The book character costume parade at school is usually the start of all the fun holiday things that are to come. Many schools now don’t allow students to wear Halloween costumes to school so they have the kids dress as their favorite storybook character. I love to throw together these costumes for my kids! Sometimes they already have the stuff they need in their closets, and other times I run out and purchase a few things that hardly cost much at all. If I had one or two children, I probably wouldn’t mind the cost so much but I have to be very budget conscious since I have to pay for everything times 4.  Some years, I get lucky and the kids actually use their book character costumes as their Halloween one.  Here are a few inspirations for you to use if you are in need of a last minute idea for your child’s costume parade!

Book character costume

Purplicious and Clifford the Big Red Dog (2012)

The only thing that I had to buy for Madi’s Purplicious costume was the purple beret. She is wearing her own shirt and tutu that she got as a gift. For Clifford, Caden is wearing a Christmas footed onesie that I covered up with the Clifford sign. We already had red gloves and I used self-adhesive felt for the paw prints. I used my own headband for the felt ears.

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The Ginger Bread Boy, The Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood (2013)

For The Ginger Bread Boy, Cohen (excuse his sausage pancake stick, he was in the middle of eating breakfast when I asked to snap a picture) already had a brown Gap sweater that I sewed on a hoodie, white rick-rack, and candy cane striped buttons. For the Big Bad Wolf from the Three Little Pigs, I purchased 1/2 yard of grayish fur from Hobby Lobby and made the wolf hoody-headpiece. Caden had a gray long-sleeved shirt from Target, and I covered up the wording with the words “Big Bad Wolf.” Then for Madi, I made all three pieces for her Little Red Riding Hood costume.   She had asked me to make her a red hood after watching the musical version. The skirt was a simple circle skirt and the vest is made from pleather. (My youngest used the vest without the red ribbons for Go Western Day at school later that year!) I used one of her tank tops as a template for the shape of the vest.

Book character costume

Where’s Waldo and David (2014)

I totally lucked out that year because those were the easiest costumes to put together! All you need for Waldo’s shirt is a white t-shirt and red duct tape. Remember to use a white shirt that you will not be sad to part with for this project. I learned the hard way, thinking that I could pull of the duck tape afterwards. WRONG. It left a nasty residue that refused to come off. So Madi’s shirt was ruined and I left the boy’s shirt with the stripes in case they wanted to be Waldo again the following year. Make sure not to pull too tightly when taping the shirt because it won’t stretch. If it’s too tight, it will be difficult for your child to get out of it. I used a round loom and knitted them the striped beanies which they used that winter as well. Madi had striped socks from Target’s dollar section. It had fur at the top that I removed because I thought it looked inappropriate. LOL. Cohen didn’t wear glasses at the time so I got him glasses from Target’s dollar section as well.

Mason went as David from David Shannon’s No, David series. I purchased the top and red bottoms at Target. Easy peasy. The two items were added to his wardrobe for that school year. So we got much use out of it!

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If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, Pete the Cat, Fly Guy, and Athena (2015)

Boy, the kids are totally getting me back for the easy costumes last year!

Mason already owned a pair of blue overalls so I used a headband and sewed on mouse ears. Note that the ears are pointed because I tried to get it as close to the book as possible. I made him a long, mouse tail and sewed him a large chocolate chip cookie pillow.

I purchased half a yard of dark blue fleece from Joann’s during their fleece sale and sewed a cat beanie for him. He specifically asked that I do not make cat ears on a girly headband for him. I then sewed on the eyes and whiskers with felt. I also made him a cat tail out of felt. I purchased a plain yellow shirt that I sewed huge buttons to (I had a collection of buttons from my teaching days but I needed two colors that I did not have. No worries, I spray painted them the colors that I needed!)

Fly Guy was a cinch since his wings and eyes are made from poster board. I used a brown shirt that he already owns to sew on random black lines to mimic the hairs on the character’s body.

Madi is going as Athena from The Goddess Girls series. I purchased two yards of glittery light blue fabric that happened to be on sale for $4.99/yard (I think regular price was double that if not more) and two large gold buttons for $0.75/each. You can totally make this dress without any sewing if you wanted to (pinning the top and sides with safety pins) but I chose to do some partial sewing at the top shoulders and sides. I had the gold ribbon and rick rack already.


My kids LOVE their homemade costumes. I was afraid that they would be embarrassed by them and would want to purchase them instead after seeing some of their friends’ store-bought costumes. They reassured me that even though their friends’ costumes are pretty cool, they are limited to what characters they could be. The kids told me that they LOVE theirs better because I made them and they are proud to tell everyone that! How lucky am I to have such loving kids??

I can’t wait to see them at school this year in the book character costume parade. Two of them will be using their costumes for trick or treating. I hope that these helpful tips will inspire you to add your own creative flare to your kids’ costumes. Have a sweet Halloween!

Mom tip: Speaking of trick-or-treating…save your Halloween candies for decorating Christmas gingerbread houses with your kids!! That way, you don’t have to go out and buy bags of candies for that. It’s a sweet deal!



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