Dressing up as a favourite book character can be educational as well as fun. For many situations, such as in elementary schools, scary Halloween costumes are not appropriate. Dressing up and pretending to be a book character helps kids to remember what they have read. Teachers can dress up, too, to teach the lesson that students will remember forever.
Pick from a favourite nursery rhyme like Little Red Riding Hood or Hansel and Gretel to find your inspiration. Miss Viola Swamp was the mean substitute for Miss Nelson in "Miss Nelson is Missing!" This costume is easy to recreate with a curly black wig and an ugly black dress. Create Rapunzel with a frilly nightgown, a princess hat (cone shaped in a colour to match the gown) and a long blonde wig. Just attach the wig to the hat with hot glue. Madeline has been adapted to film and remains a popular character. Recreate her simply with a plaid skirt and white button-down shirt. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the popular "Little House on the Prairie" book series which later became the basis of a television series. A simple dress worn with boots, a bonnet and an apron can make a Laura Ingalls Wilder costume. Alice in Wonderland is also an easy costume to make. A simple blue dress with an apron will bring Alice to life.
Create Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective, with a cape coat, hat and pipe. An eyeglass will complete the look. An old (or new) tuxedo can serve as a costume for Jeeves of the "Jeeves and Wooster" series based on the books by P.G. Wodehouse. Mark Twain's Huck Finn is a simple costume of overalls rolled up to the knees with no shoes. Carry a fishing rod and a bag made from a red bandanna for a realistic Huck Finn. A stylish grey suit makes the perfect James Bond outfit. A toy gun can add to the effect. A black suit and glasses will serve well for a Harry Potter costume, the immensely popular character in the series of novels by J.K. Rowling.
A costume for "The Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss requires only a red-and-white-striped hat and black whiskers. The mouse from "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" by Beverly Cleary or "If You Take a Mouse to School" by Laura Numeroff can be made with a grey sweat suit, a headband with pink ears attached and some black face paint for the whiskers. Carry a motorcycle for "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" or a stack of books to be the mouse in school.
Finding Costume Materials
Thrift stores are great places to find costume materials. Think outside of the box. Check the scraps of fabric and the bed sheets if you cannot find what you need already made. Hats, belts, scarves and other various items are often together in a large bin. Go when you have time to look around for awhile and gather some good ideas. You can often borrow "Cat in the Hat" hats, and some stores carry them new. Use Mickey Mouse ears for mouse ears instead of a headband with pink mouse ears attached. If you need to, cut the ears out of a piece of pink construction paper.