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73 easy World Book Day costume ideas

World Book Day is nigh (Thursday 2 March 2017) so begin the panicked scrambles in the fancy dress box and frantic internet searches for “easy children's costumes” – or, avoid the chaos with this bumper crop of simple costume ideas, and have more time for inspiring a love of reading

Book characters that wear normal clothes

It’s an absolute godsend (and definitely not a cop-out) to find some book characters look just like your average child. Simply add appropriate accessories to these “costumes” for a fuss-free World Book Day morning.

book characters that wear normal clothes costumes world book day

Harry – Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs by Ian Whybrow
Charlie Bucket – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Sophie – Sophie's Adventures by Dick King-Smith

Book characters that wear pyjamas

Another easy trick for the smoothest bed-to-school transition in history.

Tom – Tom's Midnight Garden by Phillippa Pearce
Sophie – BFG by Roald Dahl
‘Boy’ – The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Grandmother – Little Red Riding Hood
Ben – Penguin by Polly Dunbar
Wendy – Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Repurposed costumes

Let’s face it – very few of us have the time, energy or inclination to conjure up a new outfit every year, so why not try repurposing something from another fancy dress party, or last year's Halloween costume? It's eco-friendly too!

Charlotte the Spider – Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Turn a pumpkin into a Giant Peach – James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Monster – Not Now Bernard (aka the saddest book ever) by David McKee
Skeleton – Funnybones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Book characters that wear a red and white stripy top

Already sent your kids to school as Wally or Wenda?? Try these stripy alternatives.

where's wally lost and found dogger monkey and me red and white stripy tops costumes

'Boy' – Lost & Found by Oliver Jeffers
Grace – Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch
Dave – Dogger by Shirley Hughes
'Girl' – Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett

Book characters that wear a blue or black and white stripy top

book characters stripy top

Burglar Bill – Burglar Bill by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Father Christmas – Father Christmas Goes on Holiday by Raymond Briggs
Julius Zebra – Julius Zebra by Gary Northfield
Grandma Swagg – Cops and Robbers by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Book characters that wear a fairy or winged costume

The Fairy Godmother – Cinderella by Charles Perrault and Brothers Grimm
Puck – A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare
Angelina Ballerina – Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig
Holly Short – Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Skellig – Skellig by David Almond
Tinkerbell – Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Book characters that wear a knight costume

Tom – Beast Quest by Adam Blade
Arthur – King Arthur by Rodger Lancelyn Green

Book characters that wear a Victorian costume

Oliver – Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
William Beech – Goodnight, Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
Mary – The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Anne – Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Book characters that wear football kit

Got a kid who's refusing to wear anything but their football kit? Fear not – there are plenty of fictional footballers out there. We're also strong supporters of children reading football annuals – reading is reading!

football characters in books world book day costume week

Football Academy by Tom Palmer
Girls FC by Helena Pielichaty
Willy – Willy the Wizard by Anthony Browne

Famous witches and wizards in books

Mildred Hubble – The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
Harry Potter/Ron Weasley/Hermione Granger/Cho Chang – Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Meg - Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski
Merlin – King Arthur
Gandalf – Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Dumbledore – Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The Witch – Room on a Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Winnie – Winnie the Witch by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul

Costumes by colour

Because sometimes, you've just gotta work with what you've got.

Book characters that wear red

book characters red costumes for world book day

Violet Baudelaire – An Unfortunate Series of Events by Lemony Snicket
Things 1 and 2 – The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Lyra Belacqua – Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman

Book characters that wear orange

book characters orange costumes for world book day

The Boy in the Dress – The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams
Charlie, Lola or Lotta – Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child

Book characters that wear yellow

book characters yellow costumes for world book day

Fantastic Mrs Fox – Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl
Man in the Yellow Hat – Curious George by Margret and H.A. Rey
Coraline (in the film) – Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Pete - Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin and James Dean

Book characters that wear green

book characters green costumes for world book day

Peter Pan and Tinkerbell – Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Barbar – Barbar the Elephant by Laurent de Brunhoff
The Little Prince – The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Book characters that wear blue

book characters blue costumes for world book day

Mr Bump – Mr Men series by Roger Hargreaves
Dorothy – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Lyman Frank Baum
Peter Rabbit – The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Madeline – Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Book characters that wear purple

book characters purple costumes for world book day

Sophie – The Tiger who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
Violet Beauregarde – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Lavender – Matilda by Roald Dahl

Book characters that wear pink

book characters pink costumes for world book day

Sophie – The BFG by Roald Dahl
Handa – Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne
Annie Rose – Alfie and Annie Rose by Shirley Hughes

Book characters that wear white

book characters white costumes for world book day

The Little Princess – I Want My Potty by Tony Ross
Wimpy Kid – Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Max – Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Book characters that wear brown

book characters brown costumes for world book day

Katniss Everdeen – Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Stick Man – Stick Man by Julia Donaldson
The Paper Bag Princess – The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

Still need more World Book Day ideas?

If none of these take your child's fancy, don't despair – there's still time to dress them to impress. Check out our no-sew last-minute costumes if you're not feeling crafty, or if you fancy trying your hand at something a little more sophisticated, check out our handy video instructable.

Happy reading!