The Children's Book Council of Australia is once again celebrating Children's Book Week from 19 to 26 August. For many parents, hearing the words Book Week brings back painful memories of either last-minute attempts at constructing a book character costume or the absurd amount of money they handed over buying one. Get prepared ahead of time with these cheap and creative costume ideas for the upcoming Book Week.
THE CATERPILLAR (FROM RIC CARLE'S THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR)
Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a classic children's picture book and dressing up as the very hungry caterpillar is surprisingly easy. Using green cardboard paper, cut out about 5 x 30cm-wide circles (depending on your child's height) then staple or glue them together, overlapping the circles slightly. Using a holepunch, make holes in the top green circle and thread ribbon through that can hang loosely around the neck, creating the caterpillar's body. To create his head, wrap a red sheet of cardboard paper to fit around your child's head and glue the ends together. Then add purple strips for antennae and yellow and green circles for eyes.
PIPPI LONGSTOCKING (FROM ASTRID LINDGREN'S PIPPI LONGSTOCKING)
The key elements to a good Pippi Longstocking costume are mismatching knee high socks and floating hair braids. To get authentic Pippi braids, you'll just need some wire and wire cutters. Divide the hair into two side braids and cut a length of wire that will reach from one end of the braid, over the head and down to the end of the other braid. Then undo one braid and do it again, this time weaving the wire inside the braid. Braid the other side, secure and clip any extra wire. Adjust hair to hide any obvious wire and you're done!
GREG HEFFLEY (FROM JEFF KINNEY'S DIARY OF A WIMPY KID)
Greg Heffley is the ultimate quick and easy costume. Your child just needs a white shirt, black shorts, a backpack and a mask of the character's face - which you can print off the Internet or draw yourself (don't worry, it's only a couple of lines!). Fasten it to their face with ribbon or string.
MATILDA (FROM ROALD DAHL'S MATILDA)
A blue dress, long white socks and black school shoes is all that's required to be Matilda for Book Week. If they want to look more like the filmic incarnation of the character, add a red bow to your child's hair. And for an extra prop, fill a plastic jar with a fake lizard (or axolotl, if you can find it!).
THE CAT IN THE HAT (FROM DR SEUSS' THE CAT IN THE HAT)
A more iconic character is hard to find. Dress your child in black from head to toe and sow a piece of white felt onto the T-shirt for the Cat's tummy. Use red ribbon or cloth to make the bow around his neck and construct the trademark white and red tophat by wrapping cardboard around and stapling it together. Draw on whiskers and a nose using old black eyeliner.
ARTHUR (FROM MARC BROWN'S ARTHUR)
Got a yellow jumper? Blue jeans? You're already halfway to creating the perfect Arthur costume. If you don't already have costume glasses, Ebay sell cheap ones for under $10. Make aardvark ears by cutting them out of cardboard and taping them to an inexpensive headband.
WALLY (FROM MARTIN HANDFORD'S WHERE'S WALLY?)
If you've already got a red and white striped shirt, Wally's style is fairly easy to copy. Again, you'll probably need to buy cheap costume glasses from the internet but everything else can be either found in your wardrobe or made by hand. Create Wally's famous magic walking stick gluing together leftover toilet paper rolls.
There are plenty of events happening all over Australia for Book Week. See if any are happening around you, and if not, why not create your own?