Book Week costume hacks that won't break the bank (or your brain)

Kinderling News & Features

It's that time of year again - Book Week. If you've forgotten or haven't been thinking about costumes, never fear!

We've come to your rescue with some simple ideas and craft tips to make this year's Book Week theme Find Your Treasure come to life (for little or no cost to your hip pocket or emotional fortitude).

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Where's Wally

You can't go past the most basic and stress-free of costume ideas, Wally, of the Where's variety.

All you'll need is a:

  • Red stripy shirt ( If you don't have a red stripy shirt, you can always get an old white one and paint stripes on it!)
  • Blue pants (jeans)
  • Black pipecleaners
  • Sticky tape or hot glue gun

For Wally's glasses, get your hands on a few black pipecleaners. Bend them into circles, sticky tape to hold. Sticky tape two pipe cleaners to the circular frames. Add a small cut off piece of pipecleaner for the nose piece. Sticky tape or glue all the pieces in place.

Minimum effort, maximum result. As for being on theme? Isn't Wally the OG when it comes to needing to be found? 

A Pirate

When it comes to finding treasure, this year the trusty pirate is a simple costume. So even the most forgetful and craft-challenged of parents can whip one up!

You'll need a:

  • Striped shirt
  • Jeans - double points if you have old ones with rips in the knees
  • A toy sword (or make one from cardboard)
  • Boots or gumboots
  • Eyeliner

Dress your child in the clothes, draw on a mean scar or two, maybe even underline the eyes if you can get them to stand still, and you're good to go!

The Paperbag Princess

What better way to send the not-so-subtle message to fellow parents that the absolute peak of your crafting capabilities is the ability to cut out a square piece of paper, than dressing up as the heroine from Robert Munsch's classic tale The Paperbag Princess?

You'll need:

  • A big brown paper bag
  • A piece of rope or old belt
  • Warm clothes as a base layer - black or brown
  • A comb and some hair spray
  • Scissors

Take your big brown paper bag and cut a circular hole in the base and two narrow sides near the base. Put warm clothes on under the bag. Put on bag. Use rope to tie in the waist of the bag. Tease and hairspray hair for that "just escaped a fire breathing dragon that destroyed all my wordly possessions" look.

Smudge some dark eye makeup on cheekbones and forehead to really complete the look. 

Peter Pan

J.M Barrie's iconic boy-who-never-grew-up makes a great last minute costume idea. In the stage play, the flighty character has been portrayed for the most part by women, so protestations of it being a "boys' costume" can be quickly silenced.

You'll need:

  • Green shirt
  • Green tights
  • Toy sword
  • Scissors

For this costume, you must perform the tricky task of putting all three on your child. Cut some jagged triangles on the sleeves and base of the shirt. That's it. You could make it more complicated for yourself by designing some felt coverings for shoes, or a sewing a cut green cap with a red feather in its brim, but who has time for that? Not you! That's why you're here and there's nothing wrong with that.

Peter Rabbit

Thanks to the big-screen reboot of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter's beloved cheeky rabbit is back in vogue. 

You'll need:

  • A blue shirt or jacket
  • Rabbit ears OR
  • White paper and cardboard (an old cereal box will do), an old headband and some cotton wool
  • Scissors
  • Black or brown eye liner pencil
  • A carrot (this doubles as prop and little lunch snack, you're welcome)

To make the ears, cut out two identical long ears on both the white paper and cardboard. Glue the white paper ears onto the cardboard ears. This will ensure the ears stand up and don't flop down on the weight of themselves. Hot glue gun the ears to an old head band. Glue cotton wool on to the white part of the ears.

Once your ears are sorted and set, draw on some cute little bunny whiskers, hand your mini-Peter a carrot, and you're finito.

If in doubt, glue gun everything to a bowler hat

Costume designer Aleisa Jelbart recommends investing in a hot glue gun and a cheap glitter bowler hat. If all else fails, you can trim the brim off the cap, turning it into a very glamourous skull cap. Next, hot glue gun the bits of felt, or streamers, or as many toilet rolls as you can, and you've got yourself a weird and wonderful wig!

Listen to more of Aleisa's tips on Kinderling Conversation:

Happy costume-ing!

To celebrate Book Week 2018, we are giving away a whole year's worth of books for your favourite daycare or playgroup! Plus there are seven gorgeous Aussie books for you to win just for your family too. Hooray! Click through to enter now!

Until next year, when you forget about it until the night before all over again, happy crafting!