Literary Halloween Costumes

It’s that time of year again. The time that our children have to come up with THE costume. If yours are anything like mine, on November 1, they are saying “Next year for Halloween, I think I’ll be. . . . ” My daughter Amanda never runs short on creativity in coming up with her costumes. I don’t know if it’s her creativity or my frugality, but between the two, we usually end up making her costume. My very favorite was when she was four (or five?), and she told me she wanted to be a “girl superhero.”

I took an old baby blanket, attached some ribbon with the no-sew adhesive glue stuff, and made a cape. I bought a navy T-shirt and leggings and attached the A for “Super Amanda” to her shirt (although this led to a few guesses that she was Alvin, and this was even before the Chipmunks movie). She wore classes, so I attached her felt mask to her glasses frame. A bow matching the cape string for her ponytail and a dog temporarily playing the part of sidekick Shadow rounded it out.

How about trying a costume based on your children’s favorite literary character this year?

Scholastic Parent and Child magazine is a great resource in general, and especially right now if you are strapped for a creative costume idea for your child.

They offer step-by-step instructions for 6 easy costumes to make at home. Check out these ideas:

  • Captain Underpants
  • Angelina Ballerina
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • and three more!

Check out their article
for all the facts and pictures of each of the costumes.

Would you like to win a set of Halloween themed books targeted to your child’s age (U.S. shipping addresses only)? Just leave a comment here. Tell us about a creative costume you’ve come up with, or if you don’t get creative, tell us what your child is going to dress up as this year. We’ll draw a winner on October 22, so that you’ll get your books in time to enjoy for the season!

Managing Editor Jennifer Donovan is a contributing editor at 5 Minutes for Mom. She has been blogging at Snapshot for over two years.


  1. says

    I’m totally doing that! We’re making my son a Man In The Yellow Hat costume – we have one of those monkey backpacks that we’re going to call George!

  2. says

    We like to borrow costumes around here, especially since I’m due with our 3rd child very soon. My daughter is going to be a skunk and my son is going to be Spiderman. (I know, not original, but very cute nonetheless.)

  3. says

    I’m not very creative at all. Since we don’t do anything extravagant for Halloween, my kids just wear some of the dress-up clothes from their closet.

  4. says

    I would love these! This halloween, my oldest daughter(will be 8 soon) is going to be Nancy Drew; it was actually her idea, and she’s a lot more creative than I am. She’ll be donning Nancy Drew’s fashion(or lack thereof): knee-socks, headband,et al.
    mom bake 3 @ g mail dot com

  5. says

    My boys are going to be Tigger and Eeyore – not intentionally literary characters, but it fits with the theme! I’m just happy my oldest went out of the superhero category this year… though I guess comic book characters could fall into the literary theme too. :) And Tigger is a superhero in his own mind…

  6. says

    When I was in 6th grade, I made my own scarecrow costume using really cute fabrics :-) I haven’t gotten creative with my little ones costumes yet, but I hope to in the coming years.

  7. says

    i hate all the scary costumes and love the idea of being creative, and taking some of our favorite characters. My son will be Chicken Little for his first halloween this year!

  8. says

    Our son was a circus monkey when he was 13 months old. My mother-in-law made him the cutest costume — or so we thought — now it makes us cringe when we realized we posed him as a little monkey in a vest and pillbox hat! He has strong opinions now that he’s older! :)

    Thanks for the contest!

  9. says

    My oldest loves Alice In Wonderland, so she is going as the Queen of Hearts this year! My middle girl loves Peter Pan, so she is going as Tinkerbell. They love to look at their books and imagine themselves as the characters!

  10. says

    When my oldest son [he’ll be 8 on Sunday] was 2, money was tight. I wanted him to have a fun Halloween so I came up with this costume Idea. I put a black long sleeve button up shirt on him and opened the top few buttons. He wore black socks over his sneakers pulled up really high so they looked like boots. I bought him a long sword. The last item was a little container of black face paint. I gave him a deboinair mustache with that and he was Zorro! He was so handsome and got lots of compliments. Sadly, he didn’t win the costume contest-that distinction when to some cookie cutter pre-purchased unimaginative costume. It’s still my favorite, though.

    I love to win these books for my son. He loves to read. He’s in second grade now, but is already reading Charlie Bone. He’s a great kid.

