Easy World Book Day Costumes – You’ve Got This!

Come on, we all know it’s true. A part of our brain always dreads World Book Day, and honestly just thinks that there are no Easy World Book Day Costumes.

Of course it’s a wonderful scheme, and anything at all which gets kids engaged and involved with books wins my vote.


Ye gods, it’s not like we parents don’t have enough to do, is it?

We may Home Educate now, but trust me, I’ve been there.
Oh yes. I’ve been that parent up until two in the morning crafting away to make sure their kid isn’t embarrassed when they arrive in the playground.

The particular year in these photos we weren’t allowed free reign to choose – we had to create a costume from a specified book. No.1 was given ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’. In case you’re not sure, that’s a Minotaur. Particularly proud of that one. And not at ALL bitter that it didn’t win.
Jolly’s a penguin from ‘Creatures Of The Sea’ (have never even seen the book, no idea if it has penguins in it, but he looked adorable).
And for some inexplicable reason, Boy’s teacher chose Dick King Smith’s ‘Hodgeheg’. Seriously. A class full of parents instantly united in hair-pulling. The book just contains hedgehogs. A hedgehog costume? But when Boy explained the storyline involved road crossing, I jokingly suggested he should go as the Pelican Crossing. Parental eyes met, we grinned… and whilst I constructed a tunic out of an old pillowcase and glued on strips cut from an old black tee of mine, Mr LittleStuff performed amazing magic with toilet rolls and yellow balloons.
Boy DID win a prize that year :)

But of course, we’ve also been the other parent in the playground. The nightmarishly busy one who’s forcing their way into Tesco (the only place within a 15 mile radius at the time which sold costumes – and yes, if you’re also that despreate parent, then Tesco is definitely an ace place to dash into, they have a whole range of quick easy World Book Day Costumes) three minutes before closing to snatch up the last outfit on the rail (in our case Harry Potter’s Quidditch robes), whilst convincing child no.2 that of course Jack Sparrow is from a book, so he can easily use his brother’s pirate dressing up outfit from his birthday. Besides, it’s not Pirates of the Caribbean – as of today it’s Treasure Island. Nothing more literary than that.

One year Boy’s class was given the Katie Morag books, and with confidence and relish he decided to go as Granny Island. He donned one of my floral tunics as a dress, we had a grey wig in the dressing up box… and off he went. Not for one second did his 8yr old self believe spending a day in an old lady dress might leave him open to ridicule – and such was his panache that he made it all the way through to lunchtime before realising a dress isn’t up to football on the field, and switching for his PE kit for the rest of the day. I was pretty proud, actually.

Or there was the truly spectacular year we ended up placing a belt through a large poster tube, and No.1 wore his jacket and jeans, confidently entering the playground as Nick Cage in National Treasure (no, he didn’t need to know that was never a book first. And the film totally featured books. Probably. Maps, anyway.)

So if you’re starting to fret, here’s a few ideas to get you started on simple, easy costumes that’ll have your very own book character entering the playground with the least amount of parental stress… (do of course feel free to request instructionals on that spectacular Pelican Crossing or Minotaur effort up above…)

Easy World Book Day Costumes

1. Dennis the Menace

Dennis the menace costume top

You could of course go to all the effort of painting black stripes on a red top. Or… you can just buy Dennis t-shirt from Beano… Not really a cheaty outfit if it’s just a top, right?

Some big red socks, PE shorts, normal school shoes, and if you want to show a little more effort you can even make the hair if you follow this pdf from BookAid… We suggest you don’t supply a catapult though. Frankly, that’d be asking for trouble.

2. Wimpy Kid

Easy World Book Day Costumes

SO simple. Basically, this is their PE Kit, with a backpack and a ‘diary’. And even the most challenged of artists can manage a Wimpy Kid mask!

3. Funnybones

Easy World Book Day Costumes from halloween
girls in skeleton costumes – image courtesy of Shutterstock

Got a halloween costume from last year in the cupboard? Repurpose it! Skeletons work as characters from Funnybones, of course, but witches & wizards, ghosts, ghouls and spiders all have plenty of literary references to choose from too! Or you can always just go with an old stretch of black material and some face paints of course…

4. The Mr Men

Loving this Mr Men costume idea from Ladyland – and it doesn’t have to be Mr Messy (though it’s probably easiest on the paint supplies); you can make pretty much use most of the Mr Men or Little Misses as Easy World Book Day Costumes in this fashion. A circle and yellow paint for Mr Happy. A many-pointed star and blue paint for Mr Sneeze. A circle with orange paint and a blue bow in the hair for Little Miss Fun…

5. Matilda

Matilda. We love her, she’s a proper children’s literature icon – and she couldn’t be easier to ‘be’! A blue dress, a red ribbon in her hair, a book or two under her arm – and hey presto. you have a Matilda!

For more inspiration, the Bookaid website has over 40 simple World Book Day costume ideas, with free printable pdf instructables to follow. 

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Easy World Book Day Costumes

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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