There are a couple of key tips that are essential when making or buying a costume for an infant:
1) Buy or make costumes that do not require tying anything around an infant’s neck,
2) Check to see if the materials used are flame-retardant,
3) Be aware of the weather conditions; an infant cannot tell you if they are hot or cold so you have to be the judge of that,
4) Make sure no costume covers their face; infants are not always able to push aside something that restricts their breathing. To dress your infant in a monkey costume you have a couple of options. You can buy a pattern and sew your own costume, make a costume from scratch or buy one from a store.
Generally, store-bought costumes follow basic safety guidelines but it is always best to check anyway. Make sure you know the size of the clothing your infant wears. Infants should not be placed in tight or restrictive clothing. It might help to buy a costume that is one size larger. A costume bought in larger size will last longer as your infant grows and he or she can wear it as a sleeper or for cold-weather after Halloween. For infants that are starting to walk (often around 9 months old and up) sturdy walking shoes should be purchased if you do not already have some. Many costumes that are one-piece have feet with treads, but these treads are not always adequate traction.
Sewing with a Pattern:
Most patterns come with different sizes in them, so look for a pattern that has the right size for your infant. Again, it is best to go with one size above to ensure your child has adequate room. When purchasing the material it is always best to go by the guidelines on the back of the pattern. All patterns will tell you how much you need and what materials work best. Ask a salesperson if the material is flame-retardant. Follow the directions on the pattern and you cannot go wrong.
Creating one from Scratch:
If you want to save expenses on buying a costume but do not trust your sewing skills you can make a costume from scratch with clothing or items you may already have at home or by purchasing only a few items.
Head: The head of the monkey can be a stocking cap that is in any shade of monkey-color (brown, white, gray or black). Ears for the monkey can be made with felt or even fake fur. Fake fur can be purchased in any craft store, it can be bought in yards but for the ears (and for a tail later) you will only need a small amount. Check your local department store in the crafts section for felt or fur in smaller pieces. Cut the ears in a D shape.
For the best monkey-ears they should be about 2 inches long and an inch wide. Cut smaller D’s out of pink felt and glue or sew to the center of the larger D’s. Even if you are using fake fur to make the actual ear use felt for the smaller D’s since this represents the inside of the ear which is skin and not fur. Ears can be sewn on hot glued onto the stocking cap. If you can buy a sleeper set or shirt with a hood then the ears can be attached to the hood.
Face-Paint: Avoid face-paint on real young infants as this can cause skin irritations. For older infants, maybe 6 months or older, it is still best to avoid full face makeup but if you insist on painting your little ones face then be as limited as possible. Paint the nose black and maybe a tan or peach heart with slightly rounded bottom. Start at their eyes and end with the rounded point on their chin (the shape of a monkey’s face).
Feet: If you think your infant will be walking at all then sturdy shoes need to be purchased, the treads on some outfits with feet are not always the best for traction. Shoes can be bought in the color that matches your monkey-suit, and then you will have an extra pair of shoes for after Halloween. If your infant will not be walking you can put same-colored socks or slippers on their feet. In fact, if you can buy slippers that look like bananas even better.
Tail: For infants that are not walking and will be in a stroller or carrier most of the time a tail is not essential since it will not be seen. Also, a tail might cause a hump under their bottom as they sit in the carrier and cause discomfort. But for walking infants a tail can be made out of the same fur or felt you used for the ears. Cut it long, but not long enough to trip them as they walk, anywhere from 4 to 8 inches and about 2 inches wide. Fold the strip in half and sew or glue (hot glue or fabric glue work best) along the long edge to secure it. Sew the tail to the back of the pants. Do not pin it because the pin could come loose and stick your child.
Body: All you have to do now is buy monkey-colored clothes or pajamas and you are all set. Your infant can wear the same-colored pants and long-sleeved shirt and along with the ears and tail he or she will look like a real little monkey.
Accessories: Try looking for toys that are shaped like bananas, a monkey or a tree. Make sure that the toy is adequate for the age of your infant. A rattle, squeeze toy or teething ring would be perfect to add that extra-special touch for the monkey costume.