  11. Cindi says

    One of my sons is going as “The Cat in the Hat!” We have a hat from Disneyworld just like his! Got to love him. Thanks for a chance at winning the Halloween books. Cindi

  12. says

    I’m not very creative at all, and my son is just 1 so he doesn’t know anyway. I think I’ll go with the Super Baby idea with his first initial on his shirt. Thanks for that idea!

    I think that link to costume ideas is interesting, but my those look pretty involved for homemade costumes. I’d never make something so involved!

  13. Carol says

    Our little one is going to be a ladybug, a costume her aunt bought for her….no creativity here!

  14. says

    Is it terrible to say that it is mid-October and I have no clue what my children will be for Halloween? Obviously, the holiday isn’t one of utmost importance around here. :-) However, we do have a festival to attend, and the “Little Miss Spider” and “Very Hungry Caterpillar” costumes are absolutely adorable!

  15. Melissa B. says

    For me, being creative means seeing how cheaply I can throw something together. This year, my daughter is wearing my used cat costume with a pair of hand me down heels from a friend of ours. She’ll look great without me spending a dime.

  16. Heather Slater says

    What a fun idea! I’m afraid I’m not very creative though. My kids are Jack Sparrow, Red Power Ranger (or astronaut), Buzz Lightyear and I’m not sure yet about the baby.

  17. Jill L says

    I took a black tutu and put a fuzzy tail on it, then dress my daughter in a black leggings and turtleneck and used kitty ears. She was the most precious kitty cat last year. Now her younger sister wants to be it this year.

  18. says

    Nothing super creative, but we took one of my daughters ballet costumes & she was a doll. We did pig tails, big rosy cheeks, Mary jane shoes. She looked so cute, it was one of my favorite costumes. We have also taken ballet outfits & did fairy. This year my youngest is going to be an angel with a big fluffy white tutu.

  19. Christy H says

    The year I had open-heart surgery (in June) I made Peter Pan and Captain Hook costumes for my 2 youngest sons (I think the morphine helped alot) lol

    One year I made a corn cob costume – it was way cute.

  20. says

    My son is just turning 4 so his halloween costumes have been easy so far (fireman, pirate).

    When I was in 4rth grade, I insisted my mom sew me a potato costume for halloween! The next year she had me wear it again as Mr. Peanut!

  21. Shannon Asbell says

    My daughter is dressing up as a cat this year. Also to Abby- I dressed up as Cyndi Lauper too when I was younger!!

  22. Margaret Smith says

    Thank you so much for this giveaway. Our two oldest is going to be dressed as Doctors. Our younger kids will be a princess (daughter) and a pea (baby). Thanks so much.

  23. Alicia Webster says

    I once went as a marinated tofu stick. My relatives from California wouldn’t have batted an eyelash at this, but my in-laws in Virginia think I am a nutjob.
    Alicia Webster

  24. says

    well in the past i well did make up costumes for my older childern and well one year i had my oldest dressed up as a wicth i had takeing 2 old black skirts and made one in to a dress the other in to acape and it looked so cute and well the other one i did was when i made both my olest and 2nd oldest i put the oldest in a homemade dress that well looked like it was from 1800’s and i also made her a sun bonet and apion and some black boots and her bother i put in to a pair of old landianhoesson’s that i found aat and hand shop and well i gave him my dads old cowboy hat and well thay looked like famers from way back in the day and well thay where cute and this year is my youngest ones frist year out and i have not yet begain to pick her out a costume yet i’m thinking abt makeing her in to a princess but as to what kind? i was thinking abt a fairy pumpkin prencess.

  25. Sandy says

    well we create from old costumes and clothes and my most proud moment was taking my prom dress and pinning and making it a cinderella princess dress with a little pinning

  26. Lindsay says

    My two year old will be a dinosaur this year. Se lucked out finding such a well made costume this year because I’m not crafty in the least!

  27. Dave Creek says

    Our son went as Harry Potter for a few years. He had a set of Spiderman pajamas that he wore out.

  28. Kelly Ann T. says

    Holt wants to be a biker. I can make a fake 5 o’clock shadow and dress up the leather jacket with a iron on Harley logo. I will add a fake tatoo and do-rag. I think he will be cute.

  29. says

    My daughter (6) will no doubt be a ladybug yet again. She just loves the costume, and I’m dreading the day she outgrows it! Love the literary idea, though at the moment her favorite character is Ramona Quimby and I’m not sure how we’d pull that off!

  30. Jaclyn Reynolds says

    Cool Contest!! My kids are using dress up costumes we already have so I’m thinking we’ll have a wonder woman or princess, and a spiderman or star wars guy, plus a little power ranger!

