75 easy World Book Day costume ideas 2020

world book day

It's never too early to start planning for World Book Day (Thursday 5 March 2020). Avoid the panicked scrambles in the fancy dress box and frantic internet searches for 'easy World Book Day costumes' and get ahead of the game with this bumper crop of simple costume ideas.

When is World Book Day 2020?

World Book Day this year falls on Thursday 5 March. Find out more and see what the £1 books are for 2020 on the World Book Day website.

If you've left it a little late, don't panic. Inspired by Mumsnet users' own tried-and-tested experiences, we've got options for all tastes and whims – here is our definitive list of the very best World Book Day costume ideas.

World Book Day costumes video

See our video costume templates

Book characters that wear normal clothes

It’s an absolute lifesaver (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 and the smoothest bed-to-school transition in history.

book characters that wear normal clothes costumes world book day

1. Harry – Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs by Ian Whybrow

Normal clothes + bucket + toy dinosaurs

2. Charlie Bucket – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Normal clothes + golden ticket + chocolate bar

3. Sophie – Sophie's Adventures by Dick King-Smith

Normal clothes + wellies + (toy) snail

Book characters that wear pyjamas

4. Tom – Tom's Midnight Garden by Phillippa Pearce

Blue and white striped PJs

5. Sophie – The BFG by Roald Dahl

Pink nightie + jar (of dreams)

6. ‘Boy’ – The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Yellow PJs + blue dressing gown

7. Grandmother – Little Red Riding Hood

Nightie + wolf ears/mask

8. Ben – Penguin by Polly Dunbar

Green PJs with white dots

9. Wendy – Peter Pan by J M Barrie

Light blue nightie (in the film)

Repurposed costumes for World Book Day

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!

10. Charlotte the Spider – Charlotte’s Web by E B White

Spider outfit + toy pig

11. Turn a pumpkin into a Giant Peach – James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Pumpkin outfit (ideally without a scary face on it) + toy/images of insects attached

12. Monster – Not Now, Bernard by David McKee

AKA the saddest book ever

Purple monster outfit + horns

13. Skeleton – Funnybones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Skeleton outfit + red top hat with blue ribbon

World Book Day costumes with a red and white stripy top

14. Wally or Wenda – Where's Wally? by Martin Hanford

Red and white striped top + bobble hat + glasses + walking stick + either blue trousers/skirt and red and white striped tights

Already done the Wally number? Try the following stripy alternatives.

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

15. 'Boy' – Lost & Found by Oliver Jeffers

Red and white striped top + brown/red and white striped hat + suitcase

16. Grace – Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch

Pink and white striped shirt + red (or blue) and white striped hair ribbons

17. Dave – Dogger by Shirley Hughes

White and red striped top + toy dog

18. 'Girl' – Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett

Red and white striped top + toy monkey

World Book Day costumes with a blue or black and white stripy top

book characters stripy top

19. Burglar Bill – Burglar Bill by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Dark blue and white striped top + blue peaked cap + torch + robber mask + sack + (optional) toy cat to go in sack

20. Father Christmas – Father Christmas Goes on Holiday by Raymond Briggs

Blue and white striped top + red and white polka shorts + white sun hat + white beard

21. Julius Zebra – Julius Zebra by Gary Northfield

Black and white striped top + black and white striped tights + gladiator-type brown skirt + plastic sword

Buy now: Plastic sword + shield, £5

22. Grandma Swagg – Cops and Robbers by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Blue and white striped top + black skirt + red feather boa + white wig + glasses + walking stick + black hat with purple ribbon + (optional) gold plastic jewellery

World Book Day fairy or winged costumes

23. The Fairy Godmother – Cinderella by Charles Perrault

(From the film) Purple cape/hooded dress + pink bow + grey wig + magic wand

24. Puck – A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare

Green/brown top + shorts + tights + wreath of leaves

25. Angelina Ballerina – Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig

Pink tutu + pink ballet shoes + mouse ears + bow + flower decoration

26. Holly Short – Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Green top + trousers + yellow belt + wings + red wig + elf ears + plastic shooter

27. Skellig – Skellig by David Almond

Brown clothes + (ideally big) white/brown wings

28. Tinkerbell – Peter Pan by J M Barrie

Green dress + green shoes with pom-poms + magic wand + wings

World Book Day knight costumes

29. Tom – Beast Quest by Adam Blade

Brown clothes + boots + plastic shield + sword

30. Arthur – Sword in the Stone by T H White

Red tunic + yellow tights + yellow scarf + boots + sword

World Book Day costumes with Victorian clothes

victorian costumes world book day

31. Oliver – Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

T-shirt + brown waistcoat + three-quarter-length trousers + peaked cap + plastic bowl + scarf (optional)

32. William Beech – Goodnight, Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

White shirt + brown blazer + shorts + knee-length socks + box with a string shoulder handle

33. Mary – The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

(In the film) White dress + red tam beret + black coat + purple scarf + hair ribbons + old-looking key

Buy now: Red beret, £5.50

34. Anne – Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Light shirt + blue or white tunic + straw hat + hair in pigtails + (optional) old-fashioned bag/suitcase

World Book Day costumes with 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

35. Football Academy by Tom Palmer

Any football kit

36. Girls FC by Helena Pielichaty

Football kit + tiara (optional)

37. Willy – Willy the Wizard by Anthony Browne

Football kit + monkey ears

World Book Day witch or wizard costumes

38. Mildred Hubble – The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

Shirt + tunic + striped tie + pointy hat + hair in pigtails

39. Harry Potter/Ron Weasley/Hermione Granger/Cho Chang – Harry Potter series by J K Rowling

Black cape + white shirt + grey jumper + trousers/skirt + coloured tie dependent on Hogwarts house (red for Gryffindor) + magic wand

