Do you want to dress up in a storybook, classic book, or literary character costume? I’m an author and book lover who created this list of Halloween costumes from classic books, timeless movies, and popular chapter books from childhood. From Ramona Quimby to the timeless Mary Poppins, these classic and popular book characters will give you plenty of Halloween costume ideas to choose from.
When you’re searching for creative book or literary Halloween costumes, try to find a timeless character we know and love, but forgot about. Like Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy! Raggedy Ann is a character created by American writer Johnny Gruelle; she and Raggedy Andy that appeared in a series of books he wrote and illustrated for young children. This storybook costume is a rag doll with red yarn for hair and a triangle nose. Raggedy Ann – and the Raggedy Andy boys costume – are perfect storybook costumes for kids because they allow for adequate vision and mobility. The last thing you want while trick or treating on October 31 is a costume that makes your child trip and fall. And here’s another costume-hunting tip: set a reasonable deadline for choosing the best literary dress-up idea – and stick to it.
By the way, the Raggedy Ann Halloween costume on Amazon is also in my 15 Plus Size Halloween Costumes and Ideas for Women article. It’s one of those awesome “one size fits all” Halloween costumes for book characters of all shapes :-) And, there is a Raggedy Andy Costume for book-lovin’ couples on Halloween.
If dressing up like a doll isn’t your idea of a great Halloween costume, you have nothing to worry about. I have at least 29 more ideas to choose from – and most are easy to make or cobble together with stuff you have at home.
One of the most interesting ways to find the best literary Halloween costume is to make a list of books you love. What characters stand out to you, and why? Their personality or physical traits resonate with you for a reason. If you can take that reason and wrangle a few Halloween ideas out of it, you’ll love your costume…and it’ll be a true Halloween costume for book lovers.
Max from Where the Wild Things Are (a kid’s classic book costume)
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 (but the kid’s Max costume is the best).
Where the Wild Things Are is a children’s book that tells the story of 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 changes into the jungle – and he sails to an island of beasts known as the “Wild Things.” Hence, “where the wild things are” – and hence, a great storybook Halloween costume idea!
Remember that flame resistant costumes do not mean fireproof. Do not use real fire as part of a storybook dress-up costume; there are plenty of fake, flickering lights that can do just as good a job. Plus they won’t blow out in the wind! If your literary Halloween costume involves candles or fire, leave the real thing between the pages of the book.
Man in the Yellow Hat costume from the Curious George books
Timeless, classic book characters such as The Man in the Yellow Hat Costume from Curious George (his name is Ted, by the way) are great ideas for Halloween.
This children’s book 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 Halloween costumes – such as Cinderella
Who hasn’t wanted to live in a fairy tale world? It’s time to go to Disneyland and explore the storybook Halloween costumes that are literally out of this world!
Take Cinderella, for example. The Classic Cinderella “Belle 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.
Scarecrow costume from the Wizard of Oz book
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 an easily recognizable character from a literary book. Don’t forget his friends the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man.
One of the best tips for finding the right book character costume is to avoid the trendy movies and book. Costumes from recently released movies – Mary Poppins, Alice and Wonderland, Harry Potter, and Iron Man – are incredibly popular and thus not very exciting.
Flying monkey – a scary costume for book lovers
The Winged Monkey from the Wizard of Oz isn’t exactly a children’s storybook costume, but it is timeless. In the original Wizard of Oz novels, the flying apes 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….just like the best book characters.
The flying winged monkeys are kinda scary, but they’re definitely classic book characters (if not exactly “literary” costumes for Halloween). Don’t forget the other characters from the Wizard of Oz book and movie: Dorothy and her little dog Toto (a popular Halloween costume for book lovers), Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, the Good Witch of the South, the Wicked Witch of the North, and of course the Wizard of Oz himself!
What if your child is too scared to go out on October 31? Consider Halloween stockings instead of traditional door-to-door trick or treating. Similar to Christmas stockings, Halloween stockings can be made out of felt and hung on the mantle. When your kids get up on Halloween, they’ll enjoy dumping out the candy and small treats. Some families go trick or treating and have Halloween stockings.
“Where’s Waldo?” character (but not exactly a literary or classic book)
The “Where’s Waldo?” Book Character Costume includes hat, glasses, and shirt. This is an officially licensed “Where’s Waldo” product.
In the Where’s Waldo book, this character travels to everyday places. He then sends postcards to the reader (which are the pictures in the book). The reader must locate Waldo in the postcard. This book and character became instant bestsellers, making Waldo a popular and easily made Halloween costume idea.
A Princess Bride book character idea (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) an excellent book by William Goldman. The book is better, and contains even more characters than the movie. Other Halloween costumes ideas include the characters Prince Humperdinck, Vizzini, Fezzik, Inigo Montoya, and of course the Princess Bride herself!
Older children and teens should be cautious about wearing controversial literary costumes on Halloween. For example, dressing like a rival gang-banger on the wrong turf can have disastrous consequences.
