Tricks & Treats: Halloween Costume and Book Pairings

Halloween is coming, and for many middle graders, that means there’s going to be a character parade at school. What’s a character parade? That’s when your middle grader student dresses up as their favorite book character and parade around school. The catch is that they have to bring a book featuring that character to display with their costume. What are you supposed to do if your middle grader wants to dress up as the latest TV or video game characters? Don’t worry! We here at Mixed-Up Files have got you covered.

Here are some books to bring along that complement popular character costumes.

The most popular costumes this Halloween are rumored to be characters from the videogame, Fortnite. With a little imagination, these costumes can also represent some great middle-grade characters. Say, your middle grader wants to dress up as a:

Dark Voyager:  That’s basically an astronaut costume in black instead of white. Any nonfiction books about astronauts should fit the bill here, like Astronaut, Aquanaut by Jennifer Swanson. Or if you’d prefer a fiction book, middle grade books about space travel would work. Try The Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Silvensky. For more space-travel related books, check out our list here.



Black Knight: This is exactly what it sounds like, and again, nonfiction books can be your friends. Try Knights and Armor by Jim Pipe. But there are also plenty of fiction books about knights too.  For example, the Have Sword, Will Travel series by Garth Nix.



Or a Skull Trooper:  With the addition of a few pieces of clothing found around the house, this is a pretty versatile costume. Add a trench coat and a fedora, a skull trooper becomes Skullduggery Pleasant, the titular character from Derek Landy’s series. With a frilly black shirt, a blue bow, and a pair of jean shorts, you’ve got Cinderskella from the Scarily Ever After series. Or, if you’d prefer to go the nonfiction route, human body books such as Human Body Theater by Maris Wicks would be a good choice.


Of course, not all middle graders want to be characters from Fortnite. Other popular characters may include superheroes, such as Black Panther. There are plenty of books and graphic novels to represent characters from these realms. For Black Panther fans there’s, Black Panther the Young Prince by Ronald L. Smith. Also the Marvel Super Hero Adventures graphic novel series features several Marvel characters, including Black Panther. Tom Angleberger of Origami Yoda fame also has a series featuring Rocket and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. The DC Superhero Girls books and graphic novels feature many DC heroes. For DC superheros such as Batman and Superman, the Super Powers would be a good series to use. The Secret Hero Society series would also be a good choice for understated superhero costumes.

But what if none of these books are available, or your middle-grader has a costume that they can’t or won’t wear to school?

Here are some quick costume suggestions based on items that you have around your own home.

Evangeline from Evangeline of the Bayou by Jan Eldredge: Evangeline is a swamp witch just like her grandmother who fights off monsters and werewolves in a girl-powered “Little Red-Riding Hood” retelling. This costume is pretty simple. All you need is a jeans, boots, and a red hoodie.



Devin Dexter from Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies and From Sunset till Sunrise by Jonathan Rosen: Devin hunts monsters with the help of his cousin Tommy. In Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, he fights evil Christmas toys, and in his latest adventure, he’s facing vampires. Devin’s outfit is pretty easy to pull off with sensible shoes, jeans, a white button down, green sweater vest, and a brown outer coat.


Alcatraz Smedry from Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz series vs. the Evil Librarians series: Alcatraz Smedry is so unlucky that for his thirteenth birthday, he receives a bag of sand that is supposedly his inheritance. Then, the bag of sand is stolen, and a crazy man claiming to be Alcatraz’s grandfather convinces him to face off against the evil librarians who stole it. Alcatraz’s outfit is fairly simple with jeans, a white t-shirt, and a green jacket. Also, very important is a pair of glasses. You can be as creative with these as you like.

Gratuity “Tip” Tucci from The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex: Gratuity “Tip” Tucci embarks on a journey to find her mother after aliens invade Earth. Along the way, she befriends an alien who calls himself J. Lo, who helps her find her mom and escape the other alien race that shows up to take over. While Tip’s clothing is never really described in the book, you can easily create the costume from the movie adaptation costume with jeans, a green hoodie, and red sneakers.


These are just a few of our costume and book suggestions for your character parade. What costumes are you planning?

Mimi Powell on Email
Mimi Powell
Mimi Powell decided to run away to a theme park instead of a museum. It was so much fun she decided to live in Orlando, FL... land of theme parks. When she's not riding roller coasters, Mimi writes scary stories and buys books for libraries. She can be found on Twitter and on her website, talking about books and writing.