DIY Tomatoa & Moana Costume

My son is a MAJOR costume planner. He usually picks out his costume a year in advance, sometimes even before that!! I’ve posted about some of his/our previous costumes here. Last year was the first year Chris was actually home for Halloween, so naturally, E asked him to dress up with us. If you’ve met Chris, you know dressing up is 100% NOT his thing. However, if you’ve never been home for Halloween, and your then-6-year-old asks you to dress up as Gru from Despicable Me, you would have to be heartless to say no! 

This year, both kids decided our theme should be Moana. Bee chose Moana, E chose Tomatoa, and they decided Chris and I would be Maui and Te-fiti respectively. I didn’t put *too* much effort into either of our costumes, since I knew they wouldn’t get much use post-Halloween, but I did make sure that at least parts of the kids’ costumes were useable in every day life! 

The base of Natalie’s costume is a nude-colored bodysuit, using the Tai pattern from Made for Mermaids. I attached stretch lace trim directly to the bodysuit. Attached to the bodysuit is a short tutu skirt (part of the original pattern). I didn’t get any great pictures of her wearing it like that, but it was wonderful for the costume party at her gymnastics class!

Next, I used the Cher skirt (also from Made for Mermaids) as her “wrap skirt”. I attached several different kinds of lace and trim, all found at Hobby Lobby, and then omitted the snaps to create a more wrap look. 

Of course, Moana has to have her heart of Te-fiti, and her trusty friends, Pua and Hei Hei. All of these, as well as her sandals, came from Amazon.

E has extremely high costume expectations, and I can’t even be mad about it because I’ve created that monster myself. 

watermark (50 of 191)

 After he put in his request for Tomatoa, he was hopeful that I could find a way to make him bioluminescent. Luckily, I found glow-in-the-dark glitter glue that gave a close enough effect for him. 


I used Stella and the Lexi + Lou Loungers for E’s costume base. I didn’t add any glue or embellishments to these, so that he can wear those two pieces as pajamas! 

I also used the free Beanie pattern, and attached styrofoam “eyeballs” and felt teeth. The orange neck piece” is just a tube, but you could use the neck warmer pattern if you wanted! E contributed the pipe cleaner antennae.  I found clearance shoes that I spray painted, and free-hand cut pincers that I layered with batting. His extra “legs” are filled with poly-fill, and shaped using florist wire. I attached them to the inside of the aluminum roaster pan that I used for his shell using hot glue; that would not be a great option for permanent attachment, but it held up just fine for Halloween!

The most time consuming part, by far, was his shell. Several layers of spray paint, adhesive, glitter, glow-in-the-dark glue, and dollar store “treasures” like rings and necklaces brought his vision to life, but took days to complete because of all the layers! 

We had so much fun trick-or-treating together this year. Although I love to help my kids create, part of me is hoping we can just dress up as ghosts next year. Haha!!


Published by em and ellie

Thank you for stopping by! I'm the mama behind em and ellie, formerly mama & little e. Although I've been a crafty sewist for years, I formally started my DIY adventure in July 2013, after a lot of prompting from Mr. Mama, and two random unrelated orders for baby gifts from friends. Shortly after the first two orders, I launched an etsy shop. On top of running my handmade boutique, I love to spend time repurposing random junk, making ridiculous Halloween costumes out of cardboard, decorating (and re-decorating) our home on a budget, taking pictures of my kids, and making elaborate meal plans that nobody actually follows. I also own an obscene amount of throw pillows.

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