Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to costumes. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about costumes.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about costumes, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Stardust to popular sellers like Julian Is a Mermaid to some of our favorite hidden gems like Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty.
We hope this list of kids books about costumes can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
Elliot wakes up one morning to the most terrible smell. But what could it be? Find out in this gentle introduction to hygiene that’s stinkin’ adorable! One morning, Elliot wakes up and smells something awful. Is it the trash? No… The dog? No… Dad? His sister? The baby? Grandma’s famous gerfartzenschanffel? No, no, no, and no! Elliot searches high and low for the something that smells, but he just can’t find it, and it’s driving him and his nostrils crazy. Almost as bad, now his mother wants him to take a bath, which means taking off his super cool skeleton costume that he’s been wearing since Halloween! The funny thing is, after Elliot finishes his bath and Mom puts his costume in the wash, something doesn’t smell anymore…
In an exuberant picture book, a glimpse of costumed mermaids leaves one boy flooded with wonder and ready to dazzle the world. While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.
Papillon is a very fluffy kitty. So fluffy that he’s lighter than air! His owner tries to weigh him down, but Papillon just wants to fly. One particularly sunny day, he floats right out the window! Exploring the wide world is exhilarating, but it’s also a little scary. Will his new friend, a bird, be able to help him find his way home? Whimsical art and airy text come together seamlessly in this delightful debut by A. N. Kang.
It’s time for Halloween, and Mr. Fish is nervous about visiting a haunted house with his friends—but he just may be surprised that it’s not all so scary! At an affordable price point, and with two pages of stickers, this new format is fun and accessible for Mr. Fish’s fans and newcomers alike.
On a windy Halloween night, as a little boy makes his way home after trick-or-treating, he hears a voice: “Cracklety-clack, bones in a sack. They could be yours—if you look back.” As his heart flip-flops with fear, the boy dashes through woods and fields that seem full of haunting shapes—owls, ghosts, skeletons, and more. The detailed illustrations are packed with visual tricks for children to discover. Are those skeletons or cornstalks? Ghostly hands or tree branches? The playful tone of the text makes this a perfect, not-too-scary read-aloud, with an enjoyable surprise ending.
Ladybug Girl and the Dress-Up Dilemma - Ladybug Girl gets dressed up for Halloween in the newest hardcover addition to the New York Times bestselling series. It is Halloween and Lulu must decide on a costume. Should she be Ladybug Girl or something new? She tries many different costumes, but nothing seems right. Maybe she’ll think of the perfect costume as she enjoys the autumn day with her family by pumpkin picking and going on a hayride. But it isn’t until Lulu and Bingo help a little girl who is lost that Lulu discovers who she was meant to be for Halloween–Ladybug Girl, of course! After all, she is Ladybug Girl and it is important to be true to yourself.
A Dog Is a Dog - A dog is a dog, right? Not so fast! From debut author-illustrator Stephen Shaskan comes this lively picture book that will keep young readers guessing (and giggling!) from beginning to end. With its wacky illustrations, bouncy text, and spot-on humor, A Dog Is a Dog is a fantastic read-aloud that kids will clamor to hear again and again.
The Three Snow Bears - Jan Brett’s bestselling snowy “Goldilocks” retelling is now available in this popular large, durable format. Painted in her signature style, the familiar story and depiction of playful Arctic animals and birds dressed in colorful Inuit costumes make this classic tale a perfect choice for Jan’s youngest fans.
Harriet Gets Carried Away - While shopping with her two dads for supplies for her birthday party, Harriet, who is wearing a penguin costume, is carried away by a waddle of penguins and must hatch a plan in order to get herself back to the store in the city.
From author-illustrator Jarvis comes a buoyant underwater tale about a little blue fish who learns that being dazzling isn’t what makes you special. Coral Reef City is home to the most brilliant tropical fish in the ocean. Sparkling and multicolored, they swim around and around, showing off. And then there’s Terry. Small, blue, and ordinary, Terry spends his days playing hiding games with his friends and wishing the tropical fish would play with him, too. So with the help of his friends, Terry fashions a flashy, dazzling costume and transforms into Tropical Terry. But life as the center of attention isn’t quite everything Terry dreamed it would be — especially once Eddie the Eel shows up, hungry for dinner. In a bright, cheerful story, Jarvis uses his vibrant art and heartwarming wit to prove that sometimes the things you thought made you unremarkable are actually the most special qualities of all.
