Vintage Halloween costume patterns from the 70s: Popular styles you could sew and make

Popular vintage 70s Halloween costumes for kids that you could sew

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There were lots of great, high-quality Halloween costume patterns available in the ’70s and ’80s. Butterick, Simplicity and McCalls all offered basic costume designs with many possible variations for a customized look. Here we’ve gathered up some vintage Halloween costume patterns featuring the most popular characters and styles from back then.

Halloween happenings: Sewing costumes for fun

From Ladies Home Journal – October 1978

“Trick or Treat” — the cry is heard throughout the land. Halloween is the one night when kids of all ages climb into costumes and parade around… for prizes and sweets and pennies for UNICEF.

Here are some “characters” to sew together for that hallowed eve, all special enough to pass along to younger kin or friends.

Outer Spaceman: Zip-up glitter sends flashy signals

Flying Batgirl: Zoom-around cape, bat bonnet, emblem on leotard

The Red Devil: Sizzling satin jumpsuit, felt horns and tail

Retro Halloween costumes to sew from the 70s (2)3 vintage Halloween costume patterns

Vintage Halloween costume patterns seen here

Jolly Clown: A riot of ruffles, a giggle of pompoms

It’s Superman: Streaking red cape over he-man leotards

Pretty Pocohontas: Indian-maid dress, powwow braid

Retro Halloween costumes to sew (1978)

Vintage Halloween costume patterns from the 70s shown below

Dandy Dracula: Chiller-thriller with blood-red cape lining, cummerbund

Wanda Witch: Wickedly nice jet-black smock, jagged cape

Retro Halloween costumes to sew from the 70s (3)

Vintage Halloween costume patterns below

Lovable Leopard: Lots of spots on a fleecy jumpsuit

Sweet Raggedy Ann: A living doll in calico dress, bloomers

Funny Bunny: Snuggly jumpsuit (with cotton tail) to hippity hop

Retro Halloween costumes to sew from the 70s (1)

Stitch or treat in the ’70s: Butterick, Simplicity & McCalls offer basic costume designs for Halloween

Now that Halloween is approaching, it is time to think about costumes.

The big influence on costumes this year will probably be “Star Wars.”

A robot costume is fairly easy to put together: Cover a box and a football helmet with aluminum foil. Glue a few knobs on the box, and make antennae with coat hangers covered with foil.

If you would like to make something at the sewing machine, Butterick, Simplicity and McCalls offer a few basic costume designs, and many variations are possible.

What to consider when sewing a Halloween costume

The most important thing about a Halloween costume is that the child wearing it feel comfortable both emotionally and physically. For example, very few boys will feel comfortable dressed as fairies and few girls yearn to walk around the neighborhood dressed as elephants.

If the costume is to be worn to a party indoors, make it of lightweight fabric. A bear costume may be fine for trick-or-treating, but the child inside will suffer in a warm room. The mask should have holes large enough for seeing and breathing comfortably. Make an especially big opening for the mouth — for eating lots of candy.

Coat hangers can be inserted in ears and tails for firmness; if a softer look is desired, use a firm interfacing instead. Use rubber on the bottom of feet of animal costumes. Cloth feet can be dangerously slippery going up and down stairs.

Velcro makes a great fastener for any closing on the costume, because even a very young child can pull it open.

Vintage McCalls sewing patterns - Batman Robin and Superman
Vintage Halloween costume patterns: McCalls designs for Batman, Robin and Superman

Here is an easy way to make a professional-looking sleeve placket.

Begin by making a mark on the sleeve piece at the place you want the placket. if a sleeve placket isn’t marked on the pattern, you can approximate its location by dividing the sleeve into thirds. The placket opening will lie approximately one-third the distance from the back of the sleeve.

Cut a piece of fabric four-by-five inches and interface the entire piece on the wrong side. Using the five-inch length vertically, place right side of placket against the wrong side of sleeve, centering it over placket marking.

Sew a three-sided rectangle in the center of the placket square; it should be four inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Use small stitches, 18 to 20 per inch. Slash opening and cut very close into corners.

Turn placket to right side of sleeve. Fill in opening by folding the side of placket nearest the sleeve seam to form a welt 1/2 inch wide. turn under raw edge and top- stitch into place for four inches along original seamline.

To form the other side of welt, fold the remaining side of placket to form another 1/2 inch welt. Turning under the raw edge, topstitch into place for four inches along the seamline. The welt furthest away from the sleeve seam will lap over the other welt.

Vintage Halloween costume patterns for your favorite trick-or-treaters

1979 vintage Halloween costume patterns

Vintage Halloween costume patterns your kids will love — all year ’round

Cuddly mouse sports a gray felt long-sleeved top, with elasticized wrists, snap-on hood, trimmed contrasting pink front patch, ears, bow tie and tail. Gray felt pull-on pants have elasticized waist, ankles.

Budding ballerina is that little girls’ dream costumes are made of: satin, net and everything nice. Three-layered short skirt of net from Stern & Stern Laces is stitched at waist to eyelet-trimmed satin bodice.

Wonder Woman is ready for anything in her outfit crowned with a star-trimmed headband. Stain bodice with emblem is sewn to contrasting shorts with felt star appliques.

Mr Tiger is a cat with “purrsonality.” Step-in costume, acrylic fabric by Collins and Aikman, has long sleeves, front zipper, detachable hood and contrasting felt mitts, ears, soles and front patch.

Superman, the well-dressed man of action, has initialed blue satin top with long sleeves, red shorts with elasticized waist, red felt cape.

Vintage Halloween costume patterns – Butterick clown costume designs

Vintage Butterick sewing patterns for clowns

5 vintage Halloween costume patterns

Butterick patterns to sew a trick or treat costumes for a princess, bunny, leopard, mime and witch

Vintage Halloween costume patterns - princess, bunny, leopard, mime and witch

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Comments on this story

One Response

  1. There are two of the costumes shown that my mother made for me. The first was the clown and the second was the witch. Seeing them brings back happy (and spooky) memories of my childhood. We would trick-or-treat on Halloween after dark. All of the pumpkins throughout the neighborhood were lit up to guide our way. There was no need to safety inspect our goodies back then. The innocence of that time remains something to cherish.

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