The ultimate don’t panic World Book Day costume guide

Happy Friday. Today we share with you what’s going on behind the scenes at Team Netmums. This week we’ve been getting our act together early for World Book Day so you can avoid that last minute panic…


Last week Nikki from Team Netmums posted a very poignant message on her Facebook page that made a shiver run down most of her friends spines: “Just read those words every mum dreads at this time of year… book character day!!!”

And Nic had a call from her friend that included the immortal line: “It’s only weeks away – you’ve got to start thinking NOW to buy all those weird things you might need in time from Ebay. You can’t ignore it you know….”

Any time soon we expect you too will uncover a letter if you haven’t already (beneath a squashed banana at the bottom of a school bag) which will say:

‘World Book Day is on  6th March and the pupils are invited to come into

Gangsta Granny

Gangsta Granny

school dressed up as a character from a book’

If this is your first time reading these words you may well be thinking: ‘Oh – that sounds fun. Love anything that encourages a love of reading….Then…..Hang on though -characters from a  book? Hmmm, that’s a bit tricky isn’t it?’

If you have already been through one or two (or more) World Book Days and if you have more than one child then chances are the panic will be setting in and you might find yourself waking in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. BUT stress not. We are getting in early this year with some hassle free, no-sew and very easy peasy costume ideas that you can bookmark and come back to a few nights before the big day (because we know that’s when you really start to panic and start to cobble together a costume or two).

Our ideas might not win any ‘Best costume’ awards on the day – but they’ll do and they’re fun and they get the seal of approval from the kids and that’s surely what it’s all about isn’t it?

wbd collage

We present you with the panic quelling World Book Day costume guide:

  1. Don’t let the kids decide. The number one golden rule. Just don’t. They’ll only come up with some impossible costume ideas that you neither have the time, patience or creative energy to produce. Stop them right now in their tracks. Decide what you’re going for then sell them the idea.
  2. Rummage in the dressing up box/wardrobe – what is in there? A witch’s
    Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz

    Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz

    costume – brilliant – they can be The Worst Witch or Meg (carry a stuffed cat Mog) or The Room on the Broom (staple a few sorry looking soft toys to a Halloween left over broomstick). You’ve got a gingham summer school dress? Sorted – grab a stuffed toy dog and a basket and red shoes and they can be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Got a ballet outfit? Hoorah – they can be Angelina Ballerina. Got pyjamas? (who hasn’t? – that would be weird) they can be Charlie Bucket or one of the Lost Boys. You get the idea.

  3. Beg or borrow last year’s costume from someone else. Phone a friend/family member/general acquaintance if need be and ask what their child dressed up as last year then ask if they still have the costume and borrow it. They have done all the hard work – you just need to get the costume to your door and you’re sorted. Sit back with a slightly  smug grin on your face as all the other parents panic!
  4. Think Harry Potter  – this one’s easy peasy – you simply buy/beg/borrow a black gown or cloak, add a zig zag scar in eye liner to a boy’s forehead or a stuffed cat to hold for a girl (or source a ginger wig for Ron) and chuck a stick/wand at your child then job done. Not original but still a solid costume.
  5. Think nursery rhyme – they’re still books right? Goldilocks is easy – make a wig from thick plaited yellow wool, add a nice dress and hold three bears. Red Riding Hood – make a red cloak and carry a basket. Got a cow costume? Then staple a cardboard moon to a skipping rope and you’ve got  a witty ‘Cow jumped over the moon’.
  6. Think Roald Dahl – a positive glut of characters to dress up as – white night dress
    James and the Giant Peach

    James and the Giant Peach

    and glasses and you have Sophie from the BFG. A pillow case sprayed gold and and a bit of wire to frame it and you have a Golden ticket. A beige mac and a whip (from under the bed (!?) or cover a branch with duct tape) and you have Miss Trunchbowl.

  7. Think animal then find a book – if you have or can fashion an animal costume then you are on to a winner – chances are you can rummage the bookshelves to find a book starring said beast. We’re thinking Cat in the Hat, Fantastic Mr Fox, Aslan, Shark in the Park, any animal from Wind in the Willows. It all relies on clutching a book prominently.
  8. Nick someone elses’ ideas – luckily we have now built up a big Netmums bank of fab ideas. Browse and pick at your leisure. There might be a bit of making/sourcing/E-baying to do but you’ve got plenty of time.

More World Book Day costume ideas than you can shake a stick at

Find our top World Book Day costume ideas here

Browse through the hundreds of costume ideas sent in by Netmums members

Find yet more ideas and more handy tips over on Netmums

Find some fantastic Roald Dahl character costume ideas here

Last year our wonderful bloggers came up with some truly gorgeous costumes to make for World Book Day – find them here.

About The Netmums Blog

The Netmums Blog brings you a behind the scenes look at Netmums, as well as some fabulous guest bloggers and an up to date look at what's new on our Parent Bloggers Network.
This entry was posted in Authors, Books and reading, Dressing up ideas, World Book Day and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The ultimate don’t panic World Book Day costume guide

  1. my favourite easy costume for a reception child was pooh bear. which was pooh bear ears bought a decade before, yellow tee, jeans and the proper pooh bear tee of a giant pooh bear we have. done 🙂

  2. Samantha says:

    A really nice one, is black leggings, black top (boy or girl) and make a cardboard red and white striped top hat and go as ‘The Cat in the Hat’, make sure you get an old black pair of tights for the tail and draw on some whiskers.

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