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Make a LION Circus Costume

Okay — another Halloween costume is ready to share, and it’s totally out of order!  I thought that after sharing Ellie’s Lion Tamer Costume last week, I would just work my way down the order of kiddos……and Connor would be next.  But ooops, I started thinking about little Max’s costume and had to skip a few and share his next.

Maybe it’s because Ellie is the Lion Tamer, so it just seemed right to make Max’s Lion Circus Costume next.  But maybe it’s also because babies in costumes crack me up… I got antsy to see how it would look!

And haha….this rascally little lion didn’t disappoint! ;)

But what is a LION, without his traveling CIRCUS CAGE!!!!  Ha!  Okay….I just couldn’t resist the cage (attached to our wagon)!  And it makes it easier to have somewhere for little Max to sit and hang out while we are at our church Halloween party and then also for Trick-or Treating!

This little lion though….I seriously couldn’t look at him while taking these pictures, without laughing!  But it might be because it was windy while we were outside and that fur on his head kept blowing STRAIGHT UP! Haha!! :)

His costume was actually pretty simple….and involved just as much hot glue, as it did sewing (which definitely speeds up the process)!  The main body of the costume is made from stretchy knit….so it’s nice and cozy for baby.

I was going to do snaps in the crotch (like most baby clothing) but figured he won’t be wearing it for very long, so I opted for a velcro closure in the back.  And oh, don’t forget that tail!

That little skull cap full of fur is my favorite….and am still so pleased with how well it came together.  (This is where the glue came into play….more on that down below!)

But when you’re a traveling circus and perform at all major cities across the country, you must safely transport all lions in a secure cage.  And yes, that might make your lion a little cranky….but it also might be because he needs a little snack to satisfy that ravenous appetite!  (Poor Max really was hungry here….how fitting, right?!)

All it takes is a quick T-bone steak though….and this lion is back to happy!  (Okay, or a little milk!)

Since Max is still kinda small and hasn’t mastered sitting up on his own….there’s actually a Bumbo chair in there under that white fabric.  That way, you can still see him sitting in his Lion Cage.

But if he gets tired of sitting, we can just take the Bumbo chair out and let him lay down (and nap if needed).  But adding the white fabric (which is actually a fitted sheet) was a great way to disguise the inside of our wagon….which is blue, so I didn’t want it to show.

And even though this costume was designed for a 5 month old baby, it could easily be adapted to fit any size….even if all you make is the furry hat/mane!

Cute-pie Max….I’m pretty sure you’re the sweetest little lion that has ever traveled with the circus!!!

I know Ellie (our lion tamer) can hardly wait to pull you around in your lion cage on Halloween!  (Even if you won’t jump through her ring of fire! Ha!)

Okay, are you ready to make a little lion of your own??

Let me show you how I made mine! :)


SUPPLIES for Lion Circus Costume:

  • Brown Knit Fabric
  • Faux Fur Fabric (I bought 1/4 yard at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon)
  • velcro
  • Sewing machine and basic sewing supplies (here’s a list of common sewing supplies, in case you need a few ideas)

***As always, if you need a bit of help with the basic sewing skills used in this tutorial, check out the Sewing 101 post for more help.

SUPPLIES for Lion Cage:

  • 1 x 2 wood
  • wooden dowels (I used 3/8 inch….but any size would work)
  • red felt
  • gold felt


Okay, let’s start with the costume first.  I used a one piece romper as my pattern but if you don’t have one, you can create a pattern just like I did for this Red Riding Hood Wolf costume.  However, the front piece is all one piece and the back will be 2 pieces.  (This striped romper is getting a little snug, so I actually lengthened the crotch and the legs a bit.)

The front piece you’ll use and cut on the fold so it’s all one piece.  When you create the pattern piece for the back, make sure to make the neckline higher and also add an extra 1/4 -1/2 inch seam allowance along the center (shown on the right side down below).  ***HINT: make sure that the fabric stretches from right to left, so that the costume will stretch with your subject.

A little closer peak at the difference.

Then sew the two back pieces together, with right sides together.  But leave about a 4-5 inch opening at the top.

Then sew the opening down a 1/4 inch.  (You don’t need to finish it all fancy….since it’s only a costume.  But even still, the knit won’t fray, so it will be fine.)

Then, cut some strips of your knit along the stretch, and add them to the neck line, just like this Butterfly Sleeve Tunic tutorial.

Do the same with the 2 back neck line sections.  Be sure to press flat.

