Ok, I admit that there are many more than 13 classic book and literary Halloween costume ideas on this list, but who could pass up the use of Number 13 for an October 31 blog post about Halloween costumes? 🙂
Kicking off this list is Evil Winged Monkey from the Wizard of Oz. In the original Wizard of Oz novels, the winged monkeys were intelligent monkeys with bird-like wings. The Winged Monkeys were once a free people, living in the forests of Oz. They were carefree, but rather mischievous. I hesitated to kick off this list of book and literary character costumes with such a scary looking dude, but storybooks and fairytales are usually teeming with evil characters. On this list, you’ll find a wide variety of Halloween costume ideas from popular and classic books. From the traditional Mary Poppins to the Evil Winged Monkey from the Wizard of Oz, these classic book character Halloween costumes will give you lots of ideas to choose from…
Monkeys aren’t the first “literary Halloween costumes” you’d think of, are they? That’s what I thought! These storybook costume ideas will help get your literary juices flowing. If you’re looking for costumes specifically for females, read Best Creative Halloween Costumes for Girls and Women.
Literature and Book Character Costumes for Halloween
If you want to dress up as a literary character for Halloween, you’ll find costume ideas that range from Captain Underpants to the Man in the Yellow Hat (from Curious George).
Max from Where the Wild Things Are
Remember Max from Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are? The Max Hooded Wild Things Costume with the tail and attached head piece is available on Amazon, and it comes in women’s, men’s, and children’s sizes.
Where the Wild Things Are is a storybook of only 338 words. It focuses on a young boy named Max who, after dressing in his wolf costume, wreaks such havoc through his household that he is sent to bed without his supper.
Max’s bedroom undergoes a mysterious transformation into a jungle environment, and he winds up sailing to an island inhabited by malicious beasts known as the “Wild Things.” After successfully intimidating the creatures, Max is hailed as the king of the Wild Things and enjoys a playful romp with his subjects. Isn’t that an awesome foundation for unique and creative literary Halloween costumes?
Curious George Costumes for Halloween
Book character costumes such as The Man in the Yellow Hat Costume from Curious George (his name is Ted, by the way) are great ideas for book character costumes.
When Ted realizes his new best friend is a monkey, he says, “It is the same hat! And the same monkey! You followed me all the way from Africa? To Play peekaboo?” Sweet, and silly. A lovely balance for the witches, goblins, and gremlin Halloween costumes that are so dark and grim.
This one storybook alone – Curious George – is teeming with literary Halloween costume ideas. Miss Plushbottom, George, the cab driver, Bloomsberry – though not everyone will recognize the book characters or your costume. That means you can get really creative! 🙂
Disney storybook and literary Halloween costumes
Take Cinderella, for example. The Cinderella Rhinestone Bell of the Ball Halloween Costume is a visually stunning representation of the dream of leaving work and ashes, and living a fairy tale life.
Disney costumes are fantastic book character costumes – from Frozen to Cruella Deville. I think I should write a whole article on Disney storybook costumes, because I can’t include them all here.
Since Disney costumes are quite detailed and ornate, they’re not the easiest Halloween costumes to make at home.
The Wizard of Oz literature costumes for Halloween
The Scarecrow Costume from the Wizard of Oz is a great choice, as is the Tin Man Costume. The Wizard of Oz is a classic book and movie, and a good choice for a book character costume idea.
One of the tricks to finding the most creative literary Halloween costume is to buck the trend! Costumes from recently released movies – such as Alice and Wonderland, Harry Potter, and Iron Man – are very popular, and thus not very exciting. Same with Lady Gaga and Lindsay Lohan Halloween costumes…overdone! (Though they’re not exactly literary characters, are they?).
For more costume ideas (not from stories or literature), read Creative Costume Ideas for Women – From Salad to Dust Bunny.
Where’s Waldo Halloween Costume
The Where’s Waldo Adult Costume Kit includes hat, glasses, and shirt. This is an officially licensed “Where’s Waldo” product. In the Where’s Waldo book, Waldo travels to everyday places, where he sends postcards to the reader (which are the pictures in the book). The reader must locate Waldo in the postcard. The book became an instant best-seller.
Finding Waldo might be the most entertaining part of the Halloween party on October 31 🙂
Classic Book Character Costumes
“I think if human beings had genuine courage, they’d wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween. Wouldn’t life be more interesting that way? And now that I think about it, why the heck don’t they? Who made the rule that everybody has to dress like sheep 364 days of the year? Think of all the people you’d meet if they were in costume every day. People would be so much easier to talk to – like talking to dogs.” ― Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief.
Here are a few book character costume ideas that you’d want to wear every day…
A Princess Bride character – Westley
The Men’s Blackheart “The Pirate” Costume includes the pirate shirt, bandana, boot tops, belt, and wrist cuffs. Not included are the pants, pistols, or shoes.
Before it was a movie, The Princess Bride was (and still is) a riveting book by William Goldman. Possible Halloween costumes are Westley, Prince Humperdinck, Vizzini, Fezzik, Inigo Montoya, and of course the Princess Bride herself!
Paddington Bear is a polite immigrant from Peru – he comes equipped with his old hat, a battered suitcase, tattered duffle coat, and marmalade sandwiches. Paddington is a classic story book character costume idea from English children’s literature – and would work as both a boys or girls Halloween costume.
Hannibal Lecter – one of the scariest literary Halloween costumes
Hannibal Lecter is based on a novel by Thomas Harris (Red Dragon). Lecter is a literary costume for adults who have exquisite taste, are well read, surround themselves with beauty, and enjoy dining on a rich Bordeaux with human kidneys or brains.
