When you've got people dressing up in Santa Costumes, there's no doubt you'll need some elf costumes, too. Elves are classically Santa's little helpers: they make all the magic happen, getting the toys done so that Santa can make his deliveries on Christmas Eve. But why should the fat man get all the glory? The right elf costumes can shine a spotlight on the unsung heroes of any Christmas celebration.
Elf Costumes Basics
There are several different popular configurations for elf costumes, but they usually have in common a really big shirt. These long shirts usually have scalloped or V-shaped hems and could serve as a dress for a girl elf (especially if you're going for a sexy costume) or a shirt for a boy elf.
Elf costumes are often finished off with either pants or brightly colored tights, shoes with curly toes, and often a hat somewhat similar to Santa's hat in shape, but floppier (made from a less-stiff fabric) and coordinating in color to the rest of the elf costume.
Elf costumes are usually green, but you can often find green and red, green and yellow, or black costumes as well, depending on where you shop.
Naturally elf costumes are most often thought of as a requirement for Christmas and aren't often seen outside of the mall or department store, but a Santa and his elves could be a fun group costume for Halloween or a costume party as well.
Buying Elf Costumes
There are many places you can buy elf costumes, no matter the occasion. Costumes usually include the big shirt or dress, pants or tights and a hat. Some costume packages include a belt, shoes, suspenders or other accessories, depending on the style of the costume. You can also sometimes find elf ears to complete the look.
You might be able to find elf costumes at your local costume shop, and it may also be possible to rent elf and Santa costumes if you live somewhere with a year-round costume rental store. If not, here are some good options for buying an elf costume online:
Making Elf Costumes
You can also make your own elf costumes pretty easily, though they likely won't be as fancy as the store-bought variety. The easiest elf costume you can make yourself involves a sweat suit in red or green. If you can buy the top and bottom separately, choose a top that is larger than the bottom for the look of a big shirt.
To give the impression of the V-shaped edge of a store-bought shirt, use fabric glue to attach rickrack to the bottom hem of the shirt. For an extra fun touch, sew some bells onto the hem of the shirt, or tie bells on ribbons around your ankles and wrists.
For a hat, just wear a purchased Santa hat or make a simple cone-shaped hat out of any festive red or green material you have lying around. A bell on the end of the hat adds a festive touch as well. Wear plain black shoes to complete the look.
Any extra-large shirt could also be used as an elf costume, paired with tights or colored pants. Use some metallic, ropey ribbon to make a belt, or wear an extra-wide black belt from your closet. Again adding rickrack, bells, ribbons and/or a hat makes this costume more authentic.
There's a great pattern at About for making elf shoes out of felt. You could almost use the same pattern, with a bigger hole, to make an elf hat. Or use a Santa hat as a pattern to make an elf hat out of felt. Add jingle bells or a pom-pom at the end.
Acting the Part
Most of the time, elves are portrayed as happy little creatures doing Santa's bidding. But that doesn't mean you have to be a nice elf. (Of course, if you're working as an elf for the holiday, you'll have to be nice, and get the crying kids off Santa's lap in a hurry!)
There's a bit of mischievousness inherent in the elf as well, so if you're a practical joker this may well be the perfect holiday costume for you.