With short and simple rhyming text, the Llama Llama board books introduce Llama Llama to babies and toddlers before they’re ready for longer full-length stories. And their small size and durable pages are perfect for little hands.
In Llama Llama Trick or Treat, little llama finds the perfect costume, picks out a pumpkin for a jack-o’-lantern, and then goes trick-or-treating with Mama and his friends!
Boynton celebrates Halloween!
A new addition to the Boynton on Board series, with over 21 million copies sold, Eek! Halloween! is all treat and no tricks, a journey with Boynton and her nutty characters through the tradition of Halloween.
It starts with an uh-oh—the chickens are nervous! Strange things are happening. One chicken saw a pumpkin with flickering eyes, another spied a mouse of enormous size. They all saw a wizard and a witch, and a spooky robot. “WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? WHAT DOES IT MEAN? / Relax, silly chickens! It’s HALLOWEEN!”
Pookie gets dressed up for Halloween in this silly board book from beloved and bestselling author and illustrator Sandra Boynton. It’s Halloween! What will little Pookie decide to be this year? Pookie tries on costumes one by one, but somehow can’t find just the right thing. The resolution to Pookie’s dilemma will delight toddlers and their caregivers alike. Told and illustrated with Sandra Boynton’s celebrated charm and pizzazz, Spooky Pookie has all the makings of a beloved Halloween classic. Boo!
Get ready for a wild Halloween on Animal Street in this cute rhyming lift-the-flap book! “It’s Halloween night and there are friends to meet— It’s time to trick-or-treat on Animal Street!” Join pirate foxes, bunny ballerinas, and more on a not-so-spooky Halloween adventure. With big flaps to lift and adorable illustrations, this fun rhyming board book is festive and perfect for story time!
Polly and Her Duck Costume - Polly and Her Duck Costume tells the true story of Polly, a little blind goat who was rescued by Leanne Lauricella, rescuer of farmyard animals and founder of the immensely popular Instagram account The Goats of Anarchy. Polly has some trouble adapting to her new life until her new mom gives her a warm and fuzzy duck costume, which turns out to be the perfect fit! Follow along with Polly as she finds love with her new family, gains confidence, and makes new friends. The perfect tale to inspire and delight animal lovers, Polly and Her Duck Costume pairs beautiful illustrations with a truly heartwarming tale readers of all ages will adore.
The Walking Bathroom - A sweet Halloween story about standing out and fitting in. I t’s Halloween, and Amayah doesn’t have a costume to wear to school. She dressed as a ghost for the last three years in a row, witches are overdone, and fairies are not her style. She wants to be something different, something creative. The Walking Bathroom is the newest book from awardwinning author and poet Shauntay Grant, with fun, eyecatching artwork from Erin Bennett Banks. This imaginative tale is bound to inspire some unique costumes and become a Halloween favorite!
Five Little Monkeys Trick-Or-Treat - In another adorable story starring Eileen Christelow’s mischievous and beloved monkeys, these five silly monkeys go trick-or-treating and fun chaos ensues! Now in paperback. “Another winner.” —School Library Journal Five little monkeys dress up for Halloween. They’re going trick-or-treating with their favorite babysitter, Lulu. Mama reminds her, “Don’t lose the rascals!” But soon those mischievous monkeys meet other costumed friends and decide to try “the best Halloween trick ever!” Will Lulu be fooled? Or will the five little rascals get tricked by their own monkey business? Vibrant, silly, and perfect for reading aloud, this non-scary Halloween story will delight fans of this best-selling series. Includes recipes for “eyeballs” and “worm juice” for kids to try at home.
Ladybug Girl and Her Papa - Perfect for Father’s Day or any day, this board book from the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series celebrates Lulu’s bond with her dad and pairs perfectly with Ladybug Girl and her Mama Join Lulu and her papa as they spend a perfect day together. They take a hike complete with rock-skipping at the stream, make a delicious pancake breakfast, and build a birdhouse. Even hanging the laundry to dry is an adventure when Ladybug Girl is with Papa. This sweet story captures the everyday magic of the love between a little girl and her dad.