The Paddington Bear Halloween costume on Amazon is for toddlers, so if you love the Paddington series you’re out of luck. 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 be great for boys or girls.
Some of these Halloween costume ideas for book lovers wouldn’t be easy to make at home. But if you love to read and make creative costumes out of stuff in your closet, read the Best Creative Halloween Costumes for Girls and Women.
Hannibal Lecter – one of the scariest literary Halloween costumes
The Hannibal Lector Straightjacket Costume is creepy, but it fits the Halloween costumes for book lovers theme. It wouldn’t be too hard to make at home, but you’d probably have to buy the mask. It wouldn’t be easy to make…unless you happen to have a cannibal mask at home.
If you love books but avoid scary movies (like me), then you probably won’t want to dress up like Hannibal Lecter on Halloween. The famous movie Silence of the Lambs is based on a novel by Thomas Harris (Red Dragon).
If this is your child – or even a new pet’s – first halloween, introduce the costume slowly. Even storybook and literary Halloween costumes can be scary! Practice by letting your child play in the costume for 15 minutes each day. Or, keep your own costume in a family area so kids and pets can get used to it. Talk about or read the story for a week or two before Halloween. Mark October 31 on the calendar to show them the day they’ll dress up as their favorite book character!
Alice in Wonderland
No list of Halloween costumes for book lovers would be complete without an Alice in Wonderland 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 (who would all be great costume ideas). This book is one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre, which is why both kids and adults love it.
Other book character costume ideas from Alice in Wonderland: White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Queen of Hearts and King of Hearts (the last two are a great Halloween costume ideas for a couple of book lovers).
Anne of Green Gables – a costume for classic Canadian book lovers!
Love Canada? Dress up in a Pioneer Woman or Prairie Girl Costume and be Anne of Green Gables on Halloween. Anne 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 – a costume for strong female book lovers
The main character from 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.
Romeo and Juliet literary Halloween costume
Who could leave Shakespeare out of a list of famous literary characters that inspire Halloween costume ideas? The Medieval Maiden Faire Juliet Halloween Costume is a beautiful costume for women.
If you need a couples’ Halloween costume, Romeo and Juliet is a popular choice. Other characters in this famous play are Mercutio, Tybalt, Juliet’s nurse, the friars, and Paris. If you love all of Shakespeare’s characters, you might consider dressing up as Hamlet, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Othello, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra…..or even Shakespeare himself. He was a book lover with a salty sense of humor.
The great thing about full-length Shakespeare literary costumes is the warmth! Wearing long underwear under your costume is a great way to stay warm if it’s cold or even snowy on October 31. The more layers you wear under your Halloween costume, the less you have to wear over it. This means no jackets or scarves to obstruct the story your costume is telling.
Dr Seuss book characters – Halloween costumes
Dr Seuss’ Cat in the Hat Costume is popular even for people who aren’t book lovers. This character is fun and easily recognizable. Dr Seuss’ other characters aren’t as well known (eg Vlad Vladikoff, Gerald McBoing-Boing) but they will keep people guessing who you are all night long.
Any Dr Seuss character would make a great book character costume. There are so many creatures to choose from in his storybooks that would make fantastic Halloween costumes: 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!
13 More Character Ideas for Halloween
Here’s a quick list of Halloween costumes for book lovers:
- Big Bad Wolf Granny Costume
- Nancy Drew
- Tom Sawyer
- Huckleberry Finn
- Captain Underpants
- Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Christopher Robin
- Ramona Quimby
- Jane Austen’s characters (for hardcore literary book lovers)
- Little Boy Blue
- Oliver Twist
- The Jungle Book characters
- Marvel Comic Book characters and costumes
- X-Men Comic Book characters
Mary Poppins – a trendy Halloween Costume
The Mary Poppins Halloween Costume is a wonderful visual representation of love, harmony, discipline, and joy. I would’ve included our beloved childhood nanny sooner, but she’s probably one of the most popular costumes for book lovers.
Mary Poppins is a classic book, but the movie and soundtrack are much more popular. However, since she is the lead character in eight British nanny storybooks, I didn’t want to leave her out.
Are you looking for a couples literary Halloween costume? Mary Poppins and and her beloved friend Burt the Chimney Sweep are a classic dress-up idea. Tell a love story that ignites the imagination of your readers!
13 Additional Costumes for Book Lovers
- Disney storybook characters
- Paul Bunyan
- Amelia Bedelia
- Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Harry Potter characters
- Pippi Longstocking
- J.R. Tolkien’s book characters
- Marie Antoinette
- Little Bo Peep
- Jack and the Beanstalk
- Willy Wonka
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson
Another way to find the best book character and literary Halloween costume is to think of the most memorable movies you’ve seen. Who was your favorite character?
If you love books, you may be thoughtful, introverted, and even a bit introspective. Thus you might enjoy reading What Your Halloween Costume Says About Your Personality.