Saturday, 31 October 2015

Toddler Halloween Costume // Literary Inspiration

One of the most popular picture books for our family story time is The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat. This whimsical story is loosely based on the nonsensical poetry of Edward Lear's own Owl and the Pussycat. Written by Coral Rumble and illustrated by Rumble's daughter, Charlotte Cooke, this delightful rhyming story tells the tale of two children who imagine themselves as the title characters, embarking on a magical adventure on the sea. They build a cardboard boat and make plenty of interesting encounters along their trip. My two children love to read this story over and over and they've heard it enough times that they now like to recite along as I read the tale.

The first page reads...

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a box on the living room floor,
They sailed away for a year and a day
And these are the things that they saw... 

I always prefer reading a kid's book that has a lovely rhythmic flow to it, like this one! And this story just so happens to feature two children who clearly have a soft spot for DIY & handmade (did you see all those craft supplies?!), so really, how could I not fall in love with this book?! 

As I was thinking about the kids' Halloween costumes, I was so excited to see that one of the most amazing creators out there, Brittany Watson Jepsen, from The House that Lars Built, has been recreating children's books as part of her Halloween series this year. She's already created 6 costumes, including two of our favourite books, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and Chrysanthemum. Everything Jepsen does is perfection and once again, she nails Halloween with these great options! Definitely give her website a view- you'll be thrilled you found her!

So with inspiration by The House That Lars Built's literary inspired costumes and by the gorgeous illustrations in Rumble's book, we set out to recreate the first page of The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat as a Halloween costume.

For the Pussycat
Materials: Hairband, Cardboard, White and Pink Paper, Glue Gun, White Tube Sock, String, Stuffing, Blue Top, Telescope 

1. For the cat ears:
Cut 2 small triangles from cardboard.

Line the triangles up to create a diamond and trace the shape onto white felt. Repeat.
Cut a slightly smaller triangle from pink felt. Repeat.
Glue the cardboard triangles to the headband.
Wrap the white felt diamonds under the headband and glue to the cardboard triangles.
Glue pink felt onto the white felt.
2. For the cat tail:
Fill a white tube sock with stuffing.
Tie off the sock and attach to child's waist with string.

For the Owl
Materials: Blue Round Glasses, Feathers, Ribbon, Glue Gun,  Striped Top, Orange Paper, Zots Glue Dots

1. For the feather headband:
Cut a strip of ribbon to fit the child's head.
Use the hot glue gun to attach the feathers to the ribbon.
2. For the nose:
Cut a triangle from orange paper.
Bend the triangle in half.
Attach a Glue Dot to the bottom side and stick to nose.

For the Boat
Materials: Cardboard Box, Leatherman, Sharpie Marker, Blue Posterboard, Glue, Broomstick, Green Cloth

1. Cut two holes with the Leatherman in the front panel of the box for portholes. 
2. Use the Sharpie Marker to draw the circle around the holes and add black dots for bolts. 
3. Cut a strip of blue posterboard to create the waves that the boat floats on.
4. Tie the green clothing to the top of broomstick and place in center of boat to create the boat's sail. 
5. Place box on blue blankets, like a boat floating in the sea. 

For the Extra Accessories: Map in a Bottle, Anchor, Bunting, Pirate Flag, Ship Flag
Materials: Cardboard Tube, Map, Lighter, Colored Paper, Ribbon, Scissors, Hole Punch, 2 Plastic Bottles, Washi Tape, Chalk 

1. Using an old map, light the corners on fire and burn a few holes and brown spots to give the map a vintage feel. Roll and place halfway in an empty bottle. 
2. Cut several triangular pieces from your colored paper. Add hole punches to the top, and string the triangles onto a ribbon to create the bunting.  
3. For the anchor, cut slits in the bottom of an empty water bottle. Cut anchor hooks from cardboard and place in the bottle slits. Glue a straw about a third down. Attach string. 
4. Pirate flag is a sheet of black paper with a skull and crossbones drawn with chalk. 
5. Boat flag is a blue sheet of paper attached to a cardboard tube with washi tape. 

How adorable is this little setup?! In addition to being perfect for dress-up playtime, it doubles as a Halloween costume too! But even if you don't recreate these costumes, you still must have a read of The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat. A little bit of magic and whimsy before bed is always a great end to your child's day! What are your favourite bedtime stories? Are your costumes inspired by a literary character? Wishing all our readers and friends a very Happy Halloween! 


  1. Great story, great costumes and looks like these two will have great adventures amount the high seas!

    1. We are always looking for an adventure! Super fun!!

  2. There are so many children's books that are amazing. You made an excellent choice Erin. The kids look so great, they must have loved doing this! Classic Harry with the telescope upside down!

    1. Ha! That is so H! :P and it was hard to choose a book, there are so many amazing stories that we adore! This one is extra special though!


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