining table as it floats on its back.
Step 3: Give the Otter Some Food
Place otter toy food in the pockets. Scrunch up tissue or napkins for a filler to help hold the items up a bit so parts of them peek above the pouch where others can see them -- and ask you why you are carrying around a squid, clams and a rock while trick or treating.
Ears, Paws, Feet and Tail
Things You'll Need
Mittens color of main costume
2-inch square of black felt, plus enough to cover most of the palm of each mitten
Fabric glue (optional)
Black permanent marker
Socks in color of costume and of a size that will stretch over shoes, or canvas tennis shoes or sneakers
Acrylic paint, black and a color that matches the costume
Felt, about 6 inches wide and 2 to 3 feet long in the same or similar color of costume
Safety pin or thread, color of costume
Step 1: Fold and Cut the Felt Square
Fold the felt square in half, and cut diagonally to form two triangles. Hand-stitch them onto the sides of the hood so that each ear sticks out less than an inch. Otters have tiny ears!
Step 2: Cut and Glue the Felt
Cut circles from the felt, and hand-stitch or glue to the mitten's palms.
Step 3: Draw the Ovals on the Mittens
Using the marker, draw four small ovals on top of the mittens.
Step 4: Print and Paint the Sea Otter's Feet
Print an image of a sea otter's feet, and use this to help you draw the webbed toes with claws on the top of the socks. If using canvas shoes, brush on acrylic paint to match the costume; after paint dries, use a permanent black marker or black acrylic paint to create the webbed toe and claw design.
Step 5: Give the Otter a Tail
Create the tail: Measure the length from the costume-wearer's lower back to about the knees. Cut the felt to this length. Draw a tail on the felt, wide at the top and gradually narrowing. Draw it straight or with a playful curve. Pin the tail to the pants' waistband, by inserting a safety pin underneath the waistband so it doesn't show. Or hand-sew the tail to the waistband.
Making Up the Face
Things You'll Need
Eyeliner pencil: silver, gray or light brown
Black face paint or lipstick
Step 1: Color the Critter's Nose
Color the nose and skin just next to the nose black to form a triangular shape with the point of the triangle at the top of the bridge and the base of the triangle at the nostrils and extending outward. Draw a line from the middle base of the triangle to the lips.
Step 2: Make Some Lips
Color the lips with the dark lipstick or a very dark color such as raisin.
Step 3: Draw the Whiskers
Using the eyeliner pencil, draw long whiskers extending from the sides of the bottom of nose and area between nose and mouth. Draw the whiskers so they swoop downward and around the mouth to the bottom of the face.
Playful Sea Otter Props
Sea otter costume props are optional, but if you have the resources, they add interest and distinctiveness to the costume, helping it stand out from other otters.
Bedtime Kelp Wrap
Using a safety pin attach a large piece or two of the big, flat kelp that otters wrap themselves in at bedtime. Or for a humorous or rakish touch, pin a smaller piece to the top of the hoodie so that the seaweed falls over the forehead.
Pack a Pup
Attach a fabric fastener to the front of a plush toy baby otter and the other side of the fastener to the top front of the costume. Now baby can ride on mama's belly, just like in the wild. Mother otters often carry their babies on their stomachs until they've taught them to swim and hunt.
A mother sea otter often uses part of the kelp forest as a playpen, securing her baby with the top of a plant. When it's time to sleep, sea otters that live near kelp forests anchor themselves by wrapping up in the kelp. They also hold paws to stay together while resting -- if the costumes are for a group, have them hold paws a bit at the event. It will raise curiosity.