In the fourth book of the Alien Next Door series, Halloween is just around the corner, and Harris is excited to share the holiday with Zeke, who doesn’t even need a costume! Harris is ready for Halloween and is very excited when he sees Zeke’s “costume,” which is just his true alien form. Harris is sure Zeke will win the costume contest at school! Zeke also uses his powers to help Harris make the best costume he’s ever had, but Roxy feels left out, as she and Harris usually make costumes together every year. On Halloween, one of the other kids at school is jealous of Zeke’s amazing costume and plots to sabotage it. Will Harris and Roxy be able to stop him and help Zeke win the costume contest?
Meet Clive - and his imagination! Clive loves his collection of hats, and each one suggests a different adventure. He enjoys playing with them, and sharing them with his friends. A gentle, affectionate book, celebrating diversity and challenging gender stereotypes.
Corduroy and his friends love to trick-or-treat, and they are excited for Halloween! His friends all have the perfect costumes in mind, but Corduroy can?t decide what to be. With a little help from his friends, though, Corduroy will have the best Halloween ever!
John puts a pot on his head while his mother bakes a cake. The next thing we know, he invites his friends over for a costume party. What will they wear? With each page turn, we wait to see. Vera arrives tangled up in string, a “meatball covered in spaghetti.” And Sarah, as a mountain, inching across the floor under a carpet.
First published in 1956, Dress Up and Let’s Have a Party is a pleasing and thought-provoking book about impulse and ingenuity.
Peep is so excited to go trick-or-treating with her friend Egg. She wants to visit the duck pond and the cow pasture to get treats. But Egg thinks Halloween is too scary, with frightening monsters possibly lurking everywhere! Peep tells her jokes because laughing helps you feel less scared. Egg is still not cracking. But soon Egg learns that maybe trick-or-treating is not so scary after all when you have a friend to hold on to.
A Tiger Called Tomás - A new edition of the timeless classic by celebrated children’s author, Charlotte Zolotow, featuring Spanish words and phrases! When Tomás and his family moved to a new house on a new street, he took it into his head that the new people might not like him. “Of course they’d like you,” his mamá said. “Why wouldn’t they? ¿Por qué no? “ But Tomás didn’t answer. Tomás’s Mom encourages him to go out and meet the kids in his neighborhood, but Tomas is too shy. Instead, he sits on his stoop, watching the world go by. But on the night of Halloween, opportunity arrives in the form of a tiger costume, complete with a mask that hides his identity. He can go trick-or-treating without anyone knowing it’s him. But Tomás will soon discover his costume doesn’t hide him quite as well as he thinks…
Halloween Trick or Treat: A Colors Book - A red crayon, an orange pumpkin, a purple cat, a black vampire, a white ghost and more are included in this adorable Halloween colors book for toddlers. With Lydia Nichols’s fresh yet retro style illustrations and spot glitter making the cover extra festive, this board book is sure to be the perfect gift for young trick-or-treaters at Halloween.
Stardust - One little girl dreams of being a star. But whether it’s finding Mom’s lost wedding ring or winning the costume prize, her big sister always shines brighter. A story about how everything and everyone is made of stardust and we all shine in different ways
Is That You, Eleanor Sue? - Saturdays are dress-up days when Eleanor Sue Climbs out the window . . . Tiptoes over to the front door . . . And rings the doorbell. Ding dong. When her mother answers, she doesn’t see Eleanor Sue. She sees A cranky old neighbor. Or a hungry witch. Or a white-bearded wizard. Eleanor Sue is a master of disguise, but when her mother gets in on the act, along with Grandma, anything can happen in this whimsical picture book by award-winning author/illustrator Tricia Tusa.
It’s more than a book—it’s a mask! Every spread includes a funny fact about featured creatures, from bears to robots. And young readers will squeal in surprise to find that when this board book is opened, the eye-sized die-cuts allow each spread to become a mask! Kids will have a blast posing as a fly-eating frog or a mouse-chasing cat. Sure to be a hit during both story time and playtime!
This series of board books follows hard on the heel of the four ALL ABOUT CLIVE titles, which were enthusiastically received for celebrating diversity and challenging gender stereotypes. Helped by his good friends, Clive pretends to be a nurse, a waiter, a librarian and a teacher. The role-play of this diverse group is detailed, humorous, caring and thoughtful, and all readers will want to copy, share and talk about what they see.