30 Literature & Book Character Costumes for Halloween

Go beyond Harry Potter and Dr Seuss with these book character costume ideas! 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).

literary halloween costume ideas

“Book Character Costumes for Halloween” image by Nathan Rupert, via flickr CC License

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!

Curious George Costumes for Halloween

Book character costumes such Curious George Monkey Costume or Ted (the Man in the Yellow Hat) from the book Curious George – is a great idea from literature. 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 costumes are fantastic book character costumes – from Frozen Halloween Costumes to Cruella Deville. Here, I share a variety of ideas for Halloween costumes from literature.

Another set of book character costume ideas is from The Wizard of Oz. Think about the Tin Man Costume or the Wizard Of Oz Scarecrow Costume. The Wizard of Oz is a classic book and movie, and a good choice for a book character costume idea.

The Wizard of Oz Lion Halloween Costume for Babies features a fully lined jumpsuit with zipper, character hood with snap/hook-and-loop closure, and slip-on booties with skid-resistant bottoms. It comes with slip-on booties with skid resistant bottoms (booties for indoor use only), character hood with snap/velcro closure.

Here are more Halloween costumes from books and literature to consider, for both kids and adults…

Book Character Costume Ideas

literary Halloween costumesMax from Where the Wild Things Are – For more book character costumes – including how to make Max from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – go to Conversation-Starting Halloween Costume Ideas. That’s where I found this wonderful image of Max!

The Where The Wild Things Are Max Halloween Costume is available on Amazon, and it comes in women’s, men’s, and children’s sizes.

One of the tricks to finding the best 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?).

Instead, find book character costume ideas that are classic. Timeless. Fun! For instance…

The Princess Bride characters. Before it was a movie, The Princess Bride was (and still is) a riveting book by William Goldman. Possible Halloween costumes are Princess Bride Westley Adult Costume, 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 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.

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 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 – who could leave Shakespeare out of a list of famous literary characters that inspire Halloween costume ideas? The Medieval Maiden Faire 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. Other Shakespearean characters in different plays include Hamlet, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Othello, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra…..and Shakespeare himself, of course!

Any Dr Seuss character would make a great book character costume, especially if you avoid the popular (overdone?) Cat in the Hat Halloween costume. 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!

More Book Character Costume Ideas

Fairy Tale Granny

  • Fairy Tales 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
book character costumes

Mary Poppins

  • Mary Poppins Halloween Costume
  • 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 book characters
  • Hobbit book characters


Another way to brainstorm the best book character 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.

Use Caution With Contact Lenses for Halloween

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.

What are your thoughts on these literary costumes for Halloween? I welcome your ideas and comments below!

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Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
Welcome - I'm glad you're here! I can't give advice, but you're welcome to share your experience below. I'm a writer in Vancouver; my degrees are in Psychology, Education, and Social Work. I live with my husband, two dogs, and cat. We are childless, & have made peace with it. It helps to love Jesus :-)

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20 Responses

  1. Laurie says:

    Book character costume ideas are the best for Halloween — especially if you’re a writer or blogger :-)

  2. Laurie says:

    Thanks for sharing this article – I appreciate it! Book character costumes are my favorite type of Halloween costume, and I hope others feel the same way :-)

  3. Love this! I shared it with my FB fans!

  4. Hi Mom4,

    Yes, I think dressing up as a Southern belle would be a great costume for Halloween! Scarlett O’Hara had beautiful dresses, and she was a classic book character.

  5. Mom4 says:

    I have 2 girls who are 5 and they picked the old southern belle dresses.Is Scarlet a good idea from “Gone with the Wind?”

  6. sally says:

    The most popular book character costumes thelast few years have been Twilight and Harry Potter. I like the more classic ideas like the cat from Dr Seuss’ Cat in the Hat, but they’ve been done so many times!

  7. Joe College says:

    Lots of great costume ideas here. I’m thinking paper bag princess or Pippi Longstocking for my daughter this year. Of course that depends upon her approval as well!

  8. Howard ~ I like your “book worm” costume idea! It’s both easy and fun…Like reading good literature should be :-)

  9. Thanks for your comments…I’m glad you like these costume ideas :-)

  10. howard hughes says:

    A book worm is another great costume for literary freaks. Dress up as a worm, and past cardboard cut outs of book covers all over yourself. That way you don’t have to pick just one literary costume character for halloween.

  11. Abby says:

    These are great literary costume ideas, thank you for the tips. I want to be Winnie the Pooh this Halloween

  12. Why is everyone searching for book character costumes in March? Is it for Mardi Gras? If so, a literary costume is a great idea! :-)

  13. halloween2036 says:

    I will always remember my childhood days during Halloween. We used to wear white blankets to cover ourselves like white ghosts. During that time the Halloween costumes are not usually available on stores so we always improvise.

  14. Cathy says:

    Thanks- Some fantastic ideas :-)
    Especially like the Disney characters link… can be used anytime of year, but will be ordering mine in time for Christmas!

  15. That is a fantastic list. Willy Wonka is a great idea. I don’t know of anyone that has dressed up as him.

  16. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Thanks for your comments. I bet this book character costumes article will be my most popular Halloween article next year!

  17. Halloween is one of the best holidays for kids. Free candy and they get to stay out later than usual. This blog has an excellent quick list guide to costumes ideas. Thanks for the thoughts buddy.

  18. tiffany says:

    These are great ideas. When I was 10 I dressed up as Pippi Longstockings. Here are some ideas for comic book costumes


  19. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Thomas the Train is a great book character Halloween costume — and way cool that your son still enjoys wearing it! :-)

  20. Erica says:

    My son has been Thomas the Train for 3 years straight. It’s always popular with the little ones!

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