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DIY Costa Rica Three-Toed Sloth Costume

DIY Costa Rica Three-Toed Sloth Costume

NOTE: The content on this page was last updated on August 26th, 2017.

diy sloth costume
Nikki in full sloth costume; face, hair, and claws
diy sloth costume
DIY Costa Rica three-toed sloth costume

COSTA RICA SLOTHS: COSTUME INSPIRATION

If you have ever asked someone knowledgeable about Costa Rica if Hallowe’en is celebrated in the country, you may have caught them hesitate for a moment before answering. Brace yourself, the correct answer is an ambiguous one: no, yes, hardly, and sometimes.

Thirty years ago, twenty years ago, and even ten years ago, if you asked Ricky if he “celebrated” Hallowe’en, he would look at you with a puzzled look and wonder whether he was giving off a Theistic-Satanist vibe that would warrant another to ask such a silly question. “Of course not.” He would reply. “Hallowe’en is a holiday celebrated by Satan worshipers.”

Fast forward to today, and although he won’t admit he’s come around, every October he’s on board with a pumpkin display, he thinks its cute to see children dress up in costumes, and he doesn’t complain about the overabundance of chocolate in the house. Let’s just say he has warmed up to the festivities like the rest of us warm up with pumpkin spice lattes at this time of year.

HALLOWEEN IN COSTA RICA

Commercially, we celebrate Hallowe’en. Religiously, we do not celebrate Satan.

“In Costa Rica, there are people who oppose the holiday and people who embrace it. Commercially, we celebrate Hallowe’en. Religiously, we do not celebrate Satan.”
~ Nikki & Ricky,
Costa Rica Travel Blog

In Costa Rica, there are people who oppose the holiday and people who embrace it. No, Hallowe’en is not officially celebrated in Costa Rica, as most Ticos (especially older generations and religious folk) pass the day without regard for its significance, or with an interest in boycotting the event altogether. Yes, Hallowe’en is celebrated in Costa Rica, in the sense that the country realizes the significance of the day to many people worldwide and its connection to particular traditions and practices. Hallowe’en is hardly celebrated in Costa Rica, meaning that compared to the volume and prevalence of festivities that surround Navidad (Christmas) and Semana Santa (Easter Week), it is barely an event. Hallowe’en is sometimes celebrated in Costa Rica, because many people (including younger generations and foreign visitors) cannot ignore an opportunity to dress up, socialize, sugar-binge, and drink (if you do), especially in towns with a substantial social scene (including San Jose, Jaco, and Tamarindo).

In the spirit of innocent Hallowe’en fun, this year I opted to dress up as a three-toed sloth. I anticipate others who have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing Costa Rica (or who haven’t seen the movie Zootopia) will likely mistake the costume for that of a bear, panda, or similar furry animal; it’s a good thing I don’t mind (and have made a living) educating others about the country. 🙂

QUICK DIY COSTA RICA THREE-TOED SLOTH COSTUME ITEM LIST

For this step you will need:

  • Plush hat/toque
  • Fuzzy socks
  • Fuzzy gloves
  • Soft/fuzzy cloth; I used car wash cloth
  • Furry material; I used a scarf found at a second-hand shop
  • Felt sheets in black, brown, and beige
  • 6-pack of foam hair rollers
  • Grey (I mixed black and white) acrylic paint and paintbrush
  • Plastic costume cow nose (optional)
  • Black acrylic paint and a paintbrush (if you plan to use a plastic costume cow nose)
  • Safety pin
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Scissors

STEP #1: CONSTRUCTING THE SLOTH’S FACE

For this step you will need:

  • Plush hat/toque
  • Soft/fuzzy cloth; I used car wash cloth
  • Felt sheets in black, brown, and beige
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Scissors

If you love dollar stores or second-hand shops (“Americanas”, as they are called in Costa Rica), this project is for you. The entire costume cost less than $15.00 to make using inexpensive materials.

  1. Cut an oval piece of the car wash cloth to act as the background for the sloth’s face. Glue the car wash cloth to the hat.
  2. Put the hat on and note with a marker on the front where your eye sockets are (use a friend if it is tricky to do so yourself).
  3. Cut small holes in the front of the hat (through both the hat and the car wash cloth material) where the marker marks are.
  4. Glue around each eye socket hole to prevent the hole from fraying. Make sure to leave the centre of the hole open for seeing through.
  5. Use the felt sheets to cut shapes that can be used to construct the sloth’s eye patches, snout, and mouth areas. I referenced multiple photos of three-toed sloths to give me an idea of how their face looks. You can do the same, or view my mask photos below for shape inspiration. Once cut, glue the felt shapes onto the hat on top of the car wash cloth. Remember to cut eye holes in any felt pieces that cover the eyes (such as the black pieces I used for the sloth’s eye patches.

