Toddler Fancy Dress

Mum, It's Too Hot And Tickles My Face

This page has lots of ideas for toddler fancy dress costumes, whether you are catering for a boy or a girl. There is also some advice if your child is not keen (as mine wasn't at that age)on getting into an unusual outfit.

The main thing to remember when it comes to party outfits for kids of this age is that it should be all about having fun.

Of course toddlers have tantrums 10 times a day sometimes - but if the whole issue of dressing up constantly ends in tears, you need to ask yourself if it is really worth making your tot do it?

You don't need any spectacular sewing skills or a big budget to make them, either.

I started thinking about this when my 2 year old refused point blank to wear a dress up costume for a party.

...Well I knew that he might well change his mind once he was there, so I wanted to adapt his normal clothes for the occasion.

Homemade Fancy Dress

For Boys

You can easily create a simple pirate costume (or cabin boy on pirate ship, at least).

I took a bandana with a skull and crossbones design and sewed it to the bottom of a stripey T-shirt.

You can also complete the look with a present that is tied up like a bag of loot, rather than traditionally wrapped. Other additions could be a (soft fabric) toy sword or hook. 

For Girls

This is cheating a little bit, as you don't actually need to make any of this dress up outfit.

Angel or fairy wings can be bought separately from costumes. Add detachable wings to a pink top and there you have it - problem solved.

Complete the look with face painting (if Tinkerbell will allow it). 

What If They Won't Dress Up

Has your child started saying 'don't like dress up' out of the blue - just before a party?

What do you do?

My eldest son absolutely hated costumes at this age.

So I have had to come up with some creative solutions to this problem, and here they are:

Don't Worry

The fancy dress requirement may in fact be optional, a last-minute thought to take advantage of the fact that the child celebrating their birthday lives permanently in their Cinderella / Spiderman etc outfit.

Ring up and explain that your child doesn't want to wear fancy dress - I'd bet money on it not being an issue.

This has always been the case in my experience. However, toddlers change so quickly. I was always convinced that my Son would arrive at the party, see all the other pirates/princesses and suddenly decide that he actually did want to dress up.

This has never actually happened. However, before the party,- in the absence of a crystal ball - you may still worry about it.

There are 2 solutions to this: borrow or adapt.


See if you can borrow a costume from a friend. The peer pressure of everybody else dressing up may well persuade your toddler to don their outfit. If they resist getting dressed up before the party, take the outfit in a bag and see what happens. If you have the time, adapting the child's own clothes to become that perfect toddler fancy dress costume is the answer. 

Calming Pre Party Nerves

Your toddler might surprise you with their reluctance to wear fancy dress.

If she normally enjoys dressing up, this is probably either a whim or s/he may be communicating anxiety about the party.

In either case, just reassure your child. Remind them that you’ll be there, and of all the exciting things about the party.

Talk excitedly about the theme - if it’s a pirates and princesses party, your sales pitch might go ‘…And they’ll have princesses cakes for real princesses... I wonder if the other pirates will have a sword?’ Ask questions to get them involved ("Would you like to take some fairy dust?

Shall we make some pirate cakes for the party as a special present?") Before you know it s/he will have forgotten that she 'don't like wear fancy dress'...yeah, right!

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