How to Make My Own Despereaux Costume

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Things You'll Need

  • Red leggings
  • Large dark green socks
  • Dark green shirt with buttons
  • Length of red rope to fit around waist
  • 24-inch metal skewer
  • Pencil
  • 2 pieces thin cardboard, each 6 by 6 inches
  • 2 pieces peach or pink felt, each 6 by 6 inches
  • Scissors
  • Strong glue
  • Red or orange aviator cap
  • Brown eyeliner
  • Handkerchief

Kate DiCamillo's Newberry Award-winning "The Tale of Despereaux" was first published in 2003, with a movie version released in 2008. In the book, though the sickly-but-brave mouse Despereaux wears an outfit consisting of nothing but a needle for a sword and a bit of red thread for a scabbard and belt, the movie version of Despereaux has more complicated dress. Combining elements of both into one costume can help appeal to both the avid reader and movie-goer when it comes to dressing up.

Put on the leggings, then the socks. Wear socks without shoes if you will be inside, and wear the socks over your shoes if you will be outside.

Put on the shirt, buttoning all buttons but the last two. Wrap the rope around your waist and tie it in a knot. Place the skewer next to your hip and wrap the remaining rope around it, knotting it again to keep it by your side.

Despereaux  is
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Sketch the shape of a mouse ear (see image) on one piece of cardboard, then cut it out and use the template to cut out the same shape from the other piece of cardboard and the felt pieces.

Glue the felt to the cardboard and wait about five minutes for it to become tacky.

Bend down the straighter edges of the ears, then place glue on the bottom of the edge. Glue one ear on each side of the aviator cap and wait about 10 minutes for it to dry.

Draw whiskers on your face with the eyeliner, then put the aviator cap on, grab your handkerchief, and prepare to make your own tales.


  • Try moving around with the attached skewer before going out so you know how it moves with you. Despereaux's tail is cut off in the book, so a tail is optional with this costume. Consider carrying a bowl with your costume to represent the plot-important soup. You can even put a plastic rat in the bowl to represent Roscuro.


  • "The Tale of Despereaux"; Kate DiCamillo; 2003


About the Author

Aube Ergine began writing professionally for Demand Media in 2010 and has experience with grant writing, activity and event planning, and lesson planning. She has worked with children and youth for 15 years in schools and recreational settings.

Photo Credits

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