Indian Costumes

What parent hasnt been faced with the idea of creating a costume for their child in a short amount of time? What can you do when you have to come up with a creative costume for your child, and running to the store is just out of the question? There are many ways to use everyday items in unusual ways to design a costume, one such idea is to make a fun, creative Indian costume.



The basis of this costume is a tan pillowcase or a t-shirt that has been soaked in boiled tea. Once the shirt is sufficiently brown, it is time to start thinking of ways to make it special. If you have access to some fabric crayons and wax paper, you can use them to draw and color designs with Indian themes, such as suns, flutes, tipis, or other icons. Simply impress your designs onto the was paper, then iron the pillowcase on top of the paper. Younger children will likely need help with this step, but older kids usually enjoy coming up with designs that fit their personality. Once you have given the pillowcase the look that you want, cut out holes for your childs head and arms, then voila! You have an Indian dress (or, cut the pillowcase shorter and you have an Indian shirt or vest for boys). After the shirt has ample decorations, add some further adornments by fringing the sleeves and bottom with scissors, then pushing beads through the material. This really gives the dress or shirt an authentic look.

One of the most enjoyable parts of making Indian costumes is adding an Indian name. You can come up with some really fun ideas using your childs personality and combining them with aspects of nature. For example, a boy who has a wild nature could be Blazing Saddle. A girl with an independent spirit could be Wild Flower. The choices are endless, and this is often the parents favorite part of making the costume!

About this Article

This article was written many years ago for non-indians, giving creative advise to parents on how to make Indian looking clothing for their children. The word costume is often used when creating clothing for a theater play or movie or dressing children for halloween. Using the word costume when refering to native clothing is actually offensive to American Indians, Alaskan Natives and First Nations Peoples, and even it's deffenition is correct in the english language but to use the word costume this way is considered offensive. The most common and proper term would be Indian Clothing, traditional clothing, Indian Regalia or Ceremonial Clothing if used for special situations.

Today most American Indians will only wear these traditional clothes when participating in cultural events like a Pow Wow or Native Gathering or Cultural Festival and always worn in a respectful manner, never on Halloween. However, Imitation is the highest form of flattery and American Indians can be honored and respected when children are taught early in life that Native Clothing is a part of American Indian culture and to wear it respectfuly.

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