World Book Day is on Thursday 3 March in 2022, although many schools and nurseries may decide to celebrate it on Friday 4 March to round the school week off with some costumed fun. If you’re looking for easy, last-minute World Book Day costumes that are simple to put together but look fantastic, we’ve got a great selection for you right here.

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Our no-sew costumes can be made using things you’ll probably already have at home (or could quickly order online). We've even included ideas for re-purposing costumes you may already have – including pirate, witch and skeleton outfits, fairy and ballerina costumes and princess dresses.

And, of course, if your child really doesn't like dressing up, there are plenty of ideas for 'costumes' where the main character in the book wears regular, everyday clothes – so all your child will need to do is hold a prop or maybe just brandish a copy of the book.

For each of our World Book Day costume idea, we've listed out what you'll need to create it, including props and clothes (and a link to buy the book, if you don't have it already). Plus, where we can, we’ve included a pic of a child in the costume, as shared by one of the brilliant parents in our Facebook community, so you can get an idea of the finished 'look' you're after.

Here's our pick of easy, last-minute World Book Day Costume ideas you can put together super-quick...

1. Paddington

Paddington Costume for World Book Day

What you'll need:

  • Red hat
  • Blue coat or blue clothes
  • Red socks
  • Suitcase (optional)

Buy Paddington

2. Supertato

Superato costume for World Book Day
Pic: Tasha S

What you'll need:

  • Black belt with cardboard S stuck on the buckle
  • Brown clothes
  • Mask (band of black paper with eye holes cut out)
  • Red material/shirt for cape
  • Play veg

Buy Supertato

3. Gangsta Granny

Pic: Beckie C

What you'll need:

  • Bandit eye mask (or paint one on with black face paint). Or glasses – see our downloadable step-by-step instructions
  • ‘Granny style’ blouse or cardy (do you have one?)
  • Black skirt
  • Old slippers
  • Tights that are too big, so they can wrinkle around the ankles
  • Sack-style bag filled with scrumpled up paper (so it’s not too heavy)
  • (If you're feeling creative) A granny wig – see our downloadable step-by-step instructions

Buy Gangsta Granny

4. Mr Twit from The Twits

Pic: Francesca M

What you'll need:

  • A fake beard (buy one online or make one with dark brown wool)
  • Dark, messy clothes
  • A paintbrush and pot

Buy The Twits

5. Burglar Bill

Burglar Bill costume idea for World Book day
Pic: Jenny BW

What you'll need:

  • Stripey jumper
  • Flat cap
  • Bandit eye mask (often comes with superhero costume) or draw one on with face paint
  • Swag bag filled with crumpled-up paper (or cuddly toy!)

Buy Burglar Bill

6. Alice in Wonderland

Pic: Helen T

What you'll need:

  • Blue dress
  • White apron/pinny
  • Hair bow

Rather be the Mad Hatter? You can find a range of ready-made Alice in Wonderland-themed costumes for kids of varying ages on FancyDress.com.

Buy Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

7. Mr Bump

mr bump costume for word book day
Pic: Millie Pike

What you'll need:

  • Blue top and trousers
  • Bandage (if you have one) or toilet roll (if you don’t) to wind around your child’s head and middle

Buy Mr Bump

8. Peter Rabbit

Pic: Rebekah C

What you'll need:

  • Blue jacket
  • Brown trousers
  • Face paint or eyebrow pencil – to draw on bunny whiskers
  • Bunny ears – made with cardboard and taped to a headband
  • Bag of carrots (optional)

Buy The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit

9. Wally from Where's Wally?

where's wally costume for world book day
Pics: Sammie S and Tenisha McDonald

What you'll need:

  • Stripey hat
  • Stripey top
  • Stripey socks or tights – if you have them
  • Round glasses – use the downloadable glasses template from the Gangsta Granny costume, above, and colour them black

Buy Where's Wally?

10. Harry Potter/Hermione Granger

harry potter and hermione costumes for world book day
Pic: Anna Dilku

What you'll need:

  • Black cape (often comes with Halloween dressing-up costumes)
  • White shirt
  • Normal school trousers/skirt, stick (for a wand)
  • Stripey tie or scarf
  • For Harry only: glasses – use the downloadable glasses template from the Gangsta Granny costume, above, and colour them black
  • For Harry only: red face paint or lip pencil to draw on his forehead scar

Want to add Hedwig or a broomstick? We've 20 more Harry Potter costume ideas for kids

Buy Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

11. Tracy Beaker

Pic: Josie L

What you'll need:

  • Red stripey top
  • Messy dark hair (use washable spray-on hair dye or a wig, if your child's hair isn't the right colour)
  • Sleeveless denim jacket (optional)

Buy The Story of Tracy Beaker

12. The Snail and the Whale

the snail and the whale costume for world book day
Pic: Abi Fields

What you'll need:

  • Black T-shirt
  • White fabric paint (to draw on the snail trail message)
  • Toy snail (to glue or pin onto the shoulder of the T-shirt)
  • Stuffed whale toy (optional)

Buy The Snail and the Whale

Got a witch costume?

