Dressing up as the Cat in the Hat for Read Across America Day

Video how to make cat in the hat costume

It’s that time of year again — time to celebrate Read Across America Day, Dr. Seuss’s birthday, or World Book Day. Today, the spirit day at school was to dress up as one of your favorite Dr. Seuss characters. Elliot decided to go all out with a fun Cat in the Hat costume.

I absolutely love dress-up day at school! 🙂 Even though we already had a Lorax costume on hand, Elliot opted to wear a Cat in the Hat costume instead. And since then, he’s worn the Cat in the Hat costume a few more times at school.

It should come as no surprise that the Cat in the Hat costume is the most popular Dr. Seuss costume at school. Maybe it’s because the Cat in the Hat is so iconic, or perhaps it’s because it’s a pretty easy costume to make yourself. Regardless, I saw several different Cat in the Hat costumes at school, so it is definitely a favorite among students.

Cat in the Hat Accessories

The most obvious and key accessory for a Dr. Seuss cat costume is the cat’s hat. We were lucky to already have a Cat in the Hat costume hat from Elliot’s previous dress-up day. That hat has turned out to be one of our most used accessories in our costume box.

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If you don’t have a red and white hat, you can easily make one. Check out my friend Kim’s tutorial on how to make a Cat in the Hat party hat. It’s a very simple tutorial that uses a red solo cup and paint. You could even use a white ribbon instead of paint.

I also came across a cat hat headband with cat ears attached. It’s perfect for adults who want to participate without wearing a full costume. Just throw it on with a black shirt, and you’re good to go.

Making the Cat in the Hat Costume Red Bow

An oversized red bow is another essential element for a Cat in the Hat costume. Having dressed up as the Cat in the Hat for Dr. Seuss Day so many times now, I have a couple of different bow ideas to share with you.

The easiest option is to use an extra-large red “velvet” Christmas bow. You might have one stashed away in your Christmas decorations, or you could find one at a local thrift store. Another option is to buy one during Christmas when all the stores are stocked with festive decorations.

If you can’t find a red Christmas bow, you can simply make one from red vinyl or felt. The felt bow is the best option for most people unless you own a Cricut or other vinyl cutting machine.

Start by finding a great bow image online to use as a template, like the one from PreKFun. Simply trace the design onto the red felt and cut it out. I recommend using very sharp scissors when cutting felt to avoid frustration. I even have a dedicated set of fabric scissors that I hide from the rest of the family.

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To give the bow a little more dimension, I glued another small piece of red felt to the center of the red bow tie. Then, use a safety pin to attach the bow to your t-shirt.

Making the Cat in the Hat Costume T-Shirt

Start with a plain black t-shirt, either long-sleeved or short-sleeved. All you need to do is add a white cat belly to the front of the shirt. The easiest way to do that is using white duct tape.

Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the shirt and draw a template for the cat’s belly. Flip the paper over and add strips of white duct tape over the design, making sure it’s fully covered. The parchment paper trick is the best way to cut duct tape.

Now, flip the parchment paper back over and cut along your template. Using parchment paper makes it easier to cut through duct tape. After you cut out your cat belly design, simply peel off the parchment paper and stick the white belly to the black t-shirt.

If you prefer a more permanent solution, you can also create the belly design with iron-on vinyl. But using white duct tape allows for easy removal after Dr. Seuss Day, leaving the boys with their plain black t-shirts again.

Alternatively, you can go old school and make a belly using white felt. Just attach it to the black shirt with a hot glue gun.

More Cat in the Hat Costume Details

If you want to take your Cat in the Hat costume to the next level, consider adding a cat tail, white gloves, or a little face paint. But even without these additional details, the costume still turns out super cute and couldn’t be easier!

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DIY Cat In The Hat Costume Materials:

  • Cat in the Hat Costume Hat
  • Extra Large Red Bow
  • Black T-shirt
  • White Duct Tape or White Felt
  • Black Pants
  • Face Paint *optional
  • Gloves *optional
  • Cat Tail *optional

If your school requires your Halloween costume to represent a storybook character, the Cat in the Hat costume is a fun, silly way to meet that dress code.

More Dr. Seuss Character Costumes

If you’re looking for more Dr. Seuss character costume ideas, here are a few to consider:

  • Mr. Brown Costume
  • Lorax Costume Sweatshirt
  • Fox In Socks Costume

Don’t miss out on a huge list of World Book Day costume ideas.

This post was originally published on March 2, 2017.


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