World Book Day – Costume Ideas

Tomorrow is World Book Day, which is an annual event to celebrate literature and promote reading, publishing and copyright. In the UK World Book Day takes place on the first Thursday in March and at my son’s school, like many other schools and nurseries in the UK, the children get into the spirit of celebrating literature by getting dressed up as a character from a book.

If like me you’re a little last minute and short on costume ideas for your child to wear on World Book Day here are a few suggestions to get you thinking. And below is the outfit I have literally just finished making for my son to wear tomorrow! Next year I WILL be more organised! :)

20 Costume Suggestions For World Book Day

  • Where’s Wally
  • The Cat in the Hat – Also Thing 1 and 2
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Ladybird (What the Ladybird Heard)
  • Fox (Fantastic Mr Fox)
  • Aladdin
  • Jack and The Beanstalk
  • Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White… Pretty much any princess you can think of possibly barring very recent ones!
  • Charlie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
  • Willy Wonka (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) – and check out the book for lots of other characters.
  • Harry Potter
  • Various insects from ‘James and The Giant Peach’ – I once did this in a school play where I was an earthworm!
  • Pinocchio – Great if you happen to have a pair of braces lying around!
  • Goldilocks – Or one of the bears.
  • The Grufallo
  • The witch from ‘Room on the Broom’
  • One of the Three Little Pigs or the Big  Bad Wolf
  • Little Nutbrown Hare (Guess How Much I Love You)
  • Red Riding Hood – Don’t forget about Grandma, the Wolf or the Woodcutter.


And…the one we’re going with ‘The Gingerbread Man’

I’m lucky that because my son is only 3 I can pretty much decide for him what his costume will be, well that was after I talked him out of going as Superman! Not sure if Superman even counts but there’s no way I can send him anywhere in public in an outfit that he pretty much lives in and has nearly worn out, the ‘S’ on the chest is long gone!

After searching Pinterest for some last minute ideas I decided on dressing him as ‘The Gingerbread Man’ as not only is it fairly simple it’s also from a book that he is familiar with. I didn’t really want to buy him a costume that he would probably only wear once, so after trawling through his clothes looking for items in colours anywhere from beige to biscuit, I finally came across a brown velour reindeer onesie from Tesco.

Reindeer Onesie

Now, I’m not much of a seamstress but I didn’t mind doing a bit of experimenting in transforming a reindeer into a gingerbread man. The onesie wasn’t expensive to start with and it’s just the right size now so won’t fit by the time next Christmas comes around, if it went wrong it wasn’t the end of the world.

All I needed was a quick trip to our local indoor market, for me it’s Bolton, to pick up some large buttons and some white wavy trim. I have seen the trim referred to as ‘ric rac’ but I’m not sure it that’s correct. For the size of his onesie (age 3-4) I needed approximately 4 metres of trim to do the outline. I tacked it on with some pins and when I was happy with the shape, I sewed it into place. It took me nearly 2 hours.

Gingerbread Man Costume Book Day

 I then sewed on the large pink buttons, but if I hadn’t found buttons large enough I had planned to make some pom poms or just some circles made out of felt. I had to sew the buttons so that they were just off centre, as he’s so young I didn’t want him having difficulties undoing the zip when he needs the toilet.

All that was left to do was hide any traces of reindeer! I carefully cut off the antlers and then as the fabric was of double thickness on the hood I managed to fold over where the reindeer’s eyes and nose were and sew into place. This might have made the hood a little bit smaller but was easier than cutting out the eyes and red nose! And if necessary it could always be turned back into a reindeer!

Gingerbread Man Costume

How to make a gingerbread Man Costume

I hope your children have great fun dressing up for World Book Day and if you have some good character suggestion please tell us in the comments below. Let us know what your son or daughter went as!


Gingerbread Man Costume


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  1. Sharon Atkinson says:

    So cute! My daughter is going as rapunzel and my son is dressing up as captain hook.