Costume Party: Different generations enjoy storybook-inspired Halloween

Issue: 
October 2012

When my sister and I were kids, my mother always made our Halloween costumes. With some fabric and thread, she would transform us into matching mermaids with tinsel wigs and scaled tails; or a princess riding a batting-stuffed, polka-dotted horse; or a baby caterpillar with six dangling, pillow-stuffed legs; or even an alien with an outfit made out of industrial metallic bubble wrap. Her creations were always one-of-a-kind. 

But to me, the most memorable costumes she made were the ones that referenced our favorite storybooks. One Halloween, our neighborhood bookstore had a storybook character costume contest. Of course she wanted to enter us.  

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle was my favorite book at the time, and I wanted to be the beautiful butterfly at the end of the book. So my mother painted a Monarch butterfly pattern on the outside of two large pieces of cushion foam and I painted the inside. I wore my favorite red canvas Keds covered in white polka dots, and a headband with dangling antenna. My sister was dressed as Mary Poppins in an old coat and flower-embellished rounded hat carrying an embroidered handbag stuffed with a duck-handled umbrella. We actually won the contest, as a pair. 

Now that I’m a mother to a 3-year-old toddler and 11-month-old boy/girl twins, I enjoy creating their costumes every Halloween. I’ve made my eldest daughter a magician’s bunny outfit and sat her in a top hat when she was a baby, transformed a onesie into a Dia de los Muertos baby outfit and created the Giant Squid from the book I’m The Biggest Thing in the Ocean! by Kevin Sherry.  

Storybook characters are great inspiration for Halloween costumes. So far my eldest daughter has a couple of characters to choose from this year, and for the twins, it’s just a matter of deciding on what duo theme to choose. Here are some of my favorite ideas for children’s costumes based on popular storybooks.  

 

Madeline From Madeline By Ludwig Bemelmans 


What You’ll Need: Rounded straw hat; thick black ribbon; thick red ribbon; short blue dress with short sleeves; white, rounded collar button-down shirt; white socks or tights; black closed-toe shoes. Optional: red yarn, white gloves. 

How-To: Tie a bow around the brim of the straw hat with the thick, black ribbon, leaving the ribbon tails long so that they hang off the edge of the hat. For the uniform, dress your child in the white, button-down shirt with the blue dress on top of it. If you have trouble finding a short-sleeved blue dress, try Cappel’s, Goodwill or a local secondhand store. Take the thick, red ribbon and tie it in a large bow underneath the shirt’s rounded collar, in the middle of the neckline. Finish with the white socks and black shoes. If you want your daughter to have a red bob like Madeline, hand-sew multiple strands of yarn to the inside of the straw hat to create a “wig.” You could also add white gloves for a more formal Madeline (or for warmth if it’s cold this season.) 
 

Peddler From Caps For Sale By Esphyr Slobodkina 

What You’ll Need: Three to five caps; newspaper; needle and thread; elastic; a fake mustache or black face paint; a white, button-down shirt; a black suit jacket; black and white plaid or black pants; a black bow tie; dress shoes. Optional: a small monkey stuffed animal. 

How-To: Make the peddler’s stack of caps by stuffing each cap with a little bit of newspaper to make it sturdy and then hand-sew each of the caps directly on top of one another. Hand-sew a piece of elastic to the inside edges of the bottom cap, like a chinstrap, to make the stack stay steady on your child’s head when they wear it. Place/paint the fake mustache on your child’s face and then dress him in the button-down shirt, pants, black suit jacket, black bow tie and finish off with the dress shoes and stack of hats. To add a little more character, sew a small monkey stuffed animal to your child’s shoulder, or just have your child hold it. 
 

Bunny From Pat The Bunny By Dorothy Kunhardt 

What You’ll Need: White sleeper; elastic headband; white infant gloves; cardboard; needle and thread; large cotton ball; white furry fabric; fabric markers or fabric paint. Optional: fabric glue.  

