Easy World Book Day costumes 2024 - 42 homemade and last minute ideas

World Book Day costume ideas can be the best starting point, so look no further...

collage of world book day images
(Image credit: Future)

World Book Day costume ideas are sometimes all you need, just the inspiration... well, that and copious amounts of eyeliner and imagination.

World Book Day is on Thursday 7th March 2024, in the UK, the literary event always falls on the first Thursday in March. The day is dedicated to celebrating reading and all things books.  Many schools and nurseries across the nation invite their pupils to dress up as book characters as a fun and engaging way to do this. So be sure to take inspiration from some of the best children's books as well as from these classic children's book quotes.

While kids tend to love dressing up it can be 'just another thing to do' for parents among the chaos that is family life. Goodto.com Family Editor, Stephanie Lowe says: "Don't be afraid to recycle whatever you have available. Last year, my son went in his skeleton Halloween costume, holding a copy of the book Funnybones. Winner! Oh and also, get that eyeliner out - it can be used for so many things!" Classic is great, but when it comes to what's trending we also saw a lot of Wednesday Adams last year as well (off the back of the Netflix series Wednesday), this year we may see more Barbie due to the film's popularity - and yes we know 'it's not a book' in the classic sense, but everything seems to have a book attached to it in some way - have you seen the Barbie annuals? (view at Amazon, £7.26)

We know that not all children love to dress up, and this change from the norm can throw them, what seems fun and exciting to us as adults might be a bit overwhelming for them - they're not used to seeing everyone in costumes we have a few tips in our how to help a sensitive child article that might help. Otherwise, keep on scrolling for some epic World Book Day costume inspiration...

World Book Day costume ideas - 42 last-minute and homemade ideas

World Book Day illustrated by girl dressed as dr

(Image credit: @mrsroberts2018)

1. Zog World Book Day costume

Such a great costume idea, reuse a white Dr coat (if you have it) if you don't, a white t shirt or shirt with a 'Dr title' scrawled on it. Then add a Zog dragon toy or the book. 

You will need:

  • White Dr coat / shirt
  • Doctor things (stethoscope etc)
  • Zog book/toy

Get the look:

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Zog the Dragon - Amazon, £16.95

A soft plushy orange dragon, the main character in Julia Donaldson's Zog book range. Suitable from 36 months.

Buy the book: Zog and the Flying Doctors - Amazon, £4  

World Book Day illustrated by kids dressed as super worm

(Image credit: @KimberleyJayne17)

2. Superworm World Book Day costume

Calling all Superworm fans! This is a great use of an existing costume if you have it, otherwise just brown top and trousers will work too. Then forage for some leaves to add. If you're feeling particularly crafty take some old cardboard and get drawing the characters from the book.

You will need:

  • Brown trousers and top
  • Leaves (material or real)
  • Pens
  • Cardboard

Get the look:

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Twig costume - Amazon, £12.87
Comes with a matching mask and is available in three sizes Sizes S 3-4, M 5-6 and L 7-8 . A great addition to any dress-up box to see them through the year - plus it would make a great Stickman costume next year.

Superworm soft toy - Amazon, £19.99
The ideal prop to highlight the main character in the book - and your kid gets to keep it all year round.

Buy the book: Superworm - Amazon, £3.56  

Ada Twist Scientist costume

(Image credit: mamma_filz)

3. Ada Twist Scientist World Book Day costume

Fans of Ada Twist will love this easy-to-make World Book Day costume. Find a polka dot dress (or a red one will do) and grab a pair of washing-up gloves from the kitchen. Add a pair of safety goggles and you’re done!

You will need:

  • A polka dot or red dress
  • Washing up gloves
  • Safety goggles

Get the look:

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Kids safety goggles - Amazon, £9.99

A perfect prop for a World Book Day costume, but can also be used for real-life science experiments in the future.

