by | Oct 25, 2017 | Uncategorized | 6 comments

by Sonja Stone

Homemade costumes? Yeah, I’m *THAT* mom.

Literary costumes? So much the better!

Miss Clavel (and Madelines!)

I loved Halloween as a kid. I’d spend weeks planning my costume, hours trudging through the neighborhood collecting sugary loot, then days lying to my parents about sneaking candy before dinner.

My parents, being creative educators, never purchased costumes for us. Each year my sister and I would create our own–my sister fashioning horse ears out of a headband and stuffing a knee-high sock with polyfill to make a tail, me scouring through my mother’s costume jewelry to create my fortune-teller’s outfit. Then the debate–would carrying a pillowcase for our candy make us look selfish and greedy? Could we take turns saying ‘trick-or-treat’ because I was so painfully shy?

When my kids were young, all their costumes were homemade. A ballerina, a fireman, Spiderman, a chef. As they got older, they’d hound us for purchased costumes (like their friends wore). We made a deal: every other year you get to buy a costume (or an element of a costume), and in between you make your own. Of course, by the time they were late teenagers, making one’s own costume was back en vogue.

At some point–I think when my youngest reached middle school–I suffered an irrevocable case of halloween burnout. I sent my ex off to trick-or-treat with the kids, stuck a bowl of candy on the front porch with a sign reading “Please Take Just One!”, and turned off all the interior lights, retiring to bed with my iPad and all the fun-sized Reese’s peanut butter cups I could carry. (Yeah, I know the first unattended kid to hit the front porch cleans out the bowl. Don’t care.)

Now that my little chicks have flown the nest, I’m missing those sweet days–elementary school kids humming with excitement, adorable little faces with hand-drawn whiskers, seeing the thrill on a child’s face as they realize they just scored a full-sized Snicker’s bar.

In the spirit of my no-longer-a-Scrooge-at-Halloween, I’m including a few wonderful, creative costume ideas that brought a smile to my face. They feature characters from some of my favorite children’s books. (Please see the end of the post for image links.)

Who knows, maybe this year I’ll stay up past 9 and hand out some candy.

Max from Where the Wild Things Are

Charlotte’s Web

One fish two fish…

What’s your favorite literary costume? Leave a comment below!
Don’t Miss a Thing!



  1. S. Lee Manning

    Before Harry Potter was really big – was there ever such a time – after the first two books or so, my eldest daughter decided to dress up as Harry Potter for Halloween. Black wig, scar, black glasses and a Hogwarts sweatshirt. No one knew who she was dressed up to be.

  2. Sonja Stone

    S. Lee, you have a family of trendsetters!

  3. Karna Bodman

    What terrific costume ideas. I remember buying a piece of felt and making a Superman cape along with a big "S" that I sewed onto a sweatshirt for one of my sons. I think it was his most favorite costume ever! Yes, the idea of creating our own costumes certainly makes the day more meaningful for all of our children (instead of just buying some flimsy outfit from the drug store). Kudos to you for doing it – and sharing your ideas….and continue to enjoy those Reese's peanut butter cups (I still do).

  4. Gayle Lynds

    I did the same thing, Karna, for my son – a red cape with a huge S. Thanks for bringing back so many wonderful memories, Sonja. Now that my children are grown, they're being creative about Halloween costumes with their children. It's lovely to see the progression & the fun!

  5. Jamie Freveletti

    I used to make costumes and my kids ended up alternating because as they got older the store bought ones didn't fit what they wanted. Love the pictures above!

  6. Chris Goff

    I made costumes, too. I think the last one was when Mardee was in high school and wanted to be the St. Pauli Girl. It was a great costume! Just came from Maine where my little niece (age 3) wanted to be a pink fish. Her mother has sewn the costume. Time will tell if it works. I'm just not sure she's going to be willing to keep the fish head on.