Celebrate Labor Day – With a Caribbean Craft!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

No, not Christmas. Not even back to school. It’s Labor Day weekend! It’s the time for BBQs, kicking back, and if you’re from Brooklyn–getting on bad on Eastern Parkway.


This weekend marks the 49th celebration of Brooklyn’s West Indian American Day Carnival. Close to 2 million people will converge on the neighborhood of Crown Heights to celebrate the culture, music, and food of the Caribbean.

Originating from the celebrations in the Caribbean, Carnival is a pre-Lenten “farewell to the flesh.” It’s a time when people can enjoy themselves and let go!


Colorful costumes and the sounds of soca, calypso, kompa, and reggae fill the streets as we pay tribute to our heritage and traditions. Spread out over several days, the festival’s highlights include a steel band competition, a J’Ouvert street party,several “fetes”, the parade, and a special Kiddie Carnival.

Fete at home with this colorful costume for kids! The DJ represented Trinidad and Tobago in his school fashion show with a costume I made from materials I found at Michael’s Craft Stores.

To make yours, you’ll need:

  • 1 child size visor (check the seasonal section for visors, sand toys, and more summer fun)
  • 1 breast plate (2 pieces of oak tag paper)
  • 1 box or 2 bags of multicolored gems or stick on gems (look in the scrapbooking section at your Michael’s)
  • 2-3 bags of colored feathers
  • One piece of felt with a sticky adhesive back
  • 1 set of stick on scrapbook letters (optional)
  • Glue gun, and sticks

Total Cost: About $15-22. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do, based off of Socamom’s Carnival headpiece tutorial, but I ended up buying extras that I didn’t use. Be sure to look for coupons on the Michael’s website and on Retail Me Not to save!

I wanted to lay my gems in a pattern, so I sorted the box by color while my glue gun heated up.

Don’t be like me! Avoid 3rd degree burns by keeping an eye on your glue gun and not allowing it to get too hot. The skin just grew back on my fingers. You probably should use gloves. #hindsight

Flip the visor on the opposite side, with the outer brim facing you–you want it to stand up on your child’s head. Starting with the feathers, make a pattern, hot gluing alternating colors around the outer edge of the visor. I made 3 rows of red, white, and black feathers for the DJ’s visor. I found the large black feathers and smaller colored ones hanging right next to each other at Michael’s.

Next, glue (or stick) gemstones to the visor, covering the stems of the feathers. I wanted larger stones in the middle, with the smaller stones below and at the ends. Continue until the bottom half of your visor is covered.

For the DJ’s breast plate, I found a foam pirate hat next to the visors at Michael’s. I removed the feather and skull and crossbones, and flipped it over. If you arrrren’t as lucky (see what I did there?), you can use two pieces of oaktag paper and cut a large semi-circle in each side. Glue the two pieces together to cover your child’s chest.

Hot glue or stick your gems in a pattern, or any way you choose. Trinidad and Tobago’s flag is red, white, and black, so I wanted to stick to those colors. You can turn this into a learning activity by having your child sort gemstones by color, size, and shape.

Cut your felt into three equal pieces. These will be the sides and front pieces of your costume. You can add additional gems and the name stickers for a finishing touch.

Peel off the sticky back and attach the pieces to your pants (we tucked the ends into the DJ’s waistband).

Jump, wave, and get on bad!

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend, and be safe!

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Tiffani is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, co-creator of The Mommy Conference, and co-founder of the digital collective Sisterhued. Her writing and parenting tips have been seen on The Washington Post, Mommy Noire, Yahoo Parenting, and Fit Pregnancy.
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