Your ultimate guide to World Book Day costumes

February 24, 2021

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Whether you love it or loath it, World Book Day is coming. Traditionally the first Thursday in the month of March, it’s a time of mixed emotions – and not just for the children, but parents too. Having to decide the character your child would like to be and then trying your hardest to replicate that look to the very smallest detail… it’s no wonder that many of us just buy in the easiest costume we can find.

In fact, a recent survey ran by nursery chain, Kiddi Caru, to parents on the very subject, revealed that 60% do just bite the bullet and pay for the costume of choice, while over one in four admitted to feeling pressurised or judged for the outfit. It’s no surprise, therefore, to reveal that the majority of us do not enjoy making costumes, and believe there is too much emphasis on that alone – rather than the encouragement of reading, the bonding over a story, or evoking imagination.

But if you’re looking for ideas and inspiration for World Book Day costumes, read on.

Re-use, re-cycle, re-imagine

The easiest costumes can be pulled together by items you may already have lying around the house. Dig out the witch’s outfit from Halloween and you’ve got yourself Meg & Mog, The Worst Witch, or The Witches. Fancy a pyjama day? Go as The Boy in Striped Pyjamas. David Walliams’ The Boy in the Dress is a popular choice each year, and couldn’t be simpler to create – if you haven’t got a dress, a baggy t-shirt will suffice. 

Another popular choice from those surveyed was Harry Potter, receiving 30% of the votes. And let’s be honest, that’s a basic school uniform with some accessories and embellishments. So, rather than think you need to go all out – or go out of your way to buy a ready-made costume – take a look at what you can create from more simpler items. Which leads nicely on to the next point.

Get crafty – and get the kids involved

As much as reading together is important for bonding and development, why not take that to the next level and get your child to help you create the costume of their dreams? Whether it’s something as simple as getting all the materials together, helping with the measuring, cutting and sticking, or acting as the perfect model once the outfit is complete. 

While 43% of the participants surveyed said that they do enjoy making a costume for World Book Day, over half (53%) of parents also said that their child didn’t help – perhaps we need to enrol the services of our little ones to make it more enjoyable?

By getting your child to help out, not only will you evoke creativity, but they will also have the satisfaction of knowing they made their costume, which they will then wear with pride.

Take a look at my Thing 1 & Thing 2 World Book Day costume tutorial

How to make Thing 1 and Thing 2 costume - Niamh and Roo (World Book Day Costumes)

Scour the internet and platforms like Pinterest

Once you (or your child) have decided on the costume, and if it’s not something you can create readily from materials at home, have a look online. There are so many free resources out there to act as your inspiration. Pinterest is an ideal platform, because not only can you use it as a mood board to pin all your ideas in one place, it’s also home to so many resources – from print-outs to tutorials.

YouTube is ideal when looking for how-to tutorials, or visual step-by-step guides. If you’re stuck on a particular part of the costume, you can always pause and go back to it. 

Or check out other online blogs, websites or forums for tip and tricks, or to get a second opinion. Here are some great resources for different costumes:

  • Pinterest has loads of options for Harry Potter costumes, especially if you are needing a house badge to attach to a jumper
  • A visual step-by-step with clear instructions to create Elsa’s iconic braid is perfect for dressing up your princess
  • Have a pre-schooler? The Gruffalo website has a whole host of information, from face painting to no-sew costumes

Bite the bullet and purchase a costume

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with buying a costume. Amongst its advantages is that it can be reused for future occasions, whether that’s World Book Day 2022, a fancy-dress party – or even just dressing up at home for role play. Similarly, if you’re not a dab-hand with the sewing machine, the quality will be much better. You could always hybrid between shop-bought and hand-made – teaming a ready-made costume with face paints or masks and crafty accessories. 

Talking of pre-made costumes, did you know that 68% of parents agreed that superhero outfits are suitable for World Book Day – and it’s not surprising, therefore, to see that superheroes were the joint-third most popular choice for 2021 costumes (17%). So, grab that Spiderman morphsuit, and don’t let anyone stop you!

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