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Pirates are one of the classic costumes you’ll see at any costume party, whether at Halloween or any other time of year.

With these easy DIY pirate costume directions and a little bit of crafting skill, you’ll be ready to walk the plank in no time.

These directions involve very little sewing. Fabric glue will do in most cases. Start with our basic pirate outfit, and then you can add more detail and accessories as you wish.


For the basic pirate costume, you will need:

  • Striped or plain white T-shirt, oversized
  • Red fabric of your choice (several yards)
  • Plain black pants, shorts, or capris


  • Ribbon, leather cord, or shoelaces
  • White paint
  • Fabric glue and/or regular craft glue
  • Loose dark-colored dress pants from the thrift store
  • Dark brown or black T-shirt, oversized
  • Large gold-toned buttons
  • Black poster board

Start with the Shirt

First, take your striped or plain T-shirt and cut off the collar. Cut off the hems on the sleeves and cut around the bottom of the T-shirt. Make your cuts ragged and random so it looks like your pirate has been at sea for a while.

Add a Pirate Collar

For a little more detail, cut a notch in the collar of your T-shirt. Put four holes in each side of the notch and lace them up with a shoelace, ribbon, or leather cord. (This is easy to find at any craft store in the jewelry section.)

Tie a Sash

Cut a long strip from the fabric, about a foot wide. Use this as a sash to tie the waist of your pirate shirt.

Add a Head Scarf

Cut a large bandana-sized square from the fabric and tie it into a cool head scarf.

Pirate Pants

You can wear black pants, shorts, or leggings to complete the outfit. If you want to go DIY, find a pair of dark-colored dress pants. You can get them at the thrift store, since you’re going to cut them up.

Cut the pants at mid-calf length. You can cut them raggedly or roll them up. For an extra fancy touch, cut slits up the sides of the trimmed pants and add holes for laces just as you did with the T-shirt. Lace down the sides of the pants and pull tight. This will give you an authentic pirate look.

Pirate Vest

Take a look at these easy directions for a no-sew vest. Simply take an oversized, dark-colored T-shirt and cut around the collar in a V shape. Cut off the sleeves and make large arm holes. Cut down the front of the vest for the opening. If you have a little bit of sewing skill, add large gold-toned buttons to the front.

Top it Off with a Hat

You could easily buy a hat from the party store, but if you want to go full-on DIY, here are some simple directions to make a pirate hat for yourself. Cut a hat shape out of black poster board – use a template if you’re not sure what shape to make it. Cut two matching hat shapes and glue them together along the top. Paint a skull and crossbones on the front.

For a little more authenticity, you could make the hat out of black felt, but you’ll need to add a cardboard ring inside, so the hat doesn’t flop over.


Look up some pirate photos online and decide which accessories you’d like to add to complete your outfit. You don’t need to spend much money: a handful of Mardi Gras beads would make a great pirate necklace. A pirate hairstyle with messy braids can also add a lot to your overall look. Put some beads or ribbons in your hair for authentic flair. You can also add an eye patch, hat, or stuffed parrot from the party store just for fun.

If you can find some cheap calf-height boots at the thrift store, that would be a great addition to your look. Tie a red sash around the top of the boots for an extra effect. Otherwise, wear sandals or regular footwear.

With our simple directions, you’ll be walking and talking like a pirate in no time. Even those of us with less-than-practiced crafting skills can find something workable here. Have a great time swashbuckling with your friends!

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Category: Halloween

Tags: DIY