Halloween Family Costume 2018: Finding Nemo (again), Jellyfish, and Daddy Shark Do Doo Do Do Doo

I posted our Finding Nemo Halloween family costume 5 years ago when my older daughter was Nemo, I was a sea anemone, and my husband was a scuba diver.  Well, fast forward to this year, and now my younger daughter fits the Nemo costume, so we had to revisit this aquatic theme again since the Nemo costume is so cute.


It was perfect because I actually just got a new Synergy wetsuit for an upcoming triathlon, so I found our original US Divers snorkel set and remade the scuba diving backpack and accessories for my part of the costume.  Here is my original post on how to make a scuba costume.

Halloween Costume Scuba Diver Tank

For my older daughter, we made a jellyfish costume that I thought turned out so wonderful that I don’t want to take it apart now that Halloween is actually over!  I am thinking of hanging it on the ceiling in their bedroom!


So because I am too busy and overscheduled, of course this all got put together the day before Halloween.  Actually, the EVENING before Halloween.  We went to the Halloween store first to see if we could just buy a Dory costume for my daughter, and a shark or turtle for my husband.  But we couldn’t find anything.  So at 6:30pm, we drove to Michaels and bought:


  • A large sheet of turquoise felt or fabric 36×36 (if needed)
  • 2 large googly eyes (optional)
  • 2 different loop yarns of varying turquoise colors
  • Turquoise duct tape
  • That’s it!  We already had a kids umbrella at home, so we didn’t need to buy one.  If you need an umbrella, I really like this blue clear umbrella so that you could skip step one altogether!


1. Cover the umbrella with turquoise felt or fabric (if needed).

Measure the umbrella and make sure the fabric is large enough to cover all the surface area.  36×36 was perfect for my kids’ umbrella.  I cut a little hole in the center for the tip of the umbrella to poke through.


My daughter and I used the turquoise duct tape to secure the four corners of the felt first.  Then we taped the sides until no fabric was loose or hanging.


Nobody sees the inside, so don’t worry about making it pretty.  But do use lots of tape!


2. Make the jellyfish eyes (also optional).

So actually, jellyfish don’t really have eyes like we do.  Except for the box jellyfish which has 24 eyes, but 2 of them kind of look like ours.  My daughter wanted eyes, so… we put eyes on!  Originally I was going to buy white felt and black felt, and make large eyes, but then we saw these perfectly matching googly eyes and decided to get them.  They are 4 inches tall.


3. Make the tentacles.  

This is the most important part of the costume in my opinion!  We looked through thin yarn, thick yarn, wooly yarn, all sorts of yarn, and finally found these looped yarns, which had the most dimension and “waviness.”  It was the perfect choice!  You really have to see and feel the different varieties to see what you like.  My daughter chose these because she said they were so soft.


My daughter is 48 inches tall so I measured and cut the tentacles to be about 36 inches so that they wouldn’t drag on the floor.  Then my daughter used the duct tape to tape them all around the umbrella.   We used 24 strands of tentacles.  The remaining pieces of yarn we made into a necklace for my daughter to wear with tentacles hanging down.


That’s it!!!  Here she is during the school parade.  LOVE this jellyfish costume so much!!! Now can you imagine it hanging from the ceiling in their bedroom?  I think it would be such a fun decoration!


OK… so 3 out of 4 costumes done.  Dada’s turn!  Da-ddy Shark Do DOO Do Do DOO…. “Dada can you be a nice shark?” asks my little one, AKA Nemo.  Ok Nemo, ok.  He won’t eat you, but he will eat your candy.


1. White Belly

My husband approved of this costume, because, well, he got to wear sweats and a hoodie.  Which is what he would have worn trick-or-treating anyways.  So why not just “decorate” his hoodie???  I found one of his old grey hoodies and had to cover up the USC logo in the front.  Perfect, because a shark needs a white belly!  I only had 8.5×11 white felt, so I used 2 sheets to cover up the logo, but ideally if you have a larger sheet of felt, one sheet would be better.


Just round out the corners so there is a vertical oval on the belly.  Since everything I make is usually temporary, I stick with duct tape versus sewing or gluing.  Temporary.  It works!


2. Shark Mouth

I found a thicker white felt sheet that was stiff versus flimsy, and it happened to have shimmer.  I cut a large zig zag line across the center (vertically).  These are the shark teeth, one on each side of the hoodie.


I took the duct tape and taped on the even ends to the inside of the hoodie.  Nothing pretty.  Just securing the teeth as much as possible!


Next, I cut one red felt sheet in half vertically and rolled up duct tape to stick the red lining on the inside of the hoodie (covering up most of the duct tape I used to stick the white teeth down).  I like the red accent to make it really look like the inside of a mouth!


3. Final Touches

I saved 2 thin strips of red felt and cut them into thirds.  I rolled up duct tape to stick the red felt onto the sides of the hoodie to make it look like shark gills.  I used 3 on each side.


Then I used a pair of googly eyes at the top sides of the hoodie.


Finally, I made the fin with a thick black foam sheet.  I couldn’t think of anything else but using duct tape to hold the fin in place.


So hard to take a selfie and capture the entire shark!!!  But you get the idea!  Now let’s put all our costumes together!


Happy Halloween!!!