Buy the book: Ada Twist Scientist - Amazon £11.99


Postman Pat costume

(Image credit: lauralawbeauty)

4. Postman Pat World Book Day costume

Everyone’s favourite postman is a really cute choice for nursery and preschool kids. If you’ve got an outfit already in your dressing up box, dig it out. Otherwise blue clothes and a peaked cap will do just as well. Don’t forget to add a little bag for all of those letters!

You will need:

  • Postman Pat outfit/Blue clothes
  • Peaked cap
  • Shoulder bag

Get the look:

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Postman Pat costume - Amazon, £21.99

Fans of Postman Pat will love this little costume, which comes in sizes 1-2, 3-4, and 4-6, and will see them through the 'dressing up' phase that most kids go through.

Buy the book: Postman Pat Storytime Collection - Amazon, £7.87


The Singing Mermaid costume

(Image credit: athomewithimmy)

5. The Singing Mermaid World Book Day costume

When it comes to World Book Day leaning on what you already have at home is a no-brainer. So, if you have a fan of mermaids, then they will no doubt already own a costume of sorts, which makes The Singing Mermaid an easy option. Add a few homemade sea creatures from this Julia Donaldson favourite and you’re good to go. 

You will need:

  • A mermaid costume
  • A wrapping paper inner tube
  • Card
  • Felt tip pens

Get the look:

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Mermaid costume - Amazon, £18.99

This pretty costume is sure to get lots of wear after World Book Day. It's available in ages 2-12.

Buy the book: The Singing Mermaid - Amazon, £9


Where's Wally costume

(Image credit: 4freckledfaces)

6. Where's Wally? World Book Day costume

A classic book to keep them quiet for ages also works as a super easy costume for you - the clothes you find don't have to be their size, oversized is cuter. Time to raid Dad's wardrobe this time.

You will need:

  • Red hat (bonus points if striped)
  • Blue and white striped top
  • Round glasses OR eyeliner pencil drawn on

Get the look:

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Kids clear glasses - Amazon, £3.99

Add a pair of these distinctive glasses to your child's costume and it will be super obvious who they're supposed to be.

Buy the book: Where's Wally - Amazon, £3.95


The Hungry Caterpillar costume

(Image credit: emma_scottchild)

7. Hungry Caterpillar World Book Day costume

Well, the 'after' picture... it's him as a butterfly.  Most kids love this book so will find any way possible to go as a character for World Book Day. Cut out a mask from card and get your little one to help you decorate it with strips of colourful tissue paper. You can also add cardboard wings or add a pair of fairy wings from your dressing up box. 

You will need:

  • Card
  • Tissue paper
  • Glue
  • Butterfly wings (bought or made from cardboard and decorated)

Get the look:

Image

Kids butterfly wings - Amazon, £2.97

These cute wings come in a choice of colours and will provide hours of make-believe fun.

Buy the book: The Hungry Caterpillar - Amazon, £7.99


World book day costume ideas illustrated by boy dressed as bob the builder

(Image credit: @theobworld)

8. Bob The Builder World Book Day costume

Firstly, sorry if you're now stuck singing 'Bob The Builder, can we fix it?' on loop. Secondly, this is a super easy costume to pull together after a bit of inspiration. Toolbelt optional. If you don't have one in the toy box, either borrow or forget about it. It's not a deal breaker. 

You will need:

  • Dungarees
  • Checked shirt
  • Plastic hardhat
  • And something that resembles a belt

Get the look:

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Kids Play Pretend Dress Up Construction Helmet with Tool Belt and Tools - Amazon, £4.58

A great investment for any dress-up box for loads of future use. Includes: plastic construction helmet, builder's belt, hammer, screwdriver, pliers, wrench a plastic box cutter style knife, and one child-sized plastic yellow hard hat. Suitable for ages 3 and up.

