This was my first foray into Book Week costumes – as a parent. Let me tell you, it’s a lot easier to get an adult ready than a child. But you’d know that already!
I realise this post is a little late for everyone, but save it for next year! Oh, and this isn’t a world revolves around my child and their wishes post… this is a ‘I don’t have time to do make a costume’ post.
Be prepared for them to change their mind.
Toddlers especially… So in your mind, have two ideas going… just in case.
You choose, not them.
As time draws close, guide them to whichever outfit is easier.
Ultimately it will be your fault if the costume doesn’t work out, so you may as well choose the character. Of course, your children are highly unlikely to let you decide, so you present it in a way that makes them think it was their choice. Now, I’ll go out on limb and say I have some of the most stubborn toddlers, but even I have ways of getting them to see my side. If they choose – they will pick something bigger than Ben-Hur, overly complicated and it will never work they way they imagine. Find a middle ground.
Choose the character, then find the book that fits.
Unless you are insanely creative and have this gift for seeing how you can transform book characters into costumes, find a costume that you can replicate, then find a character that you can pass it off as.
Ok, so this won’t work for children who are absolutely hooked on one character, but I know from my years as a teacher, children generally have a couple of characters they’d be happy with.
Initially my daughter wanted to be every sort of character that was way too difficult to create. So I had a search through Pintrest, looked at some YouTube tutorials and worked out animals with tails, such as foxes and horses, were easy, as were butterflies. I would’ve loved her to be Fox from Margaret Wild’s book of the same name… but no. It was going to be a horse or a butterfly. I thought we’d swing the butterfly as the butterfly from the end of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The horse… well I wasn’t quite sure… So I kept researching into how I could create a butterfly and horse, simply. At the same time I made sure we read books with those characters so she wouldn’t change her mind!
My son always knew what he wanted. He’s been reading every train book and watching every train YouTube video for months. However, on the morning of the parade he was mortified when all I had found was a train driver’s outfit. Oh. My. Goodness. I had misunderstood. He didn’t want to be a train driver he wanted to be the actual train. So a mad thirty minutes turned an old nappy box into a train. We had found a happy middle ground – because I had no clue how to make him into an actual train! We have countless non-fiction books on trains, but we can always swing this outfit as the little boy from Oi, Get Off Our Train!
If you get stuck? Ask the librarian at your local library or school library – they are usually awesome and will find you a book with a character that’s easy(ish) to replicate. Then read that story with your child and steer them in the right direction!
Keep it simple.
Pintrest can be fun… but anyone who is on social media has seen the countless ‘Pintrest Fail’ videos and pictures going around. Remember, those people on Pintrest have a gift. That’s why their channels are popular. Take what they do and scale it down dramatically. Make it achievable, because ideally your children should be helping you. I say ideally because in an effort to make a train in the thirty minutes before my children had to walk out the door, I can tell you neither of my children helped. They did watch though… and pass me things.
Get them to make it.
Ideally, your children will be old enough to make most of the costume, if not all of it, without you. I mean that’s the goal really. Let’s call it empowering them to design, create and make their own visions. They won’t be the most beautiful outfits ever created, but you’ve set them in good stead for being independent little creators. You are teaching them to trust their own instincts and take a risk. And your years before of making their costumes (and setting the bar rather low) will ensure that their first independent foray into costume making won’t be an intimidating affair!
For more detailed Book Week ideas, check out these websites;
To show you how poor your face painting skills are… (I could watch her face paint for ages)
Mandy’s designs are slightly more achievable! Although I don’t have the vast array of fancy paints she has – I just bought mine from a toys store!