9 Easy World Book Day Costumes Last Minute

World Book Day Costumes;  do they drive you crazy?  If you are in a last minute world book day panic then fear not we have you covered with some great quick and easy last minute world book day costumes.


It is no secret that I am not a huge fan of world book day and not because I don’t love books or because I don’t like reading  in fact it is quite the opposite.  I adore to read and getting lost in a book is one of my favourite things to do.  I rarely get time now that I am a mummy to four and spend my life making costumes and decorating potatoes for World Book Day.  So it isn’t that I don’t think reading is important.  I really do and I expend a lot of energy on helping my kids to become avid readers (it’s a mission).  I just don’t like all the extra work that parents have to do and I am not convinced dressing up helps to get them engaged well it certainly hasn’t helped my reluctant reader.  Anyway that is beside the point!  World Book Day exists and whether we, as parents, like it or not there is dressing up to be done so here are some easy last minute ideas  and top tips for costumes courtesy of Busy Bees Nurseries

Last Minute World Book Day Costumes


Don’t overthink it

The simplest ideas are often the best ones, as many famous book characters wear ordinary clothes. All it takes is one or two special accessories to make the outfit really stand out. 

1.Charlie Bucket, the hero of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, a children’s favourite, wears normal winter clothes – just add a golden ticket, which can be made at home with the children or printed, and a chocolate bar with printed or handmade ‘Wonka Bar’ wrapping.

2. Paddington Bear’s iconic look can be recreated using a blue coat and a red hat, while an old witches’ hat and a broomstick can be used for a Room on the Broom inspired costume. Leggings, a black leotard and a red ribbon can also be used as part of a ‘Cat in the Hat’ outfit – you can work together with your child to make the top hat at home using paint and cardboard, doubling up as an easy creative activity that everyone will enjoy.  

Stripes – the possibilities are endless for world book day costumes 

A striped top is a great starting point for an array of costumes, and a fantastic way to stimulate a child’s imagination, as so many of popular characters wear them.

3. Examples include Wally of ‘Where’s Wally’, a school library staple – just add a bobble hat and a pair of round glasses.

4. Burglar Bill is also a great way to capitalise on a striped top. To complete the look, use a tote bag as a money sack, create a mask out of old black cardboard and top it off with a flat cap.

Don’t neglect your classics 

Most popular book characters have highly distinguishable features, making them a tried and tested formula for World Book Day. Some of them are perfect last-minute costume ideas, and don’t involve a lengthy and complicated crafting process – leaving more time for reading.

5. Harry Potter is a great example: the British wizard is well-known worldwide for his round glasses and a unique lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead, which can easily be recreated with makeup. You can also recycle an old Halloween costume to create a wizard robe – just use a drumstick or twig as a magic wand, and voila!

6. Alternatively, using a pair of blue shorts, a red fleece and a large blue beanie, complete with a dotted scarf – these are all you need to dress your child as Noddy, a great choice for younger children.

Using household items for last minute world book day costumes

7. Another option is the beloved Stick Man. Using two, flattened, brown cardboard boxes and felt tip pens, draw on tree rings to create the texture of a tree trunk. Wrap the largest cardboard box into a cylindrical shape, create two arm holes, and glue together. Use the remaining cardboard to create a hat, draw on a face and add leaves.

Go matching!

8. Matching costumes are bigger than ever, and there’s no reason why parents shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon to stimulate siblings’ imaginations, while saving time and reducing waste by reusing similar materials. Examples include Thing One and Thing Two from the ‘Cat in the Hat’ book, which only require red onesies and light blue beanies, or Tweedledum and Tweedledee from ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

9. Dorothy and the Tin Man from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ are also great World Book Day ideas. The Tin Man costume can easily be made at home using foil and cardboard, while a Dorothy outfit can be quickly pulled together using a blue dress paired with a white shirt, bright red shoes and a picnic basket.

So despite my grumpiness about the whole thing I really hope these ideas help you and that you have fun coming up with that last minute costume for your little ones.  This year we have gone for the recycled approach adapting a Halloween Witches costume for the Room on the Broom by sticking pictures of the characters onto the toy broom and both boys are being Harry Potter so reusing Halloween costumes and wearing their school uniform -result!  My other little lady desperately wanted to be The Hungry Caterpillar so I must admit I bought a tabard for that, but underneath she will just be wearing her own brightly coloured leggings and top and will also be sporting butterfly wings made by my clever sister as apparently she will be going as The Hungry Caterpillar mid transformation.  We will send her in with a paper leaf and some wooden fruit just in case she gets hungry 😉

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