Buy the book: Bob Story Library - World of Books, £26


World Book day costume ideas illustrated with kids dressed as pant

(Image credit: @emilysbattlewithbatten)

9. Harry Potter Mandrake World Book Day costume

Harry Potter is a popular little wizard among Yr2 and upwards when it comes to World Book Day costume ideas. And here's your time to outdo them all, with this super clever take on the magical plant root, the Mandrake. Just make sure you cut the bottom of the pot out and either sand the edges down or pad with cotton wool, securing with tape. 

You will need:

  • Brown top and bottoms  (or black will do)
  • Brown face paint (or the soil affect)
  • Green headband
  • Leaves (plastic or real)
  • Plastic large plant pot
  • Braces or string (so secure the plant pot)
  • Hot glue

Get the look: 

Image

Hot Glue Gun and glue sticks - Amazon, £9.98 and 15" Plastic Terracotta Plant - Amazon, £10.59

As a parent this may well be the best investment you ever make, whether you like crafting or not, there will be days throughout your kid's school career where something needs gluing to something else. And you'll be ready. For the pot, go for the largest one to make sure your kid can easily climb in and out of it to be comfortable throughout the school day.

Buy the book: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Amazon £4


Swan Lake costume

(Image credit: elisebuttonbox)

10. Ella Ella Ballerina and Swan Lake World Book Day costume

If you have a little ballerina at home then an easy Princess Odette costume from Swan Lake is the perfect choice for World Book Day. If you want to keep things simple, dress them in white and add a homemade mask and a little crown. Or if you fancy getting a bit more creative, you could make a winged cape from white material.

You will need:

  • White top and trousers
  • White card
  • Black and orange felt tips
  • Crown (either from the dressing up box or homemade from cardboard)
  • White material for wings (optional)

Get the look:

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Crown hairband - Amazon, £5.99

The perfect accessory for any little princess, this pretty crown is sure to be worn again and again.

Buy the book: Ella Ella Ballerina and Swan Lake - Amazon, £7.35


World Book Day Mr Messy costume

(Image credit: emma_scottchild)

11. Mr Messy World Book Day costume

Mr Men book characters are really fun to dress up as and you can always find one to suit your child’s personality. If you’re feeling creative you can draw out the front and back on a large piece of card and then simply use string to hang them over your little one’s shoulders. Alternatively you could just get a t-shirt with the character on it - job done!

You will need:

  • Two large pieces of white card
  • Pink and black paint and paintbrushes
  • Pink string

Get the look:

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Kids Mr Messy t-shirt - Amazon, £14.99

A super easy option, if you're short on time, is to get a t-shirt with your little one's favourite character on it. The great thing is that it can then be worn again after World Book Day.

Buy the book: Mr Messy - Amazon, £3.74


World Book Day The Scarecrows Wedding

(Image credit: baybeebeth12)

12. The Scarecrows’ Wedding World Book Day costume

Is there anything cuter than Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay getting married in The Scarecrows’ Wedding? This Julia Donaldson classic is a great one for World Book Day, as it’s pretty easy to pull together with clothes you already have. Grab a pair of dungarees, a checked shirt, a hat and a pair of wellies. Then add a handful of straw and you’re done!

You will need:

  • Dungarees
  • A checked shirt
  • A hat
  • Wellies
  • Straw

Get the look:

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Kids denim dungarees - Amazon, £22.99

A pair of dungarees is all you need to turn your little one into the cutest scarecrow and the best thing is that they can be worn again and again.

Buy the book: The Scarecrows Wedding - Amazon, £4


The Gruffalo mouse costume

(Image credit: theadventuresofus___)

13. The Gruffalo mouse World Book Day costume

Surely one of the cleverest characters ever to be found in a children’s book, the little mouse from Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo is a sweet World Book Day option. You can make a simple mouse head from a cardboard box and add a few pipecleaners for those cute whiskers.   

You will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Pink and white paints and paintbrushes
  • Black marker pen
  • Brown pipecleaners
  • Brown long sleeved top

Get the look:

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Kids Brown