There are few things that make me nostalgic for childhood like Halloween nights. Rushing home from school, pulling on my itchy, polyester costume with the eye holes I could never see out of, and gleefully accepting candy from my neighbors. Too many of these nights ended my siblings and I passing out in a sugar-coma heap on the living room floor with a scary movie on the TV.
The costume was definitely my favorite part of the holiday. Fortunately for grown book nerds, our favorite fictional characters can become easy, fun, DIY costumes for our own littles. In honor of Halloween and all things pumpkin, here are 11 of my favorite literary costumes for Halloween.
Wild Thing (Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak)
Forget Max. Let the wild rumpus begin by dressing your babe as an actual wild thing! Nothing like a monster for Halloween, especially when it has a book connection, too.
Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien)
Furry feet, tiny green vest, and lots of room for second breakfasts make for a great Bilbo Baggins. The Hobbit is one of the most magical books ever written and bringing it to life for Halloween is even better.
Madeline (Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans)
“And the smallest one… was Madeline.” Have a little girl who could really rock a blue dress and a giant yellow hat? Then you have one of the bravest, most darling characters in literature ready to rack up the tiny Snickers bars. Have someone dress as Miss Clavel to really set the scene.
Olivia (Olivia, by Ian Falconer)
Our favorite precocious pig, Olivia, deserves to be recognized on Halloween night! With a red dress, pig ears, and sweet pig nose, this costume is also easy to put together and cute as can be.
Paperback $8.79 | $10.99
Dobby (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling)
OK, he may not be the biggest character in the book, but he’s certainly one of the best and would make for an excellent costume. Dobby the elf is loyal as can be, and dressing as him only requires a couch cushion and one sock. (All right, maybe two, depending on how cold it is out there. Full authenticity is not required.)
Paperback $7.16 | $7.99
Alexander (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst)
Blue pajamas, messy red hair, and the cutest scowl possible create the ultimate costume as Alexander from the childhood classic. This is an especially easy costume for the tiniest member of your family.
Babar (The Story of Babar, by Jean de Brunhoff)
Arguably the most famous elephant in literature, Babar is the perfect costume idea for your little ones. And come on, it doesn’t get much cuter than a green suit and a tiny crown with elephant ears and an elephant trunk. (Seriously, I don’t think it does.)
Captain Underpants (The Adventures of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey)
If your superhero-loving kiddo is looking for chapter book inspiration, Captain Underpants is a great choice. Plus, it’s another costume that can be put together easily with items you have on hand (unless it’s laundry day).
The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum)
A book the whole family can dress up from, this wonderful classic makes for tons of sweet costumes. Siblings can make up the Yellow Brick Road trio, or the Wicked Witch of the West can stand alone and hope it doesn’t rain that night.
Mr. Twit (The Twits, by Roald Dahl)
I’ll never forget reading this book and finding the illustration that showed all of the things in Mr. Twit’s beard, including a piece of cornflake and some tinned salmon. Your kids will love creating this utterly disgusting costume accessory and then living it up as Mr. Twit for a night.
Corduroy (Corduroy, by Don Freeman)
Another lovely choice for the baby of the family, Corduroy is an easy costume which requires only a green pair of overalls and some charming little bear ears. Put a little black makeup on the nose for the perfect teddy bear face, and fall over from cuteness. (And then get back up, those Reese’s pumpkins aren’t going to eat themselves.)