Alice in Wonderland
No list of literary Halloween costumes would be complete without an Alice in Wonderland Literary Halloween Costume!
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the name of Lewis Carroll.
A girl called Alice fell through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar creatures. It’s considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre…no wonder kids love it! And no wonder it’s a wonderful book character costume for Halloween.
Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Green Gables is a feisty, funny and passionate girl – and would be a great book character Halloween costume for both women and girls! This literary character by LM Montgomery is a red-haired, freckle-faced orphan who faces the world with personality and a joie de vivre that few can match.
The Paper Bag Princess
The Paper Bag Princess is a creative Halloween costume for girls and women. This character is based on Robert Munsch’s children’s book – which involves dragons, kingdoms, princes, forests, and self-actualization. This is one of my favorite books, and an easy book character costume idea to dress up in.
Easily Recognizable Book Character Costumes
The next two Halloween costumes from literature are instantly and easily recognizable…
Romeo and Juliet literary Halloween costume
Who could leave Shakespeare out of a list of famous literary characters that inspire Halloween costume ideas?
This Noble Lord Halloween Costume from Shakespeare’s era is the first on this list of book and literary character costume ideas that is the actual author – not. William Shakespeare was an incredibly interesting man; you might want to learn a few things about him. For example, it’s likely that Shakespeare wore a gold hoop earring in his left ear – a creative, bohemian look in the Elizabethan & Jacobean eras. This style is evidenced in the Chandos portrait, one of the most famous depictions of Shakespeare.
The Medieval Maiden Faire Juliet Halloween Costume is a beautiful costume for women, and girls might love to dress up in it, too. If you need a couples’ Halloween costume, Romeo and Juliet is an obvious choice. Other characters in this famous play are Mercutio, Tybalt, Juliet’s nurse, the friars, and Paris.
“Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.”
― William Shakespeare
Other Shakespearean characters in different plays include Hamlet, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Othello, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra…..and Shakespeare himself, of course!
Dr Seuss characters – Halloween costumes
Of course, The Cat in the Hat Costume is popular for a reason! It’s fun and easily recognizable. The other Seuss literary characters aren’t as well known, which will keep people guessing what your Halloween costume is for ages.
There are so many creatures to choose from in the Dr Seuss story books that would make fantastic Halloween costumes, such as the Blue Fish, the Doorman of Solla Sollew, the Family from Who-Ville, Gertrude McFuzz, Horton, Star-Bellied Sneetch, King Loonie Katz, and the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, of course!
A List of Literary Halloween Costumes
Here’s a list of storybook and literature costumes for Halloween:
- Big Bad Granny Wolf Costume
- Man in the Yellow Hat
- Nancy Drew
- Tom Sawyer
- Huckleberry Finn
- Captain Underpants
- Winnie the Pooh book characters
- Ramona Quimby
- Wizard of Oz book characters
- Little Boy Blue
- Oliver Twist
- The Jungle Book characters
- Marvel Comic Book characters and costumes
- X-Men Comic Book characters
I need to interrupt this list of book character costumes for the lead character in eight British nanny storybooks!
The Mary Poppins Halloween Costume is a wonderful visual representation of love, harmony, discipline, and joy. Perhaps she should’ve been first on this list of literary costumes for Halloween – for Mary Poppins is a classic.
More Book Character Ideas for Halloween Costumes
- Disney characters
- Paul Bunyan
- Amelia Bedelia
- Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Harry Potter characters
- Pippi Longstocking
- Mary Poppins book characters
- Marie Antoinette
- Little Bo Peep
- Jack and the Beanstalk
- Willy Wonka
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Hobbit book characters
Another way to brainstorm the best book character and literary Halloween costumes is to think of the last movie you saw. Who was your favorite character? That can give you some great storybook character ideas for Halloween.
If you’re round as a peach, read 11 Halloween Costume Ideas for Plus Size Women.
The Roots of Halloween
“Halloween is not ‘a Yankee holiday’ celebrated only by gigantic toddlers wearing baseball caps back to front and spraying ‘automobiles’ with eggs. This is ignorance.
Halloween is an ancient druidic holiday, one the Celtic peoples have celebrated for millennia. It is the crack between the last golden rays of summer and the dark of winter; the delicately balanced tweak of the year before it is given over entirely to the dark; a time for the souls of the departed to squint, to peek and perhaps to travel through the gap. What could be more thrilling and worthy of celebration than that? It is a time to celebrate sweet bounty, as the harvest is brought in. It is a time of excitement and pleasure for children before the dark sets in. We should all celebrate that.” ― Jenny Colgan, Welcome To Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop Of Dreams.
Use Caution With Halloween Costume Accessories
Before you use colored contact lenses for your book character costume, do a little research.
Colored contact lenses have become trendy fashion accessories. Many people wear these lenses at Halloween parties and activities. There is no regulation that restricts the sales of contact lenses, and you might be able to buy them online. However, information about the countries of origin, materials, pigments used, and manufacturing processes of these contact lenses are not readily available. Improper use of these contact lenses could harm your eye health.
The monster in the picture could be any storybook villain. How you decide which book character costume is best for you – or your kids – depends on the type of books you like to read. A monster or troll could come out of any book or story, and you could get super creative if you’re making the costume at home.
What are your thoughts on these literary costumes for Halloween? I welcome your ideas and comments below!
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.