  31. Lori Z. says

    My daughter is going to be a witch. She always wanted to be a witch, so I got a costume at a consignment sale. We then made her broom to be like the broom in the book Room on the Broom. She’s even got a “fish bowl” hanging off of it!

  32. Leah says

    We’re dressing our ds up as a pirate because he soooo loves to say “AAAARGH” and splash around in the bath! : )))


  33. Jessica Verdin says

    My creativity no longer takes precedence. My son has spoken, and he wants to be Batman.

  34. Tricia Andrews says

    My 4 year old daughter gets to choose her costume this year. And she wants to be Cinderella from the Disney books we read over and over and over and over……….

  35. Christina says

    The past few years I have made costumes for our 3 kids. Last year they went with a Star Wars theme, but my favorite was the year they went dressed as Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Tinkerbell. So cute!!!

  36. says

    My son was once invited to a last minute Halloween party and I didn’t have a costume so I cut a neck and armholes in a large green trashbag and decorated it with trash. It sounds awful, but it was really cute!

  37. says

    I can’t sew worth a darn so that limits my being able to make costumes but my kids are going out this year as a horse and a dinosaur :-)

  38. Belinda P says

    My 4 year old son is going to be a pirate and I also found a pirate costume for my 1 year old son. I think they are going to look so cute together. Thanks

  39. lisalou says

    i would love the books! i teach, and my youngest is going as a hippie this year…patched jeans, tie-dye scarf in her hair, peasant blouse, and a sign made from a pizza box & a yardstick, that says

  40. Tania Edwards says

    I’m not generally very crafty but one year I made an Indian costume out of felt and it was awesome.

    This post actually reminded me that I lent it to someone…, if I could only remember who that was!

  41. Tamara Bennington says

    I am not talented enough to sew so I always buy the costumes at Party City. My daughter is going to be a lady pirate and my son hasn’t decided yet.

  42. Debra Huffstutter says

    My child wanted ONLY to dress up as a “blue princess” this year – not Cinderella or Snow White but a “blue princess.” After many trips to find a costume at thrift stores & new ones, she finally decided last night to be Mini Mouse.
    I’m thrilled!!!!!

  43. Clifton Wade says

    My lovely and wonderful wife of more than 38 years always goes in character – she is a witch.
    Thank you for this great contest and prize!

  44. karen c. says

    I’ve been obsessing about what my baby will be for Halloween for the past two months now. I really wanted him to be a cuddly monster but couldn’t find any monster costumes anywhere and didn’t think I could make something that fancy. Finally I resigned myself to the idea of him being a rockstar, thinking I could make him something for that. We went shopping yesterday to buy the supplies and before we could, we found an awesome monster costume. I am so excited now!

  45. Heather Wallace says

    My children are going to be Batman Dark Knight and Wonder Woman. It’s pretty cute to see my little superheroes!

  46. says

    My daughter has 2 costumes to wear this year, one for a halloween party and one for halloween. she is going to be a ballerina with tutu, and a pink butterfly superhero! Great giveaway, thanks.

  47. Terra Heck says

    Unfortunately, I’m not very creative. My 10 year old son is going as the grim reaper, 9 year old son is going as a zombie doctor, and 6 year old daughter is going as Sleeping Beauty.

  48. Tari Lawson says

    The most creative costume I made was a “transformer”. The costume was at the request of my son who was into the toys (long before the current movie). It was a hawk tranformer and I made it so the costume actually transformed. If I do say so myself, the costume was quite cool 😉

  49. Diane F says

    My son is going to be Commander Fox clone trooper and My daughter is going to be a punk rocker.

  50. Shirley says

    My daughter couldn’t decide between her cheerleader uniform and her karate uniform. This year she is going as a YELLOW BELT CHEERLEADER.

  51. says

    When my daughter was 1 I made her a bag of jelly beans costume! It was sheer netting that I made my own “super sweet jelly beans” label for and put her in and filled with balloons. It tied at her neck and had a big bow!

  52. Angie Brady says

    I have four year old triplets. The boys are dressing up as the incredible hulk and spider man and my daughter is going to be a princess.

  53. judy brittle says

    I have 9 grandchildren and we are going to have a variety of Barbie,Transformers,Spider Man,Princess,
    Ladybug and I forget all the others but I will get pictures. Thank you for the chance.

  54. oona b says

    My five year old daughter is going to be a peacock! She always comes up with elaborate ideas!