How-To: Dress the baby in the white sleeper to represent Pat’s fur. Embellish the sleeper by fabric-gluing a large cotton ball to the bottom as a tail, and glue or hand-sew an oval piece of furry fabric to the belly. For the ears, cut pieces cardboard into the shape of small bunny ears and stuff them into the infant gloves so they stand up. Draw pointed pink ovals on the inside of the ears with a marker/fabric paint. Attach the ears to a thick, elastic headband by hand-sewing the bottom of the gloves to the top of the headband. Put the headband on the baby and you’re done. 

 

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There are many books on Halloween and many people trying to stay like as mentioned in photos and children are very happy to do this.
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Kids are looking great in such a dressing and likes more to wear many time.now a days they likes to wear in party time.I would like to enjoy with them.
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You really had wonderful Halloween costumes and memories in your childhood. The memories and those images have Stuck on You, although now it is easier to find innovative costumes at department stores but those would be incomplete without the caring touch of a mother.

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How-To: Make the peddler’s stack of caps by stuffing each cap with a little bit of newspaper to make it sturdy buy youtube views

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle was my favorite book at the time vocaloid nendoroid

Draw pointed pink ovals on the inside of the ears with a marker/fabric paint. Attach the ears to a thick, elastic headband by hand-sewing the bottom of the gloves florence megaworld

Now that I’m a mother to a 3-year-old toddler and 11-month-old boy/girl twins, I enjoy creating their costumes every Halloween. Belgravia villas

tuneseo's picture

Yaa this book is always relate to all the generation peoples it dose not relate to a specific one....
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opaler's picture

I think Halloween is the only time of the year when children and teenagers don't get stuck in dress codes. Even when I was a kid, leather and chain lovers and hip hop fashion lovers made two opposite parties that never got along.

Jools's picture

Dear Laura, I can't believe you're allowing yourself to dream so much! Your kids must really be happy to have you as a mother. I would like to do this, too, and it's not that mine would huff and puff seeing they don't have something new every year, but when I check all those sites just for inspiration, I can't help myself and buy at least one item per child. I'll be poor in no time, at this rate, I know.

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Janice's picture

I simply adore Peddler, I didn't know about him before reading Caps For Sale to my nieces, but it has definitely marked my life as an adult! I actually dressed up as him for this Halloween party and I can tell you that a pair of black and white plaid pants definitely looks better than a simple black one. Luckily, I was able to find one that matched my jacket. As for the face paint, my black eyeliner did the trick very well.

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Plain awesome!

Chanelle's picture

Yes, my niece was Madeline from Ludwig Bemelmans' book and she was absolutely de-light-ful.I didn't think about the wig - great job coming up with this idea! - but I did buy her some gloves from https://shop.thecashmereshop.com/accessories-wristlets-gloves-mitts that fit perfectly. It's so sad we grownups can't wear something like this without looking too kinky, I would have loved to be in the shoes of one of my favorite characters!

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opaler's picture

Halloween is my favorite holiday after Christmas, and a storybook theme is a great idea! I've been to a costume party with people from Herman Agency, Inc. and all the costumes were inspired by storybook characters. It was an incredible experience and I had a great time.

Jessica's picture

Chanelle, I've given up on the thought of wearing a skirt/dress that stops somewhere above my knees on Halloween, because lately it seems like every man acts like it's his birthday on this day and expects us to wear a garment that will give him something to dream of. This is I was a basketball player, yeah! Nothing sexy about a long T-shirt and pants. If you're interested in avoiding guys' glances, here's a helping link: http://jayhawkspirit.com/adkajabaje.html. I hope you'll have as much fun as I did! ;)

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I've always loved Halloween and I've always tried to involve my family in specific activities for this holiday. Last year we had a special Halloween, we cooked and baked, we went trick or treat with the grandparents, we eat and read scary stories for children. In a few words I appreciate children's involvement in these activities and I really hope to have more holidays like this one.

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For the ears, cut pieces cardboard into the shape of small bunny ears and stuff them into the infant gloves so they stand up. how to get ex back fast

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