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Teaching Tips & Tricks   |   Oct 21, 2015

15 creative + low-cost book character costumes for teachers

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

15 creative + low-cost book character costumes for teachers

By Angela Watson

Last year, I shared my favorite teacher Halloween costumes based on book characters. This year, the costume ideas you’ll find aren’t limited to book characters. I picked out the costumes that seemed easiest to put together because who has time to get their hands dirty (or glittered?) while constructing something elaborate. Fortunately, low-cost and simple does not mean boring! Check it out:


Dressing up as a minion is so easy it feels a little like cheating, and the best part is that both male and female teachers can pull it off equally well. The key pieces of this costume are a bright yellow shirt, denim overalls, a yellow beanie or hardhat, and goggles. If you have a bit more time in your hands, you can create this hat and goggles or this headpiece for a more genuine look that your students will love!



This one is easier than the Minion costume: wear a black jacket (with a silver zipper in front if you can find it) or a sweater and black pants. Seal the deal with a striped gray and black scarf. Prosthetic nose optional.


Mario or Luigi

Kids still love these classic characters, and you can re-use the costume for years to come. Wear a red or green shirt with overalls pasted with yellow buttons made with cardboard. You can also make this Mario/Luigi hat, or if you don’t have the time, use a basic red or green cap. Don some white gloves, and whatever you do, don’t forget your fake mustache.

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Most of the effort for this adorable costume goes into making a head piece. Here’s the tutorial on making an elaborate piece but you can also opt for using an umbrella for the jellyfish head and tentacles. I like this costume because you can simply take the hat off (or put the umbrella down) while teaching and have a comfortable, non-distracting outfit on.



Be an adorable pineapple by wearing a yellow dress (obviously one a biiiiiit longer than the one shown, or with leggings underneath) and this headpiece you can make with common household items.



This one’s as simple as the pineapple costume above. All you need is a red dress which you can decorate with white or black seeds made with paper, plus the all-important head piece that will complete your transformation. See the tutorial here.



This is probably the most time-intensive costume here, but it’s still simple–and not to mention classic, fun, and a sure hit with your students. Don’t worry, there’s no need to sew all those layers of paper to your dress —just use fabric glue like they did here.


Sadness from “Inside Out”

Get your hands on a blue wig, a pair of black-rimmed glasses, a gray sweatshirt, and blue leggings. Face paint is optional, but you can go all out if you want! Here’s a cheat sheet.



The Joy character from “Inside Out” is also easy to pull off if have a yellow dress at home and you can get a short blue wig (lighter than Sadness’).



Be a Crayola for a day (and be your favorite color too!) In this tutorial, the teachers used felt cut outs to create the characteristic markings found on crayons’ wrappers and wore pointy party hats that match the color of their shirts. Clever!


Frida Kahlo

You will need a bit of makeup skill to transform into this famous Mexican painter, but apart from that, it’s a low-cost and easy costume to put together. All you need is a floral dress, a shawl, and a hair accessory. (The post also has some other creative last-minute Halloween costume ideas that would be school-appropriate.)


Marty McFly

Feel a real blast from the past and be Marty for Halloween. Check out the key pieces here (and also find a terrific round up of other Halloween costumes you can pull together quickly.)


Wednesday Addams

Wednesday Addams is a classic. Best of all, you can perfect the look even when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands. Here’s a guide.


Velma (and the rest of the Scooby Doo gang)

The fantastic thing about dressing up as Velma (or Daphne, Fred, or Shaggy) is that you just need to find the right clothes, which are not so difficult to find to begin with. To dress up as Velma, you’ll need an orange turtleneck, a darker orange skirt, knee-high socks, and loafers. And of course, don’t forget the glasses.


Olive Oyl

Be the apple of Popeye’s eyes by putting up your hair in a high bun, wearing a bright red turtleneck, a black skirt, and white socks.


Want more ideas? Here are my favorite book character costumes for teachers!


What’s the easiest costume you’ve pulled off on Halloween? Tell us in the comments!

Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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  1. My easiest costume was self absorbed – I wore clothes with sponges pinned all over. Took about 1/2 an hour to cut up and pin on sponges.

  2. I went as a “Smarty Pants.”
    I used a Buttoneer tool to attach packs of Smarties all over the front of my jeans. I also wore black framed glasses and carried a dictionary.

  3. Black eyed p’s- cut out for cut P’s and take them or pin them to you and use black paint around one of your eyes.

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