The mention of World Book Day makes me break out into a cold sweat.  I love getting lost in a good book.  I love sharing books from my childhood with my children, and discovering new ones.  I love the idea behind World Book Day.

I do not love trying to turn a character from a page into a costume for my children to wear, that has to A, actually resemble the character from the book, and B, be fully functional so that my child can go to the toilet with relatively easy access.  I am not a Pintrest perfect kind of Mum.  I am crap at crafts.

The first year I encountered World Book Day I was full of foolish optimism and naive stupidity.  I thought I could do it myself.  The topic for the term had been animals, so the children’s costumes were to reflect this theme.   It was also Easter and I had seen bunny ears in the shop where children can buy anything they want – aka Pouldland.  How hard could a bunny costume be?

Bunny ears and some weird white fluffy material obtained, I began with the sewing.  Several hours and 47 needle stabs later I had made my first costume.  A grey top with a slightly wonky fur patch on the belly, and grey jeans with a furry bunny tail stitched onto the butt.

I was impressed.

The big one wasn’t.  Reasons cited were:

1 The ears are pink.  I hate pink.  Pink is for girls  (There may have been tears about the pink)

2 The tail hurts my bum when I sit down.  (I may have sewn it on a bit low down)

3 I wanted to be an elephant. (I want to be a size 10, we can’t always get we want)

He was so unimpressed that photographic evidence was prohibited.


This year, to avoid disaster, I threw money at the situation.  I ordered a costume of his choosing.  It is blatantly not hand-made, and clearly not worth even half of what it cost me. The material is so thin that the poor kid is going to freeze.  I now look like the parent that can’t be bothered in the playground.

So after two years of being crap, I finally had an ingenious idea.  I am sharing my genius with you, so you can avoid all future potential World Book Day Disasters.  You’re welcome.  Here it is, in three simple steps…


Costume Disasters


Step One:

Look for the kid with the most awesome and original World Book Day costume in your kids class.  It’s the one that all the other kids are falling over themselves to get a look at, whilst simultaneously looking very disappointingly at you and your efforts.


Step Two:

Once you have located that kid, locate his/her parental.  Done that?  Good, now compliment him/her on their son/daughter’s costume, and ask him/her if they made it.  The answer you are looking for is “Yes.”


Step Three:

You now have a year until the next World Book Day.  That’s 365 days to make this person our new bff.  Do whatever it takes.  Compliments, wine, chocolates, play dates.  Woo this person like they are Gerard Butler’s sister.  Share birth stories, bond over your offspring, get them so drunk they reveal their deepest darkest secrets.   Infiltrate yourself into their lives so that you become part of their family.  Do them a ton of favours, look after their kids, paint their bathroom if you have too.  But come this time next year you will be so embedded in this persons life that you won’t even have to ask the question.  They will offer, “Would you like me to make little Johnny a costume for World book Day?”


Hell yes.  My work is done.


For more information about World Book Day check out the official website.  They also have awesome costume ideas like this…

WBD Dress Up


A little costume amusement far too inappropriate for school from 





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Claire Kirby

34 Comments on How to Survive World Book Day – Next Year!

  1. That sounds like a brilliant plan! I bet my son will decide he wants to be something different and crazy too!

  2. This is a great idea! I am rubbish at crafty things – this year, Zach wore his gruffalo dressing gown – just like last year!! Maybe that’s my cunning plan – to always have a book character dressing gown! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  3. Hmm clever. I like the way you think! I have avoided it this year as they were not at pre-school that day. Thank goodness. Next year I will be all about the ready made costume (Although I think a hand made costume might have some comedy value (how do you even put that stuff together.. sellotape?) It wouldnt be fair on my poor Children to be ridiculed for their Mothers lack of crafting ability. #FridayFrolics

  4. Long before it is necessary for me to think about this I had already realised making our own anything is unlikely to happen; unless Nan offers, obviously! I am so pleased you’ve provided me with the best alternative to buying ridiculously overpriced costumes. Hehe! #FridayFrolics