Then, place your front and back pieces together and sew together along the shoulders, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Create a sleeve pattern piece (reference the Wolf costume above) and cut out your 2 sleeve pieces.

Attach your sleeve pieces, sewing the fabric together with RIGHT sides together.  (Use a zig-zag stitch to allow for stretch.)

Then sew the entire together (with RIGHT sides together) along both sides, up one sleeve and down the side of the bodice….using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, and a zig-zag stitch (to allow stretch).

Create a tube of fabric that’s about 3/4 of an inch when finished, and attach two separate sections to the back closure of the costume…and add velcro.

Create another 3/4 inch wide tube of fabric for the tail and cut a rectangle of your fur fabric.

Add the fur to one end of the tail.  (I used hot glue since the fur is a little tricky to sew with.)

Then attach the other end of the tail to the back of the costume, near the bum.

Cut another piece of your fur to place along the chest of the costume.  Round the top edge to fit around the neck line.  Then, either hand stitch it in place….or just add a few dabs of hot glue to attach the fur.  (I used hot glue….super easy!)

Next, I made a Pilot Cap, using THIS tutorial.  I used the LARGE size and it worked perfectly for my 5 month old, who wears a 6-9 month in clothing.

I added trim around the edges of the cap with strips of the same knit fabric (instead of ribbing)…..mostly because most of this will be hidden, so I didn’t need anything fancy.

Then, I placed the cap on a doll that has the same size head as Max and started adding fur to the cap.  I cut a strip that went down the center of the cap first.

And hot glued it in place.

Next, I cut two ears from a double layer of felt and hot glued them right to the cap.  Then, I cut two side hat pieces (just like the cap pattern pieces linked above) and cut slits where the ears go…..and then attached those to the sides of the cap.

Here’s a closer peek at the ears.  2 layers of felt cut into an ear shape….and kind of pinched at the base and glued together.

Then, I added little dabs of glue to keep the base of the cap covered by the fur pieces.  The advantage of that long fur….is that it covers REALLY well….so I didn’t have to attach perfect sized pieces.

And that’s it…..the costume portion is complete!!! :)

For the cage….I didn’t really take many pictures, but I’ll kind of explain how I put this together.  My husband and first created the 2 main sides of the cage using 1 x 2 pieces of wood and dowels.  Then we turned those two main sides into a cube shape by adding the cross pieces at the top and bottom along both sides. Then we just used zip ties to attach the cage to our wagon.  (The cage is very light….so this worked very well!)

Then I spray painted all the wood silver….so it would look like a metal cage.

Next, I just hot glued red felt around the bottom to cover the wagon and then added some gold felt and cut it into fringes.  Then, we cut out the two top shapes from cardboard, covered it with red felt, then glued on letters that I cut out of cardstock.  Then we glued those shapes right onto the cage at the top.  Then I added gold triangles to more dowels and added those to the top of the cage, at all 4 corners.  Then, we placed a Bumbo chair inside and covered the entire inside of the wagon with a white fitted sheet.

It worked perfectly…..and adds such a fun touch to the whole circus theme!

And that’s it!

Can’t wait to show you a few more costumes for our Circus theme!!!!





Ashley Johnston

Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!


  1. Logan says:

    Hello. Do you know what color of fur this is? I’m trying to find it!

  2. Carrie says:

    How did you construct the wooden frame? Nails, screws, wood glue? Thank you!!

  3. Jamie says:

    What color fur did you get at Hobby Lobby do you remember?

  4. Carrie says:

    Ohh! Perfect timing! My daughter wants to be a fox and I’ve about gotten it all figured out but I love seeing how you put together a costume! Thanks so much!!

  5. Lisa Hathaway says:

    You don’t happen to have any ideas for an elephant costume, do you? ?

  6. catvache says:

    Magnifique! Bravo!

  7. Grandpa Rob says:

    Max is adorable! And I’m not lion!

  8. mary says:

    Another amazing creation……I knew there was going to be a Lion in there somewhere….but you outdid yourself with the cage….can’t wait to see the other 3…..=]

  9. Sunni says:

    Oh Ashley, your creations inspire me so much! I look forward to Halloween season every year, but especially to see what amazing things you’ve come up with. ? Such a cute little guy and costume!

  10. Louise says:

    As always consume is really outstanding!

  11. Guðbjörg says:

    OH MY GOD this is so cute! And my son’s name is also Max and he would look so amazing in this. Thank you for the inspiring tutorial???

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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