The best World Book Day costume ideas

There are no words to strike fear into the hearts of parents everywhere than ‘it’s World Book Day tomorrow’. Hopefully, your darling child has given you more than a day’s notice to pull an outfit together – but even if you’re short on time and low on crafting skills, our suggestions for homemade World Book Day costume ideas should help you make it through.

Of course, you can buy plenty of costumes online, but to us, nothing says World Book Day like a slightly lopsided costume, made with love and care. Here’s a little explanation on what the day’s all about, and a list of World Book Day costume ideas that won’t have you stressing too much.

What is World Book Day?

World Book Day is a charity event held every year. On World Book Day, every child in the UK in full-time education is given a voucher to spend on books, and schools across the country celebrate a love of the written word, and kids are encouraged to dress up as their favourite fictional characters from books and stories.

When is World Book Day?

World Book Day is on the first Thursday in March. World Book Day 2021 is on March 4th. There’s also a UNESCO Book Day, which is celebrated globally on  23rd April, but in the UK and Ireland, the date was moved to avoid getting in the way of Easter or St. George’s Day.

Homemade World Book Day costumes

Creating a last minute World Book Day costume is a time-honoured tradition for stressed-out parents everywhere. If you’re going to DIY it, here are some great ideas for homemade World Book Day costumes that don’t involve becoming an expert seamstress or costumer overnight.

Alice in Wonderland

You don’t need to go through the Looking Glass for this costume – all you need is a blue dress. Add a white apron (or fashion one out of a white sheet) and pair with black Mary Janes for an instantly recognisable Alice in Wonderland costume for your little girl this World Book Day. Add a white rabbit teddy bear or a plastic teapot for a fun Wonderland-themed accessory.

Peter Rabbit

The sweet and sneaky rabbit with a taste for Mr. McGregor’s vegetables, Peter Rabbit is a favourite with kids. Peter Rabbit and his friends make charming World Book Day costumes. You’ll need a blue shirt or hoodie, brown and pink paper or felt for ears, and ideally a bunch of carrots complete with green leafy bits!

Image source: Ali Sherwood

Where’s Wally

If you’re struggling for inspiration, how about one of the most recognisable book characters there is? The pages of Where’s Wally books are filled with variations on this iconic striped red and white jumper, hat, glasses and blue jeans. If you don’t have a suitably striped jumper, use red felt or fabric paint to create stripes on an old plain white t-shirt!

Harry Potter

The Boy Who Lived is the star of the best-selling book series of all time, and characters from the series will always make popular World Book Day costumes. Whether your little one would prefer to be Harry, Hermione, or even Dumbledore, there are plenty of ideas for World Book Day costumes to be found within the pages of these books. For a simple DIY Harry Potter costume for kids, you can fashion robes from an old large black t-shirt (check out this great DIY from My Mommy Style for a how-to) and make a tie from coloured felt. If you don’t have Harry’s iconic round glasses handy, you can always draw them on with facepaint, along with his lightning-bolt scar!

Image source: Heather’s Handmade Life

The Cat in the Hat

Dr Seuss’ beloved rhyming cat and his iconic striped hat are easy to recognise, and makes for an ideal homemade World Book Day costume. All you really need for this costume is a black sweater and trousers, red fabric or a scarf you can tie into a bow. For the titular hat, sew together strips of red and white felt, with card to make a top hat brim. If you have more than one child to costume this World Book Day, you could also create Thing 1 and Thing 2 costumes with red sweaters and pants and blue hats!

Image source: Mission to Save


For more inspiration and costume ideas, check out our guide to the best kids’ Halloween costume ideas, and check out our ‘How To’ section on the thortful blog for more great tips and DIYs!

 Header image source: Pexels