  5. As far as I can see World Book Day only matters in the US, the UK and Ireland. We live in Germany, so yay for that. No dressing up needed 🙂

  6. Those costumefail pictures are awesome! I was massively impressed with the alien one, I may have to replicate that one day!! God, I’m not actually looking forward to all this stuff when mine go to school…! I had a momentary panic today when taking DT to nursery, thinking ‘please don’t let it be a costume day, I would know wouldn’t I? No I wouldn’t, because I never read the stuff they send home, I never really take in what they say when I get him because I’m always trying to stop MA smashing the very inappropriately placed fish tank. Help me.’
    I’m going to be useless with costume stuff, I’m going to have to utilise your plan asap… Great thinking!!

  7. I love the idea of World Book Day but the reality is a last minute kick, bollock, scramble! My son isn’t a keen dresser-upper so it’s always very low key! Great port #FridayFrolics

  8. I love this. I was so relieved that my son wasn’t in nursery on World Book Day. I will befriend two or three crafty mamas to hedge my bets #fridayfrolics

  9. So funny!! And thank god that the school my youngest three will be going to don’t do book day, they have pyjama day instead!! Thanks for hosting! #fridayfrolics

  10. Now this is an excellent plan! I love your thinking – it’s very clever & also time-saving. Although there is a lot of work during the year with the bathroom painting & all. lol The kids don’t dress up here for world book day – happily!! Thanks so much for hosting #FridayFrolics x

  11. Love this! Is it OK to buy ready made costumes? Is it really the done thing to make them? Mine would end up in scruples newspaper taped together, I’d have to figure out who they were later..

  12. Haha brilliant tip! We just went with a shop bought one. I have told my self that when she’s bigger (she’s only in Reception) I’ll make an effort to make a homemade costume. I doubt that will ever happen though!

  13. This is hilarious and I will definitely be following your plan for next year! My boy went as Greg from Diary of a Wimpy Kid, his favourite book series. Greg just dresses as a normal boy so obviously no one else has a clue who he is meant to be! He loves it though

  14. This is fab. My wife’s a teacher so has to do this through gritted teeth. Usually fancy dress at the weekends would have the reward of a pub crawl attached to it. Our eldest has not been at nursery yet on the days of Book Week so we’ve got all this to look forward to from his perspective. Thanks for the heads up. #TwinklyTuesday

  15. Aaaw, dressing up for book day sounds like a lotta fun!! I would totally follow your tip!! last halloween, I wore a blue wig & painted my face blue to become sadness. and I made this big red box for my husband to put over his head to be anger…lol…. I wont mind making stuff if it were this simple!! This is interesting! Would love to see your posts in the Practical Mondays Link Up:)

    (those characters are from inside out btw…just sayin’!)

  16. Nice work. they are parenting skills that sure as hell are gonna pay blls.

    I have my eldest daughters first ever ‘world book day’ dress up this Friday…boo…
    She’s on a nursery trip to forest school so is excused from dressing up…Hooray!

  17. This made me laugh! This year is my first experience of WBD however my son is only 20mo and I have found that most costumes start at 2-3years meaning they are massive on my child! I too am not handy with a seeing needle so we’ve settled on a Woody onesie from the 18-24mo category. Just not sure what to do about his feet as it’s got feet in it and I do t think his shoes will fit…and he’ll look like he’s in his PJ’s! #fartglitter

  18. Awesome plan. I am quite a crafty mum (although v disorganised and last minute) and enjoy making costumes for stuff. I will distribute your post far and wide and wait for all the babysitting offers to roll in. If you’d met The Boy you’d understand why this deal works out very definitely in my favour

  19. Haha funny! Luckily I’m quite creative however it’s also a matter of having time! Maybe next time your child can design and make it? Cardboard boxes are great lol 🙂
    My d went as mole from wind in the willows … funnily enough that has been the easiest costume to make! So find a character that wears normal clothes … that would be my tip ! 🙂

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