Then your child could dress up as...

13.  The witch from Room on the Broom: add a toy cat and a broomstick

14. The Worst Witch: add a toy cat and a (messy) broomstick

15.  The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz: accessorise with green face paint and an evil cackle

16. The cover star of That's Not My...Witch: she has green hair, if you fancy having a go with some washable, spray-on hair dye.

17. The witch from The Witch's Vaccuum Cleaner: as long as your Hoover doesn't weigh a ton!

18. Madame Olympia from Which Witch?: add a spot of make-up to get her super-glam look

Pic: Tara B

19. Happy Birthday, Blue Kangaroo

Blue Kangaroo costume idea for World Book Day
Pic: Katie O

What you'll need:

  • Pink clothes
  • Pink ribbon in hair
  • Blue kangaroo toy (optional)

Buy Happy Birthday, Blue Kangaroo

20. Billionaire Boy

Pic: Katie D

What you'll need:

  • Grey trousers
  • Big white top
  • A wallet full of money (make fake notes with paper or use Monopoly money)

Buy Billionaire Boy

21. Aliens Love Underpants

Pic: Sharon D

What you'll need:

  • Underpants worn over trousers
  • Alien antennae or headband (optional)

Buy Aliens Love Underpants

22. Mr Bean

What you'll need:

  • Grey or black school trousers
  • Tweed blazer
  • White shirt
  • Tie, preferably red

Buy Mr Bean: A Day at the Beach

23. The white mouse from the 'That's Not My...' book series...

What you'll need:

  • White cardie and trousers OR white onesie
  • White paper ears – attach them to a headband

Buy That's not My... books

24. The Cat In The Hat

Pic: Vicky W

What you'll need:

  • Black leggings
  • Black T-shirt
  • White gloves
  • Red scarf
  • Stripey hat – you can make this using a tube of white card and then adding a rim and painting on red stripes
  • Whiskers – drawn on with an eye pencil or face paints

Want something even easier? Try this ready-made Cat in the Hat costume. We love the cute tail!

Buy The Cat in the Hat

25. The Man on the Moon (A Day in the Life of Bob)

the man on the moon world book day costume
Pic: Wendy Davis

What you'll need:

  • White onesie (you can get astronaut-themed ones online)
  • Blow-up alien

Buy The Man on the Moon

26. Noddy

noddy world book day costume idea
Pic: Lydia Gough

What you'll need:

  • Red top
  • Blue shorts and socks
  • Yellow fabric to knot around the neck
  • Blue bobble hat (or you can make a more pointy blue felt hat)
  • Red cheeks – use blusher or red face paint

Buy Noddy: Toyland Detective

27. Interstellar Cinderella

interstellar cinderella costume idea for world book day
Pic: Annika B

What you'll need:

  • Cardboard box ‘jetpack’
  • A tool (eg toy spanner) or tool box
  • Goggles
  • Ordinary clothes

Buy Interstellar Cinderella

28. George’s Marvellous Medicine

George's marvellous medicine costume idea for world book day
Pic: Kimberley A

What you'll need:

  • Red top
  • Spoon covered in tin foil
  • Old shampoo bottle with ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’ label

Buy George’s Marvellous Medicine

29. Willie from Goodnight Mister Tom

goodnight mr tom world book day costume
Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • Flat cap
  • Dark coat or plain-coloured sweater
  • Small box (Willie's gas mask box) tied with string to hang from your child's shoulder (optional)

Buy Goodnight Mister Tom

30. Morrigan Crow from the Nevermoor series

morrigan crow world book day costume
Pic: Emma Andrews

What you'll need:

  • Black dress or skirt and top
  • Red hairband
  • Black boots
  • Umbrella

Buy Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

31. Harry from Harry and His Bucketful of Dinosaurs

Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • Small bucket containing toy dinosaurs

Buy Harry & His Bucketful of Dinosaurs

32. Matilda

matilda world book day costume
Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • A dress, preferably blue
  • Red hair ribbon (if possible)
  • Small pile of books

Want to go a bit further with your Matilda costume ideas? We've some good suggestions

Buy Matilda

33. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Pic: Stacey G

What you'll need:

  • Green card and red card
  • Sparkly green paper to decorate
  • String
  • Feathers

Buy The Very Hungry Caterpillar

34. The Very Hungry Caterpillar – part two

very hungry caterpillar costume idea for world book day

What you'll need:

  • An old sheet, painted in butterfly colours
  • Ordinary clothes
  • Butterfly eye mask (optional)

Buy The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Got a pirate costume?

