What better way to get your students interested in reading than to dress as their favorite book character? With so many beloved book series like Pete the Cat, Dog Man, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Junie B. Jones, and Berenstain Bears, there is no shortage of book character costume ideas.
Feeling really creative? Try bringing an inanimate object or concept to life as with the famous title Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. There are classic choices like Shakespeare or Mary Poppins as well as newer, more edgy options like David from the No! David book or Camilla Cream from A Bad Case of Stripes. Feeling nostalgic? Dress up as Corduroy or the American Girl Molly McIntire. Whether dressing up for Literacy Week or Halloween, you can’t go wrong with one of the many awesome options from our list below!
1. American Girl: Molly
Molly McIntire was one of the original American Girls from the beloved series that includes books, dolls, and other merchandise. This costume offers the perfect excuse to introduce your students to our favorite American Girl while also teaching about life in the States during World War II. Here’s how to get the look:
Learn more: Molly McIntire The American Girl Doll Costume at Sincerely Molly
This cute and cuddly book character costume is really easy to pull together. Match a green corduroy jumper with a brown shirt, then don a pair of teddy bear ears, and you’re good to go. Here’s how to get the look:
3. Junie B. Jones
Everyone’s favorite mischievous kindergartner Junie B. Jones (don’t forget the B!) makes for an adorable costume for kids and adults alike. Here’s how to get the look:
4. Captain Underpants
Some book character costume ideas, like this one, are sure to crack up your students! All you’ll really need in addition to some black leggings and a black shirt is a superhero cape and (of course) some undies! Here’s how to get the look:
5. Berenstain Bears
Teachers and students have grown up with the Berenstain Bears and both will enjoy this fun costume. With a book for every life lesson, this classic children’s series is a go-to in libraries and classrooms across the country. An added bonus? You can trade in your heels or flats for some comfy bear paw slippers! Here’s how to get the look:
6. Amelia Bedelia
Here’s another easy book character costume you can put together in a snap. Add a ruffled bib apron to a black dress, glue some dollar-store daisies to a black hat, and bring along your fanciest feather duster. Here’s how to get the look:
7. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
If you’ve got some denim overalls, you’ve got most of what you need for this If You Give a Mouse a Cookie costume. Make or buy a pair of mouse ears and a giant cookie, then paint whiskers and a pink nose on your face (or face mask). Here’s how to get the look:
8. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
If you love The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you’ll want to give this costume idea a try. Buy a green tutu, then use fabric markers or paint to cover a T-shirt with fruit and other foods. Yum! Here’s how to get the look:
9. William Shakespeare
There are plenty of book character costume ideas to steal from Shakespeare, but why not dress as the Bard himself? Grab the costume set and add a skull for good measure. Here’s how to get the look:
10. Pippi Longstocking
Pippi Longstocking is a quick and fun costume. Find a cute peasant dress you like, add a crazy braided red wig and some freckles, and don’t forget your pet monkey! Here’s how to get the look:
11. Max from Where the Wild Things Are
Finally, an excuse to buy that grown-up onesie you’ve been craving! Grab an adjustable furry crown to complete your costume. Here’s how to get the look:
12. No, David!
This is such a fun costume that can be as simple or as complicated as you feel like making it. Feeling crafty? Make a papier-mâché mask like this one. Short on time? Grab some poster board and a Popsicle stick and make a rudimentary mask to complement David’s signature blue-and-white striped shirt and red pants. Here’s how to get the look:
13. Fancy Nancy
Fancy Nancy is just ripe with costume opportunities. You really can’t go wrong with any number of accessories, but be sure to include her signature feather duster! Here’s how to get the look:
Slip through the secret door with a cute Coraline costume. Be sure to include the signature blue wig and yellow rain boots! Here’s how to get the look:
15. Viola Swamp
Miss Nelson is missing! Maybe Viola Swamp (i.e., you!) knows where she is! Put on some black-and-yellow striped stockings and a long witch nose to see if you can find out. Here’s how to get the look:
Speaking of striped stockings, how adorable is this Olivia costume? We found the striped tights and pig accessories—you supply your favorite red dress. Here’s how to get the look:
17. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
The laugh-out-loud series Diary of a Wimpy Kid will make for a costume that will definitely win your students’ approval. Here’s how to get the look:
18. Pete the Cat
Who says your favorite character has to be a person? Bring Pete the Cat to life with a pieced-together costume like Meghann of Coloring in Cardigans, or buy a premade costume like the one listed below. Either way, here’s how to get the look:
19. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
This has to be one of the most clever book character costumes we’ve ever seen! Want to make your own? Dress in brown, then add some large felt alphabet letters and a cute palm tree headband. Here’s how to get the look:
20. Hester Prynne
The Scarlet Letter A will help your high school students identify this book character costume in a flash. Purchase a bonnet, collar, cuffs, and apron set to add to your own black dress. Here’s how to get the look:
21. Dog Man