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  55. Candie L says

    I think the most creative costume was when my husband my the youngest boy a lion costume. We had the lion mask (cloth mask from Dollar tree). He sewed a lion outfit out of fur for the body and put a tail on it. It looked pretty good

  56. Renee C. says

    My daughter is currently at the age where she REALLY wants to pick her own costume. She is going to be a very tween (she’s 10)Goldilocks. My son is a skeleton (he’s 8) but only because his favorite Pokemon and/or Bakugan characters were not in MY reportoire creatively.

  57. Kayla says

    My daughter is going to be glinda the good witch this year and I started two months ago on her costume..

  58. Sherry R says

    No creative costumes – but this year I have a baby turtle, Spiderman, a Princess Pirate and the scariest of them all – Hannah Montana!

  59. Linda Moeller says

    These would be so cool to win leading up to Halloween.
    I think Frankenstein is still a great costume.

  60. Sarah Hirsch says

    I don’t so much get creative. I let my children dictate what they want to be for Halloween. This year my littlest one is going to be Elvis, as he loves the King’s music.

  61. Ashley says

    My son is going to be dressed up as a monkey. This will probably be the last year that I get to decide what he’ll be wearing.

  62. Suzie says

    For my daughters first Halloween my mom made her a pink dragon costume. She had shiney silver wings and when we took her trick or treating, a random person asked if they could take a picture of her because she was so cute.

  63. Paula Harmon says

    WELL, I have a really creative idea, but my kids won’t do it. I wanted everyone in our family to be a BEE. (for the dissappearing bees). Then when we walk around together we would be a swarm.
    But my kids are too cool for this. They want to be Slash and Axl from Guns N Roses, my 6 yr. old boy wants to be Skelebones, and my 3 yr. old daughter wants to be a cowBOY NOT a cowGIRL. Then I will be what I am every year (who’s got money after all those costumes) a giant yellow crayola crayon. But my dog-she will be a BEE. I have to make it for her, but she has no choice!
    She will be the voice for the dissappearing bees!

  64. Tesa S. says

    My son decided he wants black angel wings and a reaper’s outfit, so I guess he’ll be the angel of death, or something to that effect! I once dressed in a bridesmaid dress (at least I wore it more than just once), had a tiara and a large stuffed frog. I carried him around all night kissing him – YET – he never turned into a PRINCE!!!

  65. Jodene Gildea says

    I am so not creative when it comes to costumes – decorations and crafts yes, sewing nope. My daughter is going to be a cheerleader for the 3rd year in a row.

  66. Amy W says

    We always just buy our Halloween costumes. This year my son is going to be a monkey courtesy of Old Navy!


  67. Paula H says

    My daughter went as Peppi Longstocking one year. I braided her hair and used pipe cleaners to make the braids stand out.

  68. Vicki Wurgler says

    we exchange costumes with the relatives-this year the boys will be batman and spiderman

  69. says

    I found a partial cowboy costume at the resale shop and my son thought it looked like Indiana Jones, so with the addition of a whip…voila, Indiana Jones for under $10.00!

  70. Lenette Hussey says

    not being too creative this year. I have three girls so it’s pretty much Princesses for awhile now. My oldest is going to be Pocahontas, middle child-Cinderella, and the baby girl is going to be a little golfer! totally going to be cute!

  71. Casey Becher says

    I made my twins into a package of Twinkies for their first Halloween. I put them in yellow sack pj’s, then put them into their double stroller. I got some plastic sheeting and drew on the Twinkie logo then put that across the front.

  72. Jennifer I says

    We made my daughter an Egyptian princess last year, bought Egyptian traditional jewelry online and sewed the costume ourselves.

  73. Brooke says

    Princess Alien… shirt or leotard and some gaucho pants… Then some beautiful weird makeup designs and BAM for 5 dollars of makeup a Princess Alien… wiicked13 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  74. says

    Well, my son is going as the frog prince and my daughter was supposed to be the princess but now decided that she’d rather be a penguin!

  75. Jennifer says

    Last Year we were invited to a last minute halloween party and I hadn’t had time to get my daughter a costume yet. So we took her white sweatsuit and colored black rings around it, and I colored a styrophome craft ball silver and tied it around her leg and she was a prisoner/chain gang member…awful I know, but it turned out really cute, and she ended up wanting to be that for halloween night, so it was cheap also.

  76. Jennifer M says

    We bought a ladybug costume for her last November so it was on clearance and will fit her this year.

