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Easy World Book Day Costume Ideas for Children

Type: All  |  Category: Teaching  |  Date: 5th February 2018

Boys and girls have so much fun in fancy dress, so here is Leaver’s Books’ list of many cheap, quick, and easy to prepare costumes that children, students and teachers can all dress up as for World Book Day.

Quick, easy, cheap world book day costume ideas for school children

Here at Leaver’s Books we absolutely love World Book Day and thinking up costume ideas for it. What’s even better is knowing how on board schools get at encouraging reading and writing from a young age; this day is perfect for that. As a bonus, seeing all the fun pictures of students (and even teachers) dressed up as their favourite characters from literature or even the wackiest book character they can think of.

We know parents lead busy lives and it's not always easy to get a costume ready at short notice, so in this blog, we've come up with some great World Book Day ideas (that shouldn’t take much time or hassle at all) for parents and teachers in need. In most cases, you should have most of the clothes hanging up in wardrobes, and then for the finishing touches, a five minute creative spell which you can do with children to get them excited for the big day.

Below you'll find costume ideas for lots of iconic characters that are easy to create and great fun for kids!

A Little Inspiration from Roald Dahl

Examples of best quick cheap and easy world book day costume ideas for children at school

Love Roald Dahl like us? There are lots of great characters to choose from his works to dress up as, and most of them are fairly simple to create a costume for. Below is just a select few of our favourites which should be easy to whip up the night before:

Matilda Wormwood
From Matilda

  • Red ribbon bow for hair
  • Blue dress or dungarees
  • White t-shirt underneath, or cardigan
  • Book to carry around (preferably a classic like Moby Dick, or even Matilda!)

For the boys who are big fans of the book, you can always try to emulate the classic Bruce Bogtrotter with a smart blue-ish striped shirt, smart trousers, and a lot of chocolate cake everywhere!

George Kranky
From George’s Marvellous Medicine

  • Red t-shirt or jumper
  • Blue jeans
  • White trainers
  • A big wooden spoon

Charlie Bucket
From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

  • Light yellow or camel coloured jacket
  • White t-shirt
  • Blue jeans
  • A golden ticket or a bar of chocolate

For the girls who want to play a part, there’s always the Veruca Salt approach: a red dress with white collar, black belt, white tights and black shoes will see you singing ‘I Want it Now!’ all day.

Add a Spark of Magic with Harry Potter

Examples of best quick cheap and easy world book day costume ideas for children at school

The Harry Potter series is full of fun characters that make perfect World Book Day costumes for both pupils and staff. Easily recognisable and easily assembled, perhaps J.K. Rowling’s cast of wizards could be the answer to your problems:

Harry Potter

  • Smart white shirt
  • Black trousers
  • Round glasses
  • Lightning scar
  • Wand

You also have the options of going that extra mile, whether it be with a grey jumper, a long black coat, a burgundy and gold tie or scarf. Of course, the same components (minus the scar) work wonders for any girl hoping to dress up as Hermione Granger.

Professor Sybill Trelawney

  • Green dress
  • Shawl
  • Round glasses
  • Various necklaces and rings
  • Head scarf

Professor Severus Snape

  • Black coat or long cardigan
  • Black turtleneck jumper
  • Black trousers
  • Black shoes

You get the idea.

Bellatrix Lestrange

  • Black long dress
  • Black jumper
  • Curly black hair
  • ‘Death Mark’ drawn on forearm
  • Black fingernails
  • Wand

There are so many ‘easy to dress up as’ characters in the world of Harry Potter to choose from. Teachers could easily have a pop at Sirius Black, Hagrid, Professor McGonagall or Professor Dolores Umbridge if they want to get involved. Wearing long black coats (with exception of Dolores!) and making sure the hair sits right is key. Wigs and beard wigs for Hagrid will have the children howling at how funny a teacher could look. 

A Couple of Classics for the Occasion

Examples of best quick cheap and easy world book day costume ideas for children at school

Take some inspiration to dress up as a much-loved character from old favourites:

Pippi Longstocking

  • Pinafore dress or dungarees
  • Mismatched stockings or long socks
  • Pigtails, at the side of the head
  • Boots or thick shoes

Bright reds, yellows and blues work best for the clothes on Pippi; stand out!

Mary Poppins

  • White blouse tucked in
  • Long black skirt
  • Red bow-tie
  • Long black or red coat
  • Black boater hat or pork pie hat (with flowers!)
  • Black umbrella

Paddington Bear

  • Blue duffel coat
  • Red Wellington boots
  • Red or black bucket hat
  • Old suitcase

A dop of black face paint on the nose is also very cute for the extra touch.

Angelina Ballerina

  • Pink leotard
  • Pink tutu
  • Ballet pumps
  • Pink bow for hair
  • Mouse ears and tail


  • Blue jumper
  • White smart shirt
  • Brown trousers or cords
  • White socks showing
  • Brown shoes

Don’t forget to grab some hair gel for his famous quiff! To go the extra mile, if there is a long, camel coat knocking about, that’d be the perfect accompaniment to walk to school and be out on the playground in.

James Bond

  • Black suit jacket or blazer
  • Black trousers
  • White shirt
  • Black tie or bow-tie

Fun and Mischievous Character Outfits

Examples of best quick cheap and easy world book day costume ideas for children at school

Add a hint of fun to World Book Day and dress up as a troublemaker!

Where’s Wally?

  • Red and white striped shirt or jumper
  • Blue jeans
  • Red and white bobble hat
  • Black rimmed glasses

Dennis the Menace

  • Red and black striped shirt or jumper
  • Black shorts
  • Red socks
  • Black, brown or grey shoes

Mr. Bump

  • Blue jumper
  • Blue trousers or jeans
  • Plenty of loo roll, bandages or plasters!

Spookily Simple Costumes Ideas

Examples of best quick cheap and easy world book day costume ideas for children at school

Why not reuse one of your Halloween costumes? Witches and vampires frequently pop up in children’s fiction and make fantastic costumes for World Book Day, but if you want to be specific, here are two of our favourites to get your juices flowing:

The Worst Witch

  • Black dress
  • Black pointy hat
  • Broomstick

The Little Vampire

  • White shirt
  • Black trousers
  • Black cape or oversized shirt
  • Fangs
  • Dark eye make-up

Of course, if girls wanted to add a more female touch to being a vampire, look no further than Mona the Vampire. With a red jumper, black bow-tie, purple cape and lots of crazy hair, they’ll be hunting monsters in no time at all.

That’s just a selection of our top picks – hopefully you’ve found them useful, and even inspiring to create your own costumes. Be sure to hit us up on social media and share your photos and ideas. If you do take some pictures, just remember that it’d make great content for your yearbook!

For more inspiration, take a look at what the Guardian has to offer, as well as Costume Box - some brilliantly fun ideas! Most importantly, from everyone here at Leaver’s Books, enjoy World Book Day!

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