Previous Halloween DIY Costumes:

Halloween Family Costume 2013: Finding Nemo

Halloween Family Costume 2014: Turtles

Halloween Pregnancy Costume 2014: Turtle

Halloween Family Costume 2015: Pandamania


Triathlon 101 – Step One: Commit

Tandem Electric Bike Around Angel Island

The last time I rode a bike was renting this tandem electric bike to ride around Angel Island for my mom’s birthday. Not a triathlon approved bicycle, I’m sure.

What in the world did I just commit to?

I went on a run a few weeks ago with my fitness twin, Lizzy (both of us were born on March 10th, although I am 5 years older).  We run regularly once a week for an hour or so.  We’ve both run a marathon before (for me, it was a one-time 26.2 miles when I turned 26 years old).  Yeah, so I’d say we’re average runners.

Lizzy told me that she started taking swim classes in the start of September (and like me, she had never officially swam a lap before), and she had worked up to swimming a mile each class.  And… with this new “skill,” she had a goal of training for a triathlon.  Not just any triathlon, but the Ironman one day.

Lizzy knew she could share this with me because I would understand.  I know she can do anything she puts her mind to.  I know this goal is attainable.  She can absolutely do it.  No doubt.

Problem is, this is where the twin factor comes in, because now I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  Ok, obsessing about it.  A triathlon?  I’m turning 40 in 6 months and do I want to do one too?  It was like a switch in my head that I never knew was there.  And now that switch was ON.

  • No, I don’t swim.
  • I’ve never swam a real lap before.
  • I don’t even have goggles.
  • I never go in the ocean when I am at a beach.
  • I really really really do not handle cold well.
  • No, I don’t ride bikes.
  • When was the last time I rode a bike?
  • I don’t even know how to switch gears.
  • I don’t have a helmet.
  • Forget the helmet, I don’t even own a bike.

Thoughts and thoughts kept circling my mind.  More and more No’s.  More and more stop being crazy.  More and more why do you want to torture yourself?

But just one YES.

A persistent, determined, gritty YES, I can do it.

No!!!  Stop!  Ok, what exactly are the distances of a triathlon?  Let’s get realistic here.  Approximate distances:

  • Sprint: 0.5 mile swim, 12.4 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
  • Olympic/International: 0.93 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
  • 70.3 Ironman: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run
  • Ironman: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run

Given that information, I gave myself a “test run.” After teaching a cardio dance class (I equated it to a short 3 mile run), I took a 40 minute indoor cycle class (covered 14 miles), and then attempted to swim.

Ok let’s break down my swim.  It was a 25 yard pool.  I put on my 7-year-old daughter’s goggles.  I swam 2 laps (back and forth), and could not breathe without huffing and puffing.  I had to adjust my goggles every other lap until I found the right fit so that water wouldn’t leak in.  By then I probably had gone 10 laps (with stops), and I was OUT of breath each time.  I looked around me and all the swimmers around me were lapping nonstop, until finally the lady next to me rested.  I humbly asked her to give me some breathing tips.  She told me to work up to “bilateral breathing” which means taking a breath every 3 strokes and switching sides.  Right stroke with breath, left stroke, right stroke, left stroke with breath, right, left, etc.  I tried.  And failed.  I couldn’t breathe to my left without flailing or gasping for air.  Ack.  So I asked another woman for advice.  She said to just breathe every 2 strokes on my right to start and build endurance.  Then work on drills for my left after.  Ok.  By then I had barely survived 20 laps and basically concluded the triathlon was not possible.  But I was determined.  I wanted to swim for the entire hour.  So I took the 2 stroke breath technique and told myself to slow down my strokes, keep a steady, calm yoga breath, and just go as long as possible.  No rushing.  Yoga breath.  “Just Keep Swimming.”

Miraculously, from 20-66 laps, I did it.  Over half a mile nonstop swimming.  Somehow, breathing often and mentally calming down helped me find a rhythm, and that’s what worked for me.  I was shocked I did it.

Which meant, I can do a triathlon after all, well sort of, if you count a pool swim, an indoor bike, and a dance class.

Ok, so IF this really is possible….. then a triathlon is a huge investment!  It’s not just a one time thing.  With running you can get a good pair of shoes and clothing, and you’re off.  A triathlon requires a lot more upfront costs on things that you should be using again and again.  I thought through what I might need (Note: this is from a Beginning Triathlete point of view):


  • Water cap
  • Goggles
  • Swimsuit
  • Wetsuit


  • Triathlon padded shorts
  • Fitted top
  • Helmet
  • Wrap sunglasses
  • Cycling shoes
  • Bicycle


  • Running shoes
  • Socks

Yes that will add up.  But at this point, doing a triathlon was something I just couldn’t shake off.  I justified the cost as an early 40th birthday present to myself.

Moving on.

Researching races.  Conveniently (or absurdly), there was a local race in a few weeks.  The Marin Triathlon Sprint on November 3rd, 2018.  A perfect test to see if I could truly survive the cold water and swim, ride a bike, and then finish with a run.  And if it works out, the goal is doing an Olympic triathlon in the Spring, followed by the 70.3 Ironman in Santa Rosa July 29th, 2019.

So that’s where I am at today.  I am in too deep now to backup.  At the very least, I signed up for the Marin Triathlon Sprint.  What I choose to do after is uncertain.  But this is a start.  And we all have to start somewhere right?

I am terrified people.  I am really scared of the water and I don’t want to let anyone down if I can’t do it.  Please pray for me.

And a teeny tiny part of me is excited and giddy.  I am determined.  I am focused.  I am proud of myself for trying to conquer some major fears of mine. I can do it.

Time to go shopping.

Original post written on October 12, 2018.