CBCA Book Week 2017: Escape to Everywhere is coming – does that thrill you or are you already panicking about having to costume up? Do you think you can get away with sending your kid as “Andy Griffiths” for another year running? Andy likes Converse sneakers and jeans, by the way.
Or maybe it’s time to let your creativity flow and truly take inspiration from the books your child is loving right now. There is something rather special about honouring a favourite character during Book Week 2017, perhaps even becoming that favourite character for the day. When else will your child get to dramatically swirl his robes around as he enters the school playground (ala Quinn from The Mapmaker Chronicles) or practise wiggling her giant ears as the BFG? Never, that’s when. The time is NOW.
I took my cue for Book Week costume ideas from Dymocks current “Top 51 Kids’ Books”, the books kids told us they liked the very best. I edited the list to pick the books that best suit the age group who are usually asked to participate in Book Week parades, but I did sneak a couple of ‘junior’ books and other favourites in there, too. We couldn’t possibly leave off the Wally, or the Crayons or the Snugglepies.
Enjoy finding your Book Week costume inspiration here and remember, keep it as a simple and fun project to do together, not a burden that you slog through the night working on by yourself. Your kid will love helping to create the costume the most.
Book Week Costume Ideas from Kids’ Favourite Books
1. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
If you want to DIY, there are loads of tutorials to choose from, but some of my favourites are:
- DIY Robe for kids from an adult t-shirt by My Mommy Style
- Make your own stripy ties by Lemon Squeezy Home
- Realistic wands by Boxy Colonial
- Easy House Scarves by Pieces of Polly
- Printable glasses by East Coast Mommy
You can download and print the house crests via Damn Good Shindig to attach to robes, books or even just to make a sign.
2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Image: My Crunchy Life
A gorgeous book like The Very Hungry Caterpillar deserves a gorgeous costume. For this one you can go green caterpillar, or get your colour on to create the beautiful butterfly. There are sewing instructions for both at My Crunchy Life and instructions for a caterpillar costume at The Craft Nest.
It’s easy enough to make a caterpillar costume out of cardboard as well. Cut circles from alternate light and green cardboard and string them together. Add some red cardboard as a headband, glue on some yellow and green eyes then add purple pipe cleaners for antennae.
3. Matilda by Roald Dahl
A character like Matilda is an easy one to DIY at home. A smart pinafore dress with a white shirt underneath, folded crew socks and a pair of Mary Jane school shoes will do the trick. If you can’t find a dress to repurpose, a pinafore-style dress can be pretty easy to make. Try this Pretty Prudent tutorial for making a dress out of a pillow case. Don’t forget the stack of books (wrap them with thick string to keep them together).
4. The BFG by Roald Dahl
There’s a free set of DIY giant ears included with the latest edition of The BFG, but you can also make a set using paper plates. Add a waistcoat and take a Barbie Doll along to be your Sophie companion.
5. Treehouse Series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Image: Becky Piesky
Tempting though it is to dress the kids in mufti and send them along as Andy and Terry, the Treehouse Series offers loads of characters that are fun to recreate. Check out Silky the Flying Cat and Mr Big Nose from Becky Piesky in the image above.
Other Treehouse characters to consider are:
- Captain Woodenhead
- The Trunkinator
- Professor Stupido
- Edward Scooperhands
6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games is a older-primary school phenomenon. Going dressed as Katniss or Peeta might entice a reluctant older kid to participate. Dress in all black with a chunky pair of boots, a gold medallion and a toy bow and arrow set. If you can’t find a toy bow and arrow set, add a string to a bent stick then put a handful of sticks into a black backpack and you’re good to go.
7. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
A character-driven story like The Magic Faraway Tree is just crying out for a Book Week costume. I’ve found inspiration galore from one end of the blogs to the other. Try these character ideas:
- Woodland Fairy Costume for Silky from Make It & Love It
- Saucepan Man is lots of fun to put together
- A bright yellow moon hat can make a great Moonface.
- Make a fairy costume for The Angry Pixie and just remind your child to be grumpy all day
8. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
It’s so wonderful that a book like The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas makes the ‘best loved’ list for kids. One for older primary kids to honour, all you need are a pair of striped pyjamas.
(Edit from Megan: Despite this being a book character who many readers young and old identify with, when choosing to dress as a historical figure, please remain sensitive to the feelings that can surround historical events portrayed in fiction.)
9. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Image: Tell Love and Party
Max’s all over the country love to rock up to Book Week as… Max. If you want to get a little more inventive with your Where the Wild Things Are costume, check out this tutorial from Tell Love and Party for making a Max and a monster costume.
The Max outfit is adorable, but older kids will probably prefer to go as the monster.
10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Greg from Diary of a Wimpy Kid is an iconic character for kids everywhere. There’s a tutorial to make a Greg costume at Renovation Bay-Bee or you could just pop your kid in a white t-shirt, black shorts, white socks and their school shoes and call it a day.
