Homemade Jesse & Slinky Dog Costumes From Toy Story

Dude, I did it! I semi-DIYed my very first Halloween costumes, and I lived to tell the tale. It actually wasn’t too hard (do you believe that I didn’t sew a single thing?). Holla!

In case it’s not super obvious, Clara asked to go as Jessie (the cowgirl from Toy Story) and Burger gets to be Slinky Dog (also from Toy Story). Here were most of my supplies for Clara’s costume:

  • a “cowgirl hat” from a local pop-up Halloween store
  • red yarn and white duct tape from AC Moore
  • flared jeans from Old Navy (you know I used a coupon and bought them on discount Tuesdays)

The first thing I tackled was making a long Jessie-ish braid from the yarn and used the white duct tape to connect it to the hat. Looks pretty bad from the inside, but thankfully it’s all covered up when Clara puts it on, and it doesn’t seem to bother her (she loves her Jessie hair, and it actually seems to help make the slightly-too-big hat fit her a bit better – even though it still slides around a little).

Oh and she needed winter shoes/boots, so I found these cowgirl-ish boots at Old Navy on sale, so they’ll not only serve as shoes for the costume but she’ll hopefully get lots of wear out of them this winter. I also picked up an on-sale white button down (in the boy’s section) that she can wear well beyond this costume. And speaking of wearing-beyond-the-costume, see the jeans? I cow-patterned them up with white duct tape that I cut into different cow-spot-ish shapes. So it’s 100% removable so the jeans, the shirt, and the boots can just be worn normally after Halloween until Clara outgrows them.

As for slinky dog’s costume, I just got a quarter yard of brown felt from JoAnn (on sale for 50 cents), cut it into a small strip that wraps around Burger’s tummy, and used velcro at each side of the strip to secure it under his ribcage. Then for the “slinky” we just got two yards of silver trim (from the aisle with all the fringe and beaded trim that you buy by the yard at JoAnn). I didn’t even sew the slinky trim onto the felt since I secured it with safety pins on the outside of the costume under his belly (so they’re not against Burger’s skin, they’re on the outside of the felt sleeve). I intended to stitch it after pinning it just to see how it looked, but it seems to work as-is. Burger doesn’t exactly love Halloween costumes – he wiggles out of them in about 5.5 seconds – so I figured it wasn’t worth breaking out a needle.

Oh man, and my favorite detail is the gold fringe that I added to the bottom of Clara’s flared jeans. She LOVES it (“look how they shake mommy!”) and I’m so excited that it was only $1 worth of trim from JoAnn which I safety pinned in place (so once again, it can be removed and Clara can wear these jeans for the rest of the year). Although she loves them so much, we might de-cow-spot them and leave the fringe on for a little while… just because she gets such a kick out of it.

Here’s Clara’s Jessie hair from the back. Isn’t that long braid adorable? Oh man, I think my brain will explode when she actually has hair I can braid. Squuuueeeee!

Oh and the belt! I made that with another trim thing I found at JoAnn (it was woven leather-looking trim that was the perfect width for her pants). I secured it with a round plastic pin/button (you know, the ones people wear on their lapel that say “vote for me for student council”) but it was a clear fillable plastic button, so I opened it and put yellow construction paper in it with a star in front of it that I cut from leftover brown slinky dog felt. Since it has a safety pin on the back of it, it holds the woven trim together like a belt, so for around $4 I made her that little cowgirl accessory.

Weirdly enough, Clara’s favorite Jessie activity so far has been sliding her legs out on the floor like this in her boots (and occasionally hurting Woody, if he’s nearby). She’s got the moves like Jagger.

What sort of costumes are you guys DIYing this year? Anyone else using odd things like white duct tape when it comes to your costume? Or are you happy to buy something cute off the rack if it grabs you? I gotta admit we did that last year

… and the year before

… and it was tons of fun too. Hope you guys all have a safe and happy Halloween!!! And I’d love to hear (and see!) what your kiddos are going to be this year. And any grown ups in costume = awesomeville. Links, links, y’all!


  1. says

    SO adorable! And I’m impressed with your avoidance of the dreadful sewing machine – I do my best to leave it in it’s intimidating box as much as possible as well! :)

    No costumes for us this year – though our dog naturally looks like a lion if that counts? We’re just enjoying handing out candy to the kiddos. Maybe once we have our own we’ll get back into the costumes! But for now I’ll just have to dote on my cowardly lion. ha!

    Happy Halloween!

    • says

      My husband and I are the same — no costumes. We both like Halloween but imagine we’ll get more dressed up and such when we have our own kids. For now, we really enjoy buying lots of candy and handing it out to our neighbors’ kids.

    • says

      No costumes for us either! My husband isn’t a costume kind of guy, and didn’t really grow up doing Halloween either. I on the other hand have a costume designer for a mother. I’ll definitely get back into it when we have kids. In the mean time my husband has LOVED taking over the road of haywagon driver from the farmer next door. Every year they fill up the hay wagon with hay, he decorates it with the neighbors, and they tow the kids around from house to house on it with the tractor. I hop on and when they get next door I jump out and run home to hand out the candy, and then jump back on with the dogs in tow!

      Eventually I’m sure I’ll dress up again (most of the adults do!) while Andy continues to drive the hay wagon. I think it might be one of his favorite things.

  2. Rachel says

    I made two costumes this year. Both my girls looked on pintrest…that is what I get for that addiction. My oldest is a Gameboy and my youngest a jellyfish. I am quite proud of them both.
    Love the Jesse Costume. I went as that last year and made my husband be Woody. We were a hit a the church halloween festival.

  3. says

    I’m a lazy halloweener. Mae is a cupcake I got off the wrack at Target. It may be my favorite costume yet. Clara (and Burger) look adorable!

  4. says

    My daughter is an Ewok this year. (Last year Leia and earlier this year I photoshopped her red riding hood cape black and tossed a light saber in her hand to make her a Sith).
    Just in time for Lucas to completely sell out to Disney and promise three more movies. Womp Womp. But I digress.

  5. says

    I die. That little Jessie is too much. Her braid! I love it all and I love that is all removable and wearable. Chris and I were Waldo and Carmen Sandiego (both using clothing that we now wear all season) and Greta was Mowgli for our costume party over the weekend. I know Mowgli from Jungle Book is a little boy, but I couldn’t help myself–the resemblance was uncanny!


    Will you and John dress up?!? It might be my favorite thing to do. :)

  6. Lisa says

    I am DYING over her costume it is so cute!! I’m a Disney nut so i got so excited to see this cute Jessie costume! Gotta remember all your removable ideas for when I have kids….or for myself lets be honest.

  7. says

    My husband and I went as characters from Community (he went as the Greendale human being and I went as Britta dressed up as Michael Jackson from the celebrity impersonation episode), with mostly store bought pieces. Our friends totally DIY’ed their dia de los muertos costumes though, and I was so impressed! You’re never too old to dress up and have fun in my opinion.


    Clara’s Jessie outfit is adorable! I actually considered going as the same thing :)

  8. Monika says

    You guys! Your creativity has been off the charts this week! The chalkboard was killer, the shadow box fun, and this is amazing. Super creative, original, and just unbelievable. Just giving you a thumbs way up :) My son is Woody this year (a store bought costume, although now I of course think it would have been better to DYI).

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