12+ NEW Fun #DIY #kidlit Character Costumes for Halloween or Book Character Dress-up Day!

Who’s ready for some new #DIY costume ideas?

If you’ve read DEAR EARTH…From Your Friends in Room 5 (Harper Collins / Illus. Luisa Uribe), you know I’m all about costumes pulled together from repurposed and upcycled materials.

Interior art by Luisa Uribe from
DEAR EARTH…From Your Friends in Room 5

Whether you’re celebrating Book Character Day or getting ready to Trick or Treat (or need an easy, comfortable BOOKcentric costume for your classroom, dear Teachers) here are 12+ #kidlit costume ideas from some awesome middle grade and picture books to inspire you.

PS I’m including Twitter handles with each book so you can connect with the authors & illustrators. Feel free to read ~ buy ~ check out ~ request ~ and share these terrific books too!

  1. BEATRICE BLY’S RULES FOR SPIES by Sue Fliess | Illus. Beth Mills | Pixel + Ink

Move over, Nancy Drew–How fun & easy would it be to dress up as Beatrice Bly, super spy (in-training)? Beatrice Bly must rely on her sleuthing skills when the class hamster goes missing. I’m betting most of these items might already be in your child’s (or your) room. (I was going to say closet, but let’s be real here.) And who doesn’t like to dress as a spy? Tag @SueFliess on Twitter if you do!

2. NONSENSE! THE CURIOUS STORY OF EDWARD GOREY by Lori Mortensen | Illus. Chloe Bristol | Versify

For those who like to dress-up as “real” people, author/artist Edward Gorey is as creepily quirky and fun as it gets. (It is said Gorey’s art inspired Tim Burton’s THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Muahaha!) I can see kids–or grown-ups–borrowing the mismatched costume pieces they need for this from Grandpa. (Extra points if you own them yourself!) Bristol’s interior illustrations will give you more ideas as well. Twitter Tag: @LoriMortensen

3. GEEGER THE ROBOT by Jarett Lerner / Serge Seidlitz | Aladdin

YES! Geeger‘s costume can be repurposed from those carboard boxes you were going to recycle. (You WERE going to recycle them, right?) . You may have noticed that Lost and Found is also about a lost class pet, but I chose Lerner’s second book in this early chapter book series because the cover gives you a good view of Geeger. Extra points if you carry a hamster around with you too… Twitter tag: @Jarrett_Lerner

4. THE STORY OF AMELIA EARHART by Stacia Deutsch | Illus. Pearl Law | Rockridge Press

How easy would it be to dress-up as Amelia Earhart? (Probably a LOT easier than it was to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean–right?) Amelia Earhart’s life–and this chapter book bio by Stacia Deutsch–is full of adventure and mystery. More illustrations inside by Pearl Law will give you added inspiration. Twitter: @staciadeutsch

5. ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE SAY GOODNIGHT by Lauren Kerstein | Illus. Nate Wragg | Two Lions

I’m not saying that dressing up as Rosie the Dragon would be easy–but go for it if you are inspired. I was looking at Charlie‘s outfit–including the CAPE– from this interior spread illustrated by Nate Wragg:

Of course, if you have a pet dragon to carry around, I’m betting Rosie would be happy too.

Lauren’s Twitter: @LaurenKerstein

6. THE SCRUMPTIOUS LIFE OF AZALEAH LANE by Nikki Shannon Smith | Illus. Gloria Felix | Capstone

I LOVE all the books in this chapter book series about Azaleah and her amazing life in Washington D.C., but how easy would it be to borrow an apron (Go ask Grandma!) and FUN to put your hair in those cute puffs like Azaleah Lane? Extra points for carrying a bowl and wooden spoon. Even MORE points for reading the books! Twitter: @nikki2smith

7. JACK HORNER, DINOSAUR HUNTER by Sophia Gholz | Illus. Dave Shephard | Sleeping Bear

Backpack? (check) Blue jeans? (check) Plaid shirt? (You know you can find one!) Look how easy it would be to dress-up as the young paleontologist, Jack Horner. You know–the one who grew up to work on (and inspire a character from) Jurassic Park? And did you know he overcame some learning issues to follow his dreams? Twitter: @sophiagholz

8. BARTALI’S BICYCLE by Megan E. Hoyt | Illus. Iacopo Bruno | Quill Tree Books

Even if you don’t have a cyclist in the family, how cool would it be to dress up as Italian hero, Gino Bartali, who not only won the Tour de France, but secretly worked with the Italian Resistance in WII to help save the lives of hundreds of Jewish men, women, and children? Extra points for riding your bike that day… (and reading this fascinating picture book biography–of course!) Megan’s Twitter: @meganhoytwrites

9. ISABEL AND HER COLORES GO TO SCHOOL by Alexandra Alessandri | Illus. Courtney Dawson | Sleeping Bear

Be sure to add the daisy in your hair, and a box of colored markers, when you dress-up as Isabel, the star of this wonderful bilingual picture book. And what if you could learn to speak in both Spanish and English–like Isabel? Plus, isn’t her outfit cute???? Alexandra’s Twitter: @apalessandri

10. JASMINE TOGUCHI –MOCHI QUEEN by Debbi Michiko Florence | Illus. Elizabeth Vukovic | Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Wouldn’t it be fun to pair a tutu + sneakers + crown like Jasmine Toguchi does on the cover of book 1 in this cool chapter book series? (Fun facts: I had big sister issues, and LOVED climbing trees like Jasmine when I was a kid.) Extra points if you learn how to make mochi, a YUMMY sticky rice dessert! Twitter: @DebbiMichiko

11. COUNTING ON KATHERINE by Helaine Becker | Illus. Dow Phumiruk | Henry Holt & Co.

Katherine Johnson was a mathematician who worked for NASA during the space race (and was depicted in the film Hidden Figures.) Look how easy it would be to dress-up as young Katherine! Extra points for carrying a picture of the historic Apollo 13 moon landing–or maybe a slide rule. <—( Look it up!)

Twitter tags: @DowPhumiruk @helainebecker

12. EENIE MEENIE HALLOWEENIE by Susan Eaddy | Illus. Lucy Fleming |

I’ve added this wonderful picture book here because it’s all about repurposing and upcycling things from your room (or closet!) to create fun costumes for Halloween, or dress-up any time of year. It’s FULL of #DIY ideas you can pull together easily with a little imagination and a LOT of fun. Plus–did you know you’ll be helping EARTH as well?

Twitter: @EaddySusan

Speaking of which, if you want to read about other kids who are finding ways to help our planet, check out this FREE READ-ALOUD on Harper Collins’ YouTube channel: DEAR EARTH…From Your Friends in Room 5 ( Erin Dealey | Illus. Luisa Uribe | Harper Collins), or–read the book. : )

Last but not least:

Authors & Illustrators LOVE it

when you dress up as characters from our books.

Be sure to take a picture if you do, and share it with them.

Tag me too, on Twitter @erindealey, Instagram or FB.

DEAR EARTH’s Illustrator Luisa Uribe’s Twitter: @lupencita

Have FUN!

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