STEP #2: ADDING THE SLOTH’S 3D NOSE

For this step you will need:

  • Plastic costume cow nose
  • Black acrylic paint and a paintbrush
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks

This step is not necessary. If you are unable to find a plastic nose at a hobby store near you, simply use felt to create a nose instead. I opted for the 3D nose because I happened to come across a cow makeup kit (nose included) at a store near me, but the sloth face can easily be created without it.

  1. Since the cow nose I purchased was white, I painted it black.
  2. Cut a whole in the hat (through all layers of felt and car wash cloth) where the nose will go. Be careful not to cut a hole larger than the size of the nose.
  3. Glue the nose to the hat.

STEP #3: MAKING THE MASK COMFORTABLE TO WEAR

For this step you will need:

  • Felt sheet scraps (from Step #1 above)
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Scissors

This step is not necessary. When I first put on the mask, the hot glue that had hardened around the eye and nose holes nearly scratched my face. This step makes a difference in the level of comfort wearing the mask.

  1. Turn the mask inside out and glue felt scraps around the eye and nose holes. Be sure to leave enough space in the openings to continue to see and breath out of, but cover the hardened glue around the edges so your face only feels soft felt.

STEP #4: ADDING THE SLOTH’S HAIR

For this step you will need:

  • Furry material; I used a scarf found at a second-hand shop
  • Safety pin

There are so many different routes you could take in creating the sloth’s hair. I got lucky and found a furry scarf at a second-hand shop, but you could just as easily purchase furry material or use an article of clothing with fur on it. If it is furry and resembles animal hair, it will work.

  1. The idea is to create a hood. If you are using a scarf as I did (or a long piece of material that resembles a scarf), wrap it around your head as if you were wearing the hood up on a hooded-sweatshirt. Using a safety pin, pin the two parts of scarf/material that meet at your chin. Let extra material hang down your front, back, and sides, to create hair all over the sloth.

STEP #5: ADDING THE SLOTH’S ARMS

For this step you will need:

  • Fuzzy socks
  • Scissors

This step helps pull the entire costume together. Without it, you will have a furry sloth face/chest and claws, but bare arms in between.

  1. Cut the toe end out of a pair of fuzzy socks.
  2. Slide the socks up your arms to create fuzzy arms. The scarf I used to create the sloth’s hair was long and ran down to my elbows; for this reason, I used one pair of socks (one sock for each arm) to cover the space between my elbows and wrists. If the material you use to create the sloth’s hair is shorter, and your arms are bare upwards of your elbows, consider buying two pairs of socks (two socks for each arm) to cover the entire arm.

STEP #6: ADDING THE SLOTH’S CLAWS

For this step you will need:

  • 6-pack of foam hair rollers
  • Grey (I mixed black and white) acrylic paint and paintbrush
  • Fuzzy gloves
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Scissors

I’ll admit, this part of the project was my favourite. The costume screamed SLOTH the moment I added in the claws.

  1. Slightly bend and paint all six hair rollers. Don’t worry about painting the one end (you can see in the photo below, mine was left lime green) as it will be hidden.
  2. Cut three very small horizontal slits in each pair of gloves about where the crevice is between each of your four fingers (i.e., look at the back of your hand; where you see your four knuckles, cut the slits in between).
  3. When the paint is fully dry, carefully insert each roller end into the slits and hot glue the roller to the gloves. Be sure to position the rollers so they are close to one another but just slightly apart. I found it helped to glue the rollers to the gloves from both the inside and the outside of the gloves. If choosing to glue the rollers inside the gloves, be careful not to glue the inside walls of the glove together; you need to be able to slip your fingers/hand through it.

STEP #6: THE COMPLETE LOOK

Almost there…

To complete the look, put all of the pieces together.

  1. Put on the mask first to apply the “sloth’s face”.
  2. Put on the “sloth’s hair” and pull the hood up over your head and down until it stops at the sloth’s forehead. Make sure the safety pin is positioned at your chin (this hides your neck and makes the sloth body/chest appear wider)
  3. Put the socks over your arms to create the “sloth’s arms”
  4. Put the gloves on your hands to create the “sloth’s claws”. Make a fist with each hand to hid your fingers and display only the claws (not your fingers are still free to grab/carry items).

My three-toed sloth costume is a half-body costume (from the waist up). If you want to go all out, consider wearing brown/beige tights with fuzzy legwarmers (or furry pants, if you can find some) and make another set of claws for your feet. As an added touch, consider adding foliage that peeks out from behind your back to create a rainforest backdrop, or construct a baby cloth to carry in front.

Pura vida!

Take a moment to view our gallery photos below featuring all DIY Costa Rica three-toed sloth costume pictures.

QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you ever attempted a Costa Rica-themed DIY costume? How did it go?

Pura vida!

Nikki and Ricky

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