11. The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events Book #1) by Lemony Snicket
There’s something a little steampunk about Lemony Snicket’s much-loved A Series of Unfortunate Events, so it’s a fun one to dress up for. Think frock coats (or your jacket, pulled in with a belt), ankle-length skirts, vests and lace. If you can get your hands on a pocket watch, top hat, aviator goggles or a bionic arm, all the better.
12. Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley
The Jackie French classic Diary of a Wombat is a must-do for Book Week at least once in a kid’s life. A wombat is not the easiest of creatures to emulate, but the gals at Paging Fun Mums came up with this great way of paying homage to the book without having to tell everyone you’re a wombat all day. Have a go with your own old umbrella and wombat softie.
Mother Natured has also got a great printable wombat mask to download.
13. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
Image: Wee Birdy
Is it even Book Week if no one shows up as Paddington Bear? The duffle coat and suitcase are a must (but you can always lightly sew some rope onto an existing coat). See how Wee Birdy put together this gorgeous costume at the last minute.
14. Wombat Stew by Marcia Vaughan and Pamela Lofts (Illustrator)
15. Where’s Wally? by Martin Handford
Every Book Week parade has some kid in a stripy shirt and round glasses looking lost in the crowd. There’s good reason for that – not only is Where’s Wally? a perennial favourite children’s book, the costume is dead-easy. Especially if you’re a Swannies fan.
16. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
Image: The House That Lars Built
Preschool kids are more likely to go for a The Day the Crayons Quit costume, but younger primary kids will also be into it.
Team up with some buddies and create a colourful crayon box like the kids from The House of Lars did (see picture above). There are full instructions on the blog to make your own. Of course, you can still make the costume and go solo.
17. Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda
Lief, Jasmine, Kree and Filli provide loads of inspiration for a cool Deltora Quest tribute. It’s time to bring out the flowing robes, wooden swords (check your school is okay with a sword prop) and, of course, the Belt of Deltora.
18. The Mapmaker Chronicles by A.L. Tait
Image: Allison Tait
Take the flowing robes and wooden sword from your Deltora Quest costume, change the belt to a fancy leather one and you’ve got yourself a brilliant Quinn or Ash from The Mapmaker Chronicles costume. You can see how fantastic the kids can look and, let’s face it, a cloak makes every costume memorable. You can find loads more great ideas here.
19. Gangsta Granny by David Walliams
A Gangsta Granny costume would be a hoot. I’m imagining a group of Year 6 boys all getting their hilarious granny on (these will be the same boys who front up in drag for the Law Revue in later years). Combine some old lady clothes (think cardis, knee length skirts and knee-high stockings) with a cheeky burglar’s black mask. Of course, they can always chicken out and go as Ben instead…
20. Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
Tomorrow, When the War Began is another ‘mufti’ option for older kids who kinda-sorta do-don’t want to participate. Deck them out in jeans and boots, add a bit of smeared face dirt and definitely no ironing.
21. The Compete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs
I rely on a family bringing The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie along to the parade. Every year it is just so cute to see little faces topped with gumnut hats and rosy cheeks. Katrina from The Organised Housewife crocheted a little gumnut hat out of brown wool (she also made a green tulle ‘leaf’ skirt) – find instructions on her blog.
Image: Mouths of Mums
There are instructions to make this sweet gumnut baby costume over on Mouths of Mums. I love the added eyelashes. It’s really not that hard and totally worth it, don’t you think?
22. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Image: Make It Love It
I once made a Minecraft Endodragon out of boxes and crepe paper – dragons are not as hard as they look, I promise. You could do a similar box/crepe paper job for a How to Train Your Dragon dragon costume (instructions here).
Or you could just convince your kid to go as a Trainer like Hiccup (see the excellent DIY Tutorial instructions on Make It Love It). Either way, you’re going to have one very happy, very playful child to send off to school.
23. Alice-Miranda at School by Jacqueline Harvey
Two things to love about Alice-Miranda at School: one,your daughter could just wear her school uniform and she’s good to go and two, she might actually keep her socks up for a change. That’s pretty much all we need to know about honouring the quirky, funny, loveable Alice-Miranda. Of course, if your child is not at all interested in making things very, very easy for her mum, by all means pick one of the other Alice-Miranda books for inspiration. I’m rather partial to sending a little French girl off in a beret (Alice-Miranda In Paris) or packing her bags full of camping equipment (Alice-Miranda at Camp). The covers provide all the inspiration you need.
Enjoy Book Week, however much you get into it! (You’ll find more Book Week costume ideas here!)
Oh My Giddy Aunt offers all Children’s Books Daily readers a free sterling silver ‘lucky dip’ charm with the code ‘childrensbooksdaily’.Booktopia. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases.If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here. Purchases clicked through from the Children’s Books Daily site result in a small commission. Commission is used in part to maintain Children’s Books Daily and to support community groups which connect children with books.