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World Book Day 2023: what it's all about and costume inspiration

In 2023, World Book Day is on Thursday 2 March. But fear not the costume conundrum – we're here to save the day with some brilliant, not to mention easy, costume ideas gleaned from years of Mumsnet users' experience.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Feb 28, 2023

Children reading

When is World Book Day 2023?

This year, World Book Day is on Thursday 2 March. In the UK, it is always held on the first Thursday in March.

The main focus of the event is the £1 book tokens that are distributed by schools and nurseries and can be redeemed against the World Book Day £1 books or against full-price books or audiobooks that cost £2.99 or more. Tokens can be used in most major bookshops and supermarkets and are valid from 16 February – 26 March 2023.

World Book Day was originally created by UNESCO, and has been celebrated since April 1995. The premise is to celebrate and encourage reading but has become primarily known as a day to dress children up as book characters. See below for parent-approved resources on pulling together a World Book Day costume without the fuss.

75 easy World Book Day costume ideas

Burglar costume

Be inspired by these fuss-free World Book Day costume ideas. From book characters that wear normal clothes to simple costumes organised by colour, we've thought of everything.

Roald Dahl character costumes

Roald Dahl characters

These costumes aren't just for Roald Dahl Day. Try a famous Dahl character costume on for size – the hardest part is choosing which brilliant character to be.

Last-minute costumes

Famous literature characters

If you've left it to the day before, or only just found the crumpled letter from school stuffed into a pocket, these grab-and-go, quick-fix costumes are just the ticket. With a maximum of three items required, they're lightning fast to cobble together.

World Book Day costumes video

If you need more of a visual to help get you in the World Book Day spirit, take a look at this video tutorial which will show you how to make three fab literary costumes.