book themed halloween costumes (sometimes)

So… last post I mentioned my bright idea to have the girls pick Halloween costumes based on their favorite books. I thought it seemed like a good idea because it felt a little more creative than just your average witch or pumpkin or fuzzy animal (we’ve been all three of those as well). And it was (and is) a good idea – I’ve just stayed more flexible when they’ve decided to be a Lego or a hot air balloon (???) or the sidekick deer to Artemis. 

When they have gone along with the literary theme, it’s been a lot of fun. 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – we transformed regular butterfly wings with tissue paper to match the book’s illustration.

Curious George – we bought a ready made monkey costume and I made George’s newspaper bag to match.


Hermione, and a slightly more colorful Hedwig owl.


I suppose even Artemis could be considered book inspired – we have several volumes of Greek myths on the shelves that are dogeared.


So I was pretty excited when F announced that she wanted to be Ladybug Girl this year – another book inspired costume.

She’s been wearing the components for awhile now, but we had to get a few of the basics to round it out.


We’re still in a bit of a battle over the black tights because Ladybug Girl does not wear tights, but trick-or-treaters do – unless this warm weather keeps up, I guess.
E, on the other hand, is not going as a book character. One year she wanted to go as Jane Penderwick, but after I finally convinced her that her favorite book characters look a lot like she does on an ordinary day, she gave up that plan. This year she’s sticking to the birthday theme, and going as a gum ball machine. We have a bit more work to do on this one.

We’re going to reuse a red apron, layer it over a red turtleneck and some red and white polka dot jeans she already has. We’re on the hunt for two clear plastic bowls, a small one and a large one, to nest either giant (real) gumballs or maybe multi-colored ping pong or bouncy balls between. Then we’ll affix it to the apron, and add felt details for the gumball slot and coin receptor. And of course, a red beret to cap the whole thing off.
We’re 50/50 on the literary themes this year, but we’re 100% on the red theme. I love this part of October – planning, scheming and putting it all together.

10 Responses to book themed halloween costumes (sometimes)

  1. Love the ladybug girl costume! Can you share where you found the wings, tutu and boots?

  2. The Very Hungry Butterfly costume is adorable! Do you have a tutorial on how to make the wings? Love!!!

    • I don’t – I’m sorry! It wasn’t very difficult though. I bought a very inexpensive set of fairy wings at a local halloween shop, and then I bent the wires to get a little closer to the shape of the Eric Carle butterfly. If you stretched your own wires to form the wings, you could probably make them a little closer to the shape in the book – then stretch nylons over them for the base. I worked with my oldest daughter on this – she was just two, but was pretty patient with crafts. I cut tissue paper in shapes and she glued, with some direction. It’s pretty sticky in process, but dries quickly. Just open to the butterfly page of the book and start layering, keeping the lighter colors, like the yellows and reds til the end.

  3. Thank you! That was actually very helpful! 🙂

    • You’re welcome! If I had been really with it, I would have bought some black elastic and swapped it out for the white elastic that came with the cheap wings – when I look back at the pictures I just see those white bands across her black shirt.

      The caterpillar really helped “sell” the costume, so if you have one, or ask around to borrow one, it was a really cute accessory. My daughter LOVED her caterpillar, which is where the costume idea came from. It was funny how many little, little kids made the connection between the caterpillar and the butterfly from the book.

  4. I didn’t even notice the white elastic until you mentioned it – if that makes a difference! 😉 It’s funny you mentioned having the caterpillar as an accessory to make the costume more recognizable. My 2.5 year old daughter is going to be the butterfly. Her 4 mo old baby sister is going to be the caterpillar! 🙂 Thanks again for your help. I’ve got a new blog subscriber in me! 🙂

    • I love it. That sounds adorable. My oldest daughter wants to be a garden gnome, and she’s trying to convince the little one to be a mushroom, but it’s not working. She’s set on the super-original Elsa!

      We did have two years of matching themed costumes though… they are so fun.

  5. Thanks for posting this! My son is almost 3 and he’s not a fan of most costumes. He’s going to be the caterpillar with green pajamas and a red beanie with felt eyes sewed on/ pipe cleaner antennae. I’m working on basting on little feet along the sides. My daughter just turned one and she’s going to be the beautiful butterfly. She has yellow pajamas and a smaller red beanie with felt eyes/antennae, but I’m trying to figure out how to make her fairy wings into the butterfly. Did you use elmer’s glue or something else? Thanks!

    • Abby – those sound like really cute ideas!

      We used Sobo glue, probably just because it’s a little bit thicker craft glue than Elmer’s, but still just a white glue that dries clear. The netting on our fairy wings were like pantyhose, so I think we probably put down wax paper first. The glue does go through the mesh-y material, and even the tissue paper to a certain degree. But you can almost work on both sides at the same time, if that makes any sense. We used an old paintbrush to brush the glue on. It’s sticky!

      Good luck!

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