Book Week: Easy costume ideas from things in your wardrobe

Book Week – Easy costume ideas from things in your wardrobe

I love Book Week. Maybe as a teacher librarian that would be obvious but I also know it’s a high-stress and very busy time.  Book Week is all about celebrating reading, Australian literature and libraries. However, I have seen first hand when the stress and requirements of the big events can overwhelm the joy.


I personally and strongly believe that Book Week should be fun for everyone. But I know that might not always be the case. Time and time again I have seen that the most stressful element of Book Week celebrations are often the character dress-ups. On the other hand, these character parades are often the highlight of Book Week celebrations. The joy of seeing the children and teen’s faces as they celebrate all things books and reading is so worth it. If we can make costumes easier, hopefully Book Week will be easier for parents, students and staff.

I am going to share below some simple Book Week book character dress up ideas that you can create with things you’ll find in the family’s wardrobes. While there are plenty of ideas, I’ve tried to use a range of books from picture books to YA fiction. I’ve also included some more obscure ideas, in case you want a unique costume and Australian fiction-based characters.

You’ll find below costume ideas for individuals, as well as pairs and groups.

Top Advice

Print out a copy of the book cover and attach it to your costume in some way. You could safety pin it to the front or back of your costume or attach it to string or a lanyard around your neck. It makes it easy for others to see who you are dressed up as, relates it back to the book (which, let’s not forget, what it’s all about) and can make even a simple outfit a character-related costume.

Madison’s Costume Mandates

Here are my personal beliefs about Book Week Costumes

  1. Make it easy. Use what you have in your wardrobe, dress-up box or craft box.
  2. Homemade costumes are awesome. Costumes shouldn’t have to cost you much.
  3. Student-driven costume choices make the student more comfortable in what they are wearing and builds excitement.
  4. Plan early but have a back-up plan
  5. It’s okay to work backwards from the costume to the book.
  6. No costume is wrong. No costume shaming, please. Movie character, book related t-shirt. Honestly, everything is okay if it makes the student (or staff member) comfortable enough to dress up. You can even make a school uniform work.

Costume Ideas You Can Create With Things You Have in Your Wardrobe.

Pig The Tourist

You’ll need

  • A Hawaiian t-shirt
  • Broad-brimmed hat
  • Backpack
  • Camera (or a printout of a camera)


You’ll Need

  • Goggles or sunglasses
  • Blue stripe shirt
  • blue pants
  • Toy bird

Rocky and Louie

  • Football jersey
  • Football



Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas

  • Feather boas
  • Blue or pink clothes
  • Blue or pink gloves
  • Blue or pink accessories


Hark, It’s Me, Ruby Lee

You’ll need

  • Hair in pigtail buns
  • School uniform
  • School books
  • Light blue ribbons

The All New Must Have Orange 430

  • Stipe shirt
  • Large box wrapped in orange



Bridie’s Boots

  • Yellow coat or raincoat
  • Red boots or gumboots



Yellow Dress Day

  • Yellow dress
  • Yellow ribbons
  • Yellow shoes

You might like to use this for a group costume as the character has a different colour for every day.

Meet Weary Dunlop or Meet the ANZACs

  • Solider’s Uniform/Camouflage clothes




Ride, Ricardo Ride

  • Cap
  • White shirt
  • Black pants
  • Brown vest
  • Bicycle


Go Go and the Silver Shoes

  • White shirt
  • Red pants or skirt
  • Silver shoes, glittery if possible



The Key To Rondo

  • Blue or silver dress
  • Crown or tiara



Nim’s Island

  • Shorts and t-shirt
  • Binoculars or telescope
  • Soft toy bird or lizard



Tiny Timmy

  • Football socks, cleats
  • Shorts
  • Jersey



The Midnight Gang

  • Pyjamas




Ninja Kid

  • Green shirt
  • Blue cloth to cut holes into to make a mask



Wolf Girl

  • Long pants and long-sleeved shirt in dark colours
  • Backpack
  • Dogs or wolf stuffed toy.



New Girl Ella at Eden

  • Blazer
  • Dress or school uniform
  • Long socks
  • Diary


Nevermore The Trials of Morrigan Crow

  • Black clothes
  • Black hair or wig
  • Red ribbon for hair
  • Umbrella


Kenzie and Max Full Speed

  • Snow gear, jackets, beanies, gloves




Fozia and the Quest of Prince Zal

  • Light blue clothes
  • Light blue hijab or cloth to create a hijab
  • Cloth to create a magic carpet



Friday Barnes

  • Tan cardigan or jacket
  • Hat
  • Torch/magnifying glass



Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables

  • Long coat or jacket
  • Blue pants
  • Scarf
  • Frypan
  • Unicycle (optional)


Juliet Nearly a Vet

  • White coat
  • Play stethoscope
  • Toy animal



Patty Mills Hits the Court

  • Basketball outfit
  • Basketball



Starlight Stables

  • Riding boots
  • Jodhpurs
  • Shirt
  • Puffer jacket



Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games

  • Hair in a braid
  • Black or green jeans and shirt
  • Black or dark jacket
  • Face smudged with face paint or makeup for a “I’ve just been hunting for food” look.


Anna from Anna and the French Kiss

  • Jeans
  • White shirt
  • Scarf



Clary or Jace from The City of Bones

  • Jeans
  • Jacket
  • Use black facepaint or makeup to draw on marks over the arms and neck


Four from I am Number Four

  • Shorts
  • Jacket
  • Red or orange face paint or makeup to create swirl brands on the leg.


America from The Selection

  • Beautiful dress




Cammie from the Gallagher Girls series

  • White shirt
  • Tartan or plaid skirt
  • Vest

Brienna from The Queen’s Rising

  • Blue outfit, dress or cape.




9780778324331Valek or Yelena from Poison Study


  • all black clothes


  • red dress or
  • green, black and grey pants and jacket. Long sticks as weapons.

Good for pairs or groups

Goodnight Glow Worms 

  • Clothes in a range of colours, pink, red, green, blue, yellow
  • Torches



Tottie and Dot

  • Pink and aqua clothes and accessories
  • Black glasses
  • Black bows



Boomerang and Bat

  • Cricket whites or white pants
  • Purple shirt
  • Cricket bat



The Dress Up Box

  • Anything you have lying around that might possibly look like a costume: broomstick, caps, oversized jackets



My Brother is Beast, My Nana is Ninja, My Mum is a Magician

  • Black clothes, knitting needles, hair in a bun, purple scarf
  • Beanie, red and white striped shirt, gloves,
  • Top hat, cape, wand


Funny Kid

  • Black suit, a life jacket or a red and white striped shirt



The Little Princess Katie Chase

  • Princess dress with various accessories to tie into each title.

The Bad Guys

  • Black jackets,
  • Black ties
  • White shirts




  1. Sian Williams

    Thank you this was inspiring, I can now start working on my staff and students

  2. HoLee

    Thank you! You have shared books I haven’t read yet. I like the simplicity you use to create the costume. I love the idea of using what you have at home. Those were always the best costumes. I am letting go of my need to have a perfect or a best costume. The Dress Up Box is my new favorite book for anytime I need a costume. Unfortunately I used to raid my parent’s closet and no longer have that option.

    • madisonslibrary

      I agree, the best costumes are simple and fun to put together. I love The Dress Up Box. So perfect for costume ideas and embracing the simple fun of dressing up.

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