40. Meg - Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski

Black dress + black pointy hat + black shoes with yellow buckles + black-and-white striped toy cat + cauldron + broomstick

41. Merlin – Sword in the Stone by T H White

Light blue robes + light blue pointy hat + light blue pointy shoes + white wig + white beard + spectacles + wooden staff + toy owl (optional)

42. Gandalf – The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien

Grey dress + belt + grey cape + grey pointy hat + grey shawl + grey beard + long stick

43. Dumbledore – Harry Potter series by J K Rowling

Grey/silver dressing gown + spectacles + tassel hat + white/grey beard + hairband to go around middle of beard + magic wand

44. The Witch – Room on a Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Witch's hat + red top + purple skirt

45. Winnie – Winnie the Witch by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul

Blue dress + purple waistcoat + red and yellow striped tights + multi-coloured pointy hat + blue shoes + magician's wand + black toy cat

World Book Day 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

46. Violet Baudelaire – A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Dark red dress + white collar + boots + pocket watch

47. Things 1 and 2 – The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss

Red top + red bottoms (jumpsuit if you have one) + blue wing + badge saying either 'Thing 1' or 'Thing 2'

48. Lyra Belacqua – Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman

Shirt + red dungaree dress + boots + long socks + soft toy animal (ideally a rodent) + compass

49. Stuart Little – Stuart Little by E B White

Red jumper + trousers + converse trainers + tail + mouse ears (see how to make them in the video above and this mouse template)

Book characters that wear orange

book characters orange costumes for world book day

50. The Boy in the Dress – The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams

Orange dress + orange (or football) shoes + football

51. Charlie or Lola- Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child

Charlie: orange top with 'Charlie' on it

Lola: orange striped or floral dress + orange shoes + blue ribbons

Book characters that wear yellow

book characters yellow costumes for world book day

52. Fantastic Mrs Fox – Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

Yellow dress (ideally with red dots or apples on it) + belt with paintbrushes/pencils in it + brooch + fox tail + fox ears (see our video and template on how to make them)

53. Man in the Yellow Hat – Curious George by Margret and H A Rey

Yellow shirt + yellow trousers + belt + yellow tie with black polka dots + boots + yellow wide-brimmed hat + toy monkey

54. Coraline – Coraline by Neil Gaiman

(From the film) Yellow raincoat + yellow wellies + blue/purple wig + red striped tights + red skirt + red messenger bag

55. Pete – Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin and James Dean

Yellow jacket + multicoloured buttons + blue trousers + red converse + blue cat ears/mask

Book characters that wear green

book characters green costumes for world book day

56. Peter Pan – Peter Pan by J M Barrie

Green top + green trousers + green cap with red feather + brown belt with plastic sword + boots

57. Babar – Babar the Elephant by Jean de Brunhoff

Green suit jacket + green trousers + white skirt + red bow tie + elephant ears + black smart shoes + bowler hat (or crown)

Buy now: Bowler hat, £2.99

58. The Little Prince – The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Green top + green trousers + red belt + red bow tie + blond wig + (optional) plastic rose

Book characters that wear blue

book characters blue costumes for world book day

59. Mr Bump – Mr Men series by Roger Hargreaves

Blue clothes + bandages (or loo roll) + plasters

60. Dorothy – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum

Blue and white chequered tunic + white top + white socks + red shoes + hair in pigtails + hair ribbons + basket + toy dog

61. Peter Rabbit – The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Blue/denim jacket + white top + brown trousers + bunny ears + carrot

62. Madeline – Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Dark blue dress + white collar + red ribbon + straw boating hat + white socks + black shoes + white gloves

Book characters that wear purple

book characters purple costumes for world book day

63. Sophie – The Tiger who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

Light purple tunic + dark purple top + white tights with purple and pink squares drawn on + purple/blue hair ribbon + toy tiger + plastic teacup

64. Violet Beauregarde – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Dark blue shirt + dark blue trousers + red belt + red boating hat + bubblegum

65. Lavender – Matilda by Roald Dahl

Purple floral dress or purple dungarees + glasses + hair in plaits, pinned up

Want a Matilda World Book Day costume? See more Roald Dahl costume ideas

Book characters that wear pink

book characters pink costumes for world book day

66. Handa – Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne

Pink floral dress + pink sandals + basket (to go on head) + plastic fruit

67. Annie Rose – Alfie and Annie Rose stories by Shirley Hughes

Pink dungarees + white top + converse trainers + red bucket

Book characters that wear white

book characters white costumes for world book day

68. The Little Princess – I Want My Potty by Tony Ross

White dress + crown + green potty

69. Wimpy Kid – Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney

White T-shirt + black shorts + black backpack

70. Max – Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

White onesie + furry headband + furry tail + crown + face-painted whiskers

Book characters that wear brown

book characters brown costumes for world book day

71. Fantastic Mr Fox – Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

Brown blazer + brown trousers + shirt + tie + waistcoat + fox tail + fox ears (see our video above and Mr Fox template)

72. Katniss Everdeen – Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Brown jacket + brown trousers + boots + plastic bow and arrows in bag + (optional) Mockingjay/bird brooch + hair in a plait

Buy now: Mockingjay pin, £5.99

73. Stick Man – Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Brown top + brown bottoms + brown shoes + twig/leave headpiece + additional twig/leaves on outfit

74. The Paper Bag Princess – The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

Brown dress (ideally made out of paper) + crown

75. Amelia Earhart – Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli

Brown jacket (ideally leather) + brown trousers + boots + white scarf + goggles + aviator hat. Plus, really impress with our easy-to-make airplane addition: see the template and the video above

Buy now: Aviator hat, £2.40

Still need more World Book Day outfit 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 above.

Happy reading!

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