  77. Carol M, PA says

    our young one is going as a lady bug this year. Bringing us a lot of luck for the upcoming year hopefully.

  78. susan p says

    my son just got a bob the builder playset for his bday so I might just put overalls on him and he’ll be bob the builder. thanks.

  79. Becky Grayson says

    One year I made a costume for my oldest son. He was a care bear. This was when they first came out. I worked so hard on that costume (all that fur material UGH) and he still pulls out the picture from time to time to laugh at how cute he looked LOL. He now has four kiddos of his own. They are going as Cinderella, Snow White, Ironman and Ghost Rider.

    Thanks for the contest and the memories.

  80. Crystal F says

    I’ very uncreative (lol) so my 4 yr. old and 8 yr. old are going as Little Bo Peep. They wanted to wear matching costumes and I was lucky enough to find the perfect one. Thank you for the great giveaway!

  81. Terri L says

    My kids don’t like creative costumes. They love the costumes at the store! This year my son is an alien and my daughter is a vampiress.

  82. Tonia Rowe says

    My mother in law can sew so that allows me to be creative. Last year my daughter was a Renaissance Princess and this year she will be Laura Ingalls.

  83. Rebecca Peters says

    My daughter really wanted to be tinkerbell for halloween this year so thats what I got her..I’m still not sure about my son..probably superman or a pumpkin

  84. Talitha Lee says

    My mom is the one who usually makes the kids costumes. The best ones were the dragon costumes she made a few years ago. We went trick-or-treating with a friend of mine who my mom had also made a costume for so we had 3 little dragons. It was really cute. Thanks for the contest!

  85. Roberta F. says

    My son is 3 and adamant that he doen’t want to dress up, so I have srlurged on a big chicken costume – hilarios. Not creative, I know – but funny.

  86. stevie says

    I have made a Robot costume for my boy, with a large box, and some buttons and lids form dishsoap bottles. he loves it, but by the time Halloween comes, I think it will be wrecked.

  87. rebecca says

    Hi and thanks for such a great giveaway. I haven’t made a costume this year as I was frugal and got one in the sale LAST year. (I know, I’m so tight). But, we are hosting a big halloween paty and I’ve been creative with decorations from black tulle and orange cards.

  88. Veronica Szymankiewicz says

    Hello. This year we are dressing our 15 month old as Darth Vader. We love it all the more because his name is Lukas and we can say, “Luke, I am your father”.

  89. Jennifer Schroeder says

    I’m not a very creative person, so we usually buy costumes every year. This year I am running really late because I haven’t bought my kids their cotumes yet!

  90. Rosanne Morrison says

    One of my sons made a fly costume out of some old black clothes and 2 strainers for eyes

  91. Viva says

    My son will be a robot. We’re using all recycled items…boxes, light up toys, plastic caps that we’re painting and adding on to the costume. It’s a bit of work, but worth it. Thanks for the chance!

  92. Tricia says

    I am not really creative when it comes to costumes however, I have a tradition I am following this year for my 2 year old son.My oldest child is now 12 and when he was 2 I bought him a Pooh costume from The Disney Store.I held on to that costume and 4 years later, when my daughter was 2, she wore the Pooh costume. Now, my 3rd and final child will be wearing the same Pooh costume that his brother and sister wore. Even though it has been 10 years since I bought that costume, I don’t think it will ever go out of style and it still looks just as good as it did 10 years ago.I have taken pictures of my other 2 children in this costume and I will be taking a picture of my youngest in it so I can make a little collage photo. And who knows, maybe some day, 1 of my grandchildren could be wearing it.

  93. sharon martinez says

    My granddaughter who is 4 just watched the Wizard of Oz for the first time. Now she is obsessed with Dorothy, she she did get a Sparkly Dorothy costume, her Mom is going as the scarecrow and her Dad is the Tin man. I think I am goig to be forced to be the Lion LOL . I care for her everyday, and we have started to read the oringinal Wizard of Oz book . Thank you for a great contest

  94. Anne says

    This halloween my daughter is going to be Wonder Woman and our son is going to be Superman. we ran out of time to be creative this year so we are planning next years already….a lion tamer and a circus lion. we have already started drawing up the idea book!!

  95. Heather C says

    I dressed my girl up as girl in bubblebath. We made ‘bubbles’ out of balloons, a bathtub out of a box and white poster board, had her in a shower cap, etc. It was fun, and people loved it.