If you’re an upper-elementary school teacher, you should try this easy-to-re-create look. Turn a simple blue sweatshirt and hat into Dog Man’s signature uniform by cutting out the yellow crown and attach it with some adhesive Badge Magic. Finally, add some cute dog ears and paint your nose black! Here’s how to get the look:
22. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
What’s the weather forecast today? How about Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs? You can buy an umbrella and lab coat, but you’ll likely have to make your own clouds and meatballs. Here’s how to get the look:
23. Mary Poppins
Most kids know Mary Poppins from the popular movies, but she was a book character first! Buy a complete costume set or piece it together with items you might already own like Laura of Luv My Kinders. Here’s how to get the look:
24. The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
We got a real chuckle out of this clever costume idea! Print and pin a spider, fly, cat, and more to your stomach, slip on an old lady wig, and you’re done. Here’s how to get the look:
25. Camilla Cream
Uh-oh, looks like someone has A Bad Case of Stripes! You can have one too with either some face paint or a rainbow mask. Here’s how to get the look:
26. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
The beloved series from Mo Willems starring the pigeon is perfect for a book character costume. We especially love that it works equally well for kids or adults! Here’s how to get it:
Learn more: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! at The House That Lars Built
27. Piggy and Elephant
More beloved Mo Willems characters because they truly are the best. Regardless of whether you are a Piggy or a Gerald, this costume will be sure to wow! Here’s how to get the look:
28. Narwhal and Jelly
The adventures of Narwhal and Jelly are so delightful, and these adorable, waffle-loving characters make for the perfect costume. Here’s how to get the look:
29. The Giving Tree
Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree is a classic book that also makes for an adorable costume idea. Here’s how to get the look:
30. Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit may just be the most famous of all Beatrix Potter characters, and we think he makes for an especially cute costume idea. Regardless of whether you want to simplify with just bunny ears and face paint or go all out with a bunny costume, we think your students will love it. Here’s how to get the look:
31. Mr. McGregor’s Garden
You can’t have Peter Rabbit without Mr. McGregor’s garden! Regardless of whether you want to use fake or real veggies, this costume is relatively simple to piece together.
Madeline, the Parisian schoolgirl at the heart of the book series, wears a distinctive outfit that works so well as a costume. You can DIY the pieces, but buying them premade works well too!
33. Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Little House on the Prairie book series is based on the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who came of age during the late 1800s. If your students are fans of the books, then this is the perfect costume for you!
34. Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood is a classic fairy tale that most kids are familiar with, so we think they would get a kick out of seeing their teacher dressed up as her. The best part is that there are plenty of costumes to pick from if you are short on time.
35. Charlotte’s Web
While Charlotte’s Web makes for the perfect family costume, it works well individually as well. We especially love how simple it is to re-create Fern’s look with overalls, a flannel shirt, and a stuffed pig.
36. Spookley the Square Pumpkin
Spookley the Square Pumpkin is such a sweet tale about acceptance and it makes an adorable costume too. We especially love that you need little more than some felt sheets and a large box to make it a reality.
37. Peppa Pig
Peppa Pig is a beloved children’s character at the heart of many books and even a popular TV show. We love that this costume is very simple to pull together while also being affordable.
38. The Couch Potato
The Couch Potato has become a new classic in the short time since it has been published. While you could go the route of a full potato costume, we think this shirt will be sure to get big laughs. Wear it the day you introduce this book to your class.
39. Pig the Pug
The Pig the Pug series is laugh-out-loud funny and works equally well for an individual or group book character costume.
40. Bravo, Avocado
This book teaches kids all about finding their talents while developing self-confidence. The sweet message is enough on its own—dressing as an avocado while reading it will really be the cherry on top.
41. Where’s Waldo
Everyone loves searching for Waldo, and your students will love “spotting” you in this costume.
42. Ramona Quimby
Generations of kids have read and fell in love with Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books. Take a page out of Jess from New Girl‘s book and dress as Ramona during your school’s book week!
43. American Girl Doll
If you have students in your class who are really into the American Girl series, then this is the perfect book character costume for you. We especially love that you can change it out to be whichever girl you happen to be learning about. This costume (and these books) make learning history fun. Be forewarned though: This one will require a lot of creativity and craftiness.
Learn more: Coolest Homemade Costumes
44. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
Everyone’s favorite New York City resident, Lyle the Crocodile makes for an adorable book character costume. Bonus: You’ll be super-comfortable all day!
45. No One Likes a Fart
What’s a surefire way to get young kids to laugh? Read a book about farts, and even better, dress like one!