We really do adore World Book Day (it’s Thursday 2nd March this year, but check when your school is celebrating), but it can put a lot of pressure on parents. The BG kids are all bookworms, so, of course, they LOVE it, but trying to decide on a costume is always, er, shall we say, interesting, and often the firmest of decisions will change the day before the event, forcing a hastily pulled together, last-minute creation. We’ve updated and amalgamated our previous WBD posts to create this guide to help you make your child’s vision a reality (on a deadline and a budget)! Don’t forget to check out your amazing creations from last year for inspiration as well.
Mr Stink: ask the kids to mess up some old clothes and find a coat in a charity shop. Add a beard and string for a belt.
The Boy in a Dress: borrow a pink dress.
Gangsta Granny: one of my favourites – children dressed as OAPs are always hilarious – grey wig, hand-knitted top, black skirt, robber’s mask and sack.
Billionaire Boy: school uniform with loads of money (and maybe loo roll) attached.
Demon Dentist: White coat, white hair and drill.
Or any of The World’s Worst Children would be fun to do.
Red and white stripy top, stripy hat and toy penguin and bingo, you’re The Boy from Lost & Found, Up & Down and The Way Back Home. Or a penguin suit to become the boy’s friend. We’ve also seen brilliant renditions of less prominent quirky characters like the star and the seagull from How to Catch a Star.
One for the minibeast fans. For 2015’s Brighton Festival Children’s Parade, Alfie’s school was given The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We stuck green and yellow foam eyes and lilac pipe cleaners on red swimming caps which looked brilliant – you could team with green t-shirt and trousers for full effect. Or opt for colourful butterfly wings. Or recycle that Halloween costume for The Very Busy Spider.
Lots of options if you have a Donaldson fan in the house. Brown t-shirt and leggings, plus twigs stuck to a crown and cuffs = Stick Man. Black spots glued to a red tabard, plus black card crown with antennae (or deely boppers if you have them) = the Ladybird from What the Ladybird Heard. Adapt a pirate costume to look like a highwayman (think velvet, gold buttons, mask and swag bag) and facepaint whiskers = The Highway Rat. Woodland animal fancy dress = owl, fox or mouse from The Gruffalo. Got a witch costume in the dressing up box? You’re Room on the Broom. I also like the idea of cutting out and decorating a huge paper doll shape for The Paper Dolls.
There are quite a few Dahl characters that are simple and quick to put together, but high impact. How about Mr or Mrs Twit? Messy clothes plus a wig or beard with various disgusting things attached. Or the gruesome children from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are relatively easy to emulate. George from George’s Marvellous Medicine just calls for blue trousers and a red top, when Alfie did this, we covered a wooden spoon with foil and he wore it, along with an over-sized brown plastic medicine bottle, round his neck. Fantastic Mr Fox is pretty simple – smart clothes teamed with a fox tail and mask, and you’re good to go. Try this mask tutorial – you need a cereal pack, glue and paint. Sophie from The BFG just requires a nightdress, pigtails and glasses.
Mr Men by Roger Hargreaves
So easy. You just need two big sheets of card to make a tabard and then trousers/tights the right colour. There are some great tutorials out there, like this Mr Bump one. Just adapt to your favourite character.
Professor Astrocat’s Frontiers of Space by Dominic Walliman
This was Alfie’s choice last year. Luckily, we already owned a spacesuit, so I just copied, enlarged and printed out the professor’s face, cut it out and stuck to card to make a mask, plus we made ID cards and a badge.
Meg and Mog by Jan Pienkowski
Time to dig out the Halloween costumes. Add gold buckles to school shoes and you’re done. You can either use a toy cat as Mog, or, as Pienkowski’s characters are very simple, you could print off a large version of Mog and the owl and use as templates to make felt versions. This could be adapted for so many books – The Witches, The Worst Witch, the Winnie the Witch series – just add distinguishing details.
Funny Bones by Allan and Janet Ahlberg
Skeleton (costume) in the cupboard? Another great opportunity to get your money’s worth from that Halloween outfit.
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
This is just ace and can be achieved in an evening. All you need is rainbow coloured felt, shiny fabric, an old tee, an alice band and your sewing kit (although I’d be tempted to hot glue). Check out the tutorial over at Here Come The Girls.
Paddington Bear by Michael Bond
Alfie has also been Paddington, as he happens to have a Gloverall duffle coat in the perfect shade of royal blue. You could go down the face paint route, or grab one of those bear hats and glove sets you see everywhere and stuff the glove bits down the arms of the coat. We bought a cheap red hat and cut holes for ears as we have a bear headband. You’ll also need wellies, a small suitcase and a luggage tag with ‘Please look after this bear’ written on. And, of course, marmalade sandwiches.
Mr Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown
An upgrade on The Tiger Who Came to Tea costume – just add top hat and tails.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Brown outfit. Blue jacket. Bunny tail. Bit of face paint. Team those with homemade ears on a headband (Martha Stewart has a super easy tutorial) or use a printable rabbit mask. Make a felt radish or carrot for extra points.
Angelina Ballerina by Katherine Holabird
If you have a little ballet lover in your house, this is another easy costume. They need their ballet outfit, some mouse ears – just adapt the rabbit-ear tutorial above – and a long mouse-like tail. Check out our gallery to see this in action.
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Dawalt
Choose a colour. Wear relevant t-shirt and leggings, make a paper wrapper, pop on a pointy hat. Job done.
The Bear’s Song by Benjamin Chaud
Bear suits are the cutest and work well for Papa or Little Bear. Attach a bee on a pipe cleaner.
As I write, Alfie wants to go as Harry Potter (easy, as Father Christmas brought him Harry’s wand, glasses, Gryffindor robes and scarf), Kitty wants to be Rosie Revere: Engineer (bit more involved, but I’ll get there!) and Lola has her heart set on Little Red Riding Hood (Claire has a cape no-sew weekend planned) – we’ll be sharing pictures next week. Don’t forget to show us what your little ones have dressed up as. Email your photos to team@ , upload them to our Facebook page or, if you’re a blogger, leave a link to your blog post below.