1) Being as comfortable as possible: you can't possibly cover your child in fur, no matter the season - although you can see plenty of examples on the Internet of poor little things wrapped in heavy, way too warm costumes...probably getting steamed in there! or perhaps all living in Alaska?!
2) Looks: it needs to be recognisable, or the child won't see the point of wearing it
3) Relatively easy to make - I'm alright with crafty stuff, but as soon as it comes to clothing, I've pretty much got no idea...
However, have a look at these three simple costume I made in the last 12 months...
VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR COSTUME
Last year I made a Very Hungry Caterpillar costume (see my post here), which all in all came quite nice, mixing some basic crocheting and some basic sewing.
HONEY BEE COSTUME
A few months before that, I made a bee costume, which is really as easy as it gets (not sure about famous books with bees in them, though!? but worth keeping this in mind if you are running out of time).
All you need is a yellow or orange top (I have had to dye a white top, as couldn't find any yellow ones in the shops), some black or brown leggings, and black fabric (I've used corduroy) to make the stripes and the sting at the back, which I then stuffed with a cushion's stuffing. I found in a high street accessories' shop a lovely set of bee wings and antennae that helped making this very simple costume the winner of the nursery competition!
OWL COSTUME WITH WINGS AND MASK
How about dressing up as the owl in the Gruffalo? or Winnie the Pooh? I found this sweet idea in a blog called Llevo el Invierno, written in Spanish and English. Here you can find the instruction for the wings, pretty simple to make and assemble (no hems required, hurrah!), if only a little time consuming. I didn't attach the wings to my child's neck, though, I instead added two loops so that she can wear them like a rucksack on her shoulders.
To complete the costume, I made a little felt mask (I found a nice tutorial in a blog called Petit Poulou). My personal invention in the mask making was using an elastic band with a little spring stopper (taken from an old jacket - see pics below) to regulate it. This way, I hope, the mask can be adjusted more easily and last for longer.
But since I call her my Little Monkey...can you guess what this year's costume will be?! ;)