Mama OWL Blog: 10 easy kids fancy dress costume ideas for World Book Day

10 easy kids fancy dress costume ideas for World Book Day

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

World Book Day logo
Now in its 16th year, World Book Day falls on March 7th 2013. WBD was started as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries around the world. WBD is a partnership of publishers, booksellers and interested parties who work together to promote books and reading for the enjoyment of all. A primary aim of World Book Day in the UK & Ireland is to encourage kids to explore the pleasures of books and reading by giving them the opportunity to have a book of their own.

So to mark the day, all school children are entitled to receive a World Book Day £1 Book Token (or equivalent €1.50 Book Token in Ireland) which can be exchanged for one of eight specially published World Book Day £1 Books, or is redeemable against any book or audio book of their choice costing £2.99 or more at a participating bookshop or book club. The World Book Day £1 Book Token will be valid from 25 February to 24 March 2013.

Last year I totally forgot about World Book Day until the very last minute, when I needed to scramble around throwing together costumes for my three boys out of what I had in the house.

Now, I know I am not the only person who is (a) forgetful (b) disorganised or (c) both and thought I would put together a few ideas  to help out other parents in need who need some last minute (or indeed just thrifty) ideas for easy fancy dress costumes for World Book Day that are no-sew and won't cost the Earth. Here are my quick & simple costume tips -

1. HORRID HENRY/MOODY MARGARET - blue & yellow stripe top (you could colour in a white t-shirt if you don't happen to have one in your child's wardrobe) with a pair of jeans and trainers, and a teddy (aka Mr Kill).
For Moody Margaret, you'll need a green skirt teamed with a green cardigan and a purple striped top with hair styled into a high ponytail.

World Book Day costume idea
2. FUNNY BONES - Recycle that Halloween costume and dress your child up as a Skeleton from Funny Bones. There is also a book called 'Where's My Mummy?', or a witch from 'Room on the Broom'... You can see where I am going with this. Check out your dressing up box and see what costumes you can reuse!

3. HARRY & HIS BUCKET FULL OF DINOSAURS - Red and/or yellow top, jeans, trainers (Harry wears red converse style) with a blue plastic bucket full of dinosaurs!

4. MR MEN - A blue t-shirt with some jeans or blue trousers/leggings, finished off with some bandages wrapped round in a haphazard fashion and you have Mr Bump.

5. OLIVER TWIST - Some too small or three quarter length black trousers or shorts, a plain white school shirt and a black waistcoat or old jacket and you have Oliver Twist. A baker boy hat if you happen to have one handy will finish off the look, and an old steel or wooden bowl.

6. WHERE'S WALLY/WHERE'S WANDA - A red & white striped top (again, you can always colour in or even paint a plain white one), with some blue jeans or a blue skirt & red/white stripe leggings or tights. A thick pair of black glasses (just pop the lenses out of a 3D pair from the cinema if you have a pair or two hanging about) and a red/white beanie hat finishes off the look, as would a wooden walking cane (not entirely sure about the practicality of that prop but it's an idea!).

7. DEMENTOR - This one could not be more simple, some old black cloth draped over your child with eye & breathing holes cut out and raggedy edges, maybe a skeleton costume underneath, and you have a Dementor straight out of the Harry Potter books.

8. PRINCESS - Somewhat generic, but a world of possibilities from Cinderella to the Princess & the Pea, or simply as one of the 12 Dancing Princesses. A perfectly legitimate costume idea, and not a lot of effort required if you happen to have one in your child's dressing up box.

9. GREEK GOD/GODDESS - Do you have some white sheets and a safety pin? Good! Drape them around your child, and maybe fashion a headdress out of something from the garden or with some florist wire & artificial flowers/greenery, with sandals to finish it off (sorry, I know it's cold). Or perhaps along the same lines, you could use an old white pillow case with some arm holes & a head hole cut out, with a belt tied around the waist for an Egyptian King, or Cleopatra.

10. PIRATE - Again, we're delving into the realms of the generic, but you can't beat a good old fashioned pirate costume. Lots of us have them in fancy dress box, if not then an old black or red t-shirt tied around the head like a bandana (if you don't happen to have an old handkerchief or actual bandana that you could use) with some too-small or rolled up black trousers (school trousers, possibly) and a white or striped t-shirt with a drawn-on eye patch, and a goatee if you fancy it to complete the look.

I hope that this list has given someone in need some inspiration, if you have any easy costume ideas to add to this list please leave a comment and share your tips!


  1. Simple but excellent fancy dress ideas.Thanks for it.

  2. Wonderful costumes. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Lovely ideas here, I like the Mr Bump one, now to persuade one of my 3 to be Mr (or mrs?) Bump, lol! x

  4. Thanks - love these ideas! Hope you don't mind me linking to them from my blog!

  5. You've given some great ideas....Thanks

  6. Mr Bump my son shall be...great ideas...

  7. I just love world book day. It reminds me of my childhood days. Its the day filled with fun and excitement.

  8. The tips are very useful. Alice in wonderland costumes are also good choice.It's easy to pick up the blue color costume and white apron

  9. Great ideas, but to be honest I am just very grateful that World Book Day does not - yet - involve dressing up here in Ireland!


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