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a small child wearing a Une Petite Fille costume

Kids’ French-Inspired Halloween Costumes

By Brenda Ponnay

I’ve had Paris on the brain since I visited the beautiful city way back in 2005. In fact, I’ve recently written a children’s book called Secret Agent Josephine in Paris that will be officially released on November 8th, so when it came time to think up some costumes for this Halloween, my mind went to all things French.  Bien sûr!

4 different DIY French inspired Halloween costumes: Mona Lisa, Une Artiste, Madame Curie, Une Petite Fille

Cute, no? (said with strongest French accent I can fake) Here is how we made them!

a girl wearing a homemade Mona Lisa costume

Mona Lisa Kid’s Halloween Costume

Creating Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, the Mona Lisa, was especially fun. I’d seen a lot of versions of this costume with children’s faces peeking through the canvas but I thought it would be more fun if her frame was free. I was thinking of attaching some straps to the edges of the frame (by drilling an eye-hook into the frame and attaching ribbon) and making it wearable like a backpack, but in the end that was uncomfortable. So we just let Mona live outside her frame, which I think is actually really cool, like she came to life and stepped right out of a painting! We used a really cheap, light (plastic actually) thrift store frame that would be super easy to cart along trick-or-treating.

a child sitting on the floor next to cans of paint brushes,  painting on cardboard

To create the background we made a VERY rough impression of what we thought Da Vinci’s painting looked like, trying to match the colors and the fuzziness of the background. This fuzzy background technique was revolutionary during his time, because before Da Vinci, painters painted detail in the background just as crisp as in the foreground. (This painting technique is called sfumato which comes from the Italian word that means “to tone down” or “to evaporate like smoke”.)

A woman sitting on the floor painting on cardboard (making Mona Lisa costume)

Hey! There’s me, painting on my kitchen floor because it’s easy to clean up!

To create Mona Lisa’s look we parted her hair in the middle and put some cover-up makeup over her eyebrows to downplay them. Her  outfit is a round necked blouse that we found in a thrift store. For her shawl I cut up a velvet skirt that I also bought for four bucks at a thrift store, but really, any draped fabric would work.

A girl wearing a Little Artist Kids Halloween Costume

Une Artiste! Kid’s Halloween Costume

This one is so easy.  White blouse, a few smudges of paint, a beret and you’re good to go!  We added a palette made out of cardboard and a paintbrush, but a sketchbook and a pencil behind your ear would work too.

Madame Marie Curie Kids Halloween Costume worn by a young girl

Madame Marie Curie Kid’s Halloween Costume

With this look, I was trying to recreate a photo I saw online.  I did buy a lab coat online that would have communicated the scientist look, but I kind of fell in love with 1800’s Marie so we went with a dark blue thrift store dress instead. Add a round-bottomed boiling flask (or a plastic vase if you don’t want your kid carrying around something that might break or spill) and you’re ready to discover radium!

French Girl Kids Halloween Costume being worn by a little girl holding a cardboard Eiffel Tower

Une Petite Fille Kid’s Halloween Costume

And last but not least our little French Girl!  She was an after thought but too cute not to include in this post. A little French girl costume is pretty much a no-brainer. Any combination of stripes and basic black pants with a beret will work. Of course we had to throw in an Eiffel Tower because I am the cardboard whisperer, after all. A macaron is optional.

The Eiffel Tower painted onto cardboard
The Eiffel Tower is tricky to draw, mostly because everyone draws it from the perspective of looking up at it.  Mine is a little wonky too, but the good news is that it’s such an iconic structure just about any rendering will do the trick. I painted mine on a sheet of white cardboard (normal cardboard or some poster board would have worked well too) and then I cut it out with a trusty box cutter. (Remember box cutters are NOT for kids. There’re not even for some adults. If you feel a little unsure around sharp blades use a pair of heavy-duty scissors.)

C’est facile a faire!

French-Inspired Kids' Halloween Costumes worn by 4 girls

I hope you enjoyed our little French Halloween Costumerie!

p.s. I don’t actually speak French. I apologize to those who do. Please feel free to point out my bumbling American errors.


Secret Agent Josephine in Paris Books on a table

Don’t forget my children’s book  Secret Agent Josephine in ParisThank you in advance for all of your support!

More Halloween Ideas from Alpha Mom:

  1. Family Vampire Portraits for a Spooky Halloween
  2. Ghost and Boo Cupcakes for Halloween
  3. Halloween Monster Puppets 


About the Author

Brenda Ponnay

Brenda Ponnay is an author and illustrator who loves to craft and make big messes when she’s not working on her books. Whether it’s painting, baking, drawing, making castles out of card...

Brenda Ponnay is an author and illustrator who loves to craft and make big messes when she’s not working on her books. Whether it’s painting, baking, drawing, making castles out of cardboard boxes or just doing the laundry with flair, Brenda Ponnay has learned that what really makes her happy is being creative every single day.

You can read about all her crazy adventures on her personal blog: Secret Agent Josephine.

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As someone who is half-French, I love this post! The costumes are adorable! To correct your French: “It’s easy to do” = “C’est facile a faire”. Since your artist is a female artist, it should be “une artiste” (un artiste is for a male artist). Also, because Leonardo da Vinci is Italian, the Mona Lisa is an interesting choice, although I guess it is the number one painting visited at the Louvre. In French, they refer to her as “La Jaconde”. Finally, the French don’t really celebrate Halloween. Like other Catholic cultures, they celebrate “All Saints’ Day” or in French,… Read more »

Isabel Kallman

Thank you so much, Stephanie! I really appreciate all of your French knowledge. I suggested Mona Lisa to Brenda, because as you guessed it, she is one of the most famous and popular women in France! 🙂


Such clever ideas – and I don’t think I’ll be able to see your Mona Lisa model any other way now!


[…] Alpha Mom’s Costumes from Paris… stunning!!! […]


Loved the costumes! I have a question…how did you keep the frame for the Mona Lisa upright and attached to her? I am really curious! Considering another costume idea using your frame support idea for next year.
Thanks..great ideas:)


I put little eye hooks at about shoulder level on the frame and then attached a ribbon across the back. It wasn’t that perfect of a fit. Mona Lisa opted to just carry it for trick-or-treating. I’ve seen others actually create face and arm holes through the canvas and carry it that way.  I wanted our Mona to be a little more free so we opted not to do it that way but I think that is a more popular way to go.