Then your child could dress up as:

35. Long John Silver from Treasure Island: you could make a wooden leg by turning a sink plunger upside-down and gluing it to one knee of your child's trousers – but we reckon a good limp will do just fine!

36. Captain Hook from Peter Pan: you can get cheap hooks from online fancy dress shops

37. One of the pirates from Pirates Love Underpants: just remember the underpants, too! 

38. One of the girl pirates from The Night Pirates

Pic: Getty

39. Snow White

snow white world book day costume idea
Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • A white shirt
  • A long skirt
  • Blue hair ribbon
  • A red apple

Buy Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

40. Jonah And The Whale

Pic: Alison L

What you'll need:

  • Wig and beard wig – or lots of brown wool
  • A white sheet or white T-sheet and trousers
  • A large scarf – to make a sash
  • A whale, made out of a large drinks bottle with googly eyes and big flappy cardboard tail and fins

Read Jonah and the Whale

41. Daddy Fox from Fox And The Ghost Hunt King

Pic: Magda I

What you'll need:

  • Red hoodie
  • Plain or white T-shirt
  • Some cardboard, paint, scissors and string – for the mask
  • A fox soft toy, if you've got one

Buy The Fox and the Ghost King

42. A dictionary (!)

Pic: Vicky L

What you'll need:

  • Large piece of folded card or a cardboard box with 1 side removed
  • Coloured pens todecorate it with words from the dictionary (it doesn't have to be a Welsh one!)

Buy the Welsh-English Picture Dctionary for Children

43. Riley from Riley Can Be Anything

Riley costume idea for world book day
Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • School blazer or jacket
  • White shirt
  • Tie

Buy Riley Can Be Anything

44. Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

charlie and the chocolate factory world book day costume
Pic Getty

What you'll need:

  • Scruffy clothes or just a sleeveless vest
  • A golden ticket – just colour some card yellow

Buy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

45. The Boy In The Dress

Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • A dress
  • A football

Buy The Boy in the Dress

46. A Roman from Rotten Romans

roman toga world book day costume
Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • A white sheet, wrapped like a toga (check out this WikiHow). And do put something under it, like a long-sleeved top and leggings, or it could get chilly!

Buy Rotten Romans

47. Pippi Longstocking

pippi longstocking costume for world book day
Pic: Terence

What you'll need:

  • Blue dress or dungarees
  • Red T-shirt or bits of fabric, glued on like patches
  • Stripey tights
  • Hair in piglet plaits – you can plait in some thin, bendy wire to make them really stick out sideways

Buy Pippi Longstocking Goes Abroad

48. Thing 1 and/or Thing 2 from The Cat In The Hat

thing one and thing two costume idea for World Book Day
Pic: Kimberley A

This is a great one for twins, siblings or friends...

What you'll need:

  • Red/orange T-shirt and leggings
  • White card – on which you can write 'Thing 1' or 'Thing 2' and then pin it on the T-shirt
  • Blue wig or washable, spray-on hair dye (optional)

Buy The Cat in the Hat

Child with red hair?

Then your child could dress up as:

49. Ron Wealsey from the Harry Potter books: wear school uniform, with stripy tie

50. Tintin: gel hair up into a quiff and accessorise with a white toy dog, if you have one 

51. Anne of Green Gables: wear a straw hat and a pinafore

52. Annie: wear a red dress and smile a lot!

53. Nancy Drew: carry your detective's notebook

54. Freckleface Strawberry: put hair in low pigtails and make freckles (if your child doesn't have them already) with an eyebrow pencil

Pic: Getty

55. Oi Frog

girl dressed up as Oi Frog for World Book Day
Pic: Fiona J

What you'll need:

  • Green top
  • Green skirt and tights or green trousers
  • Green frog mask or hat made of cardboard

Buy Oi Frog!

56. Dr Alan Grant from Jurassic Park

boy dressed up as Dr Alan Grant from Jurassic Park for World Book Day
Pic: Lauren B

What you'll need:

  • Beige trousers
  • Denim or blue shirt
  • Red neck scarf
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • ID pass (optional) made from card and sticky-backed plastic

Buy Jurassic Park

57. Percy Jackson

percy Jackson world book day idea
Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

Buy Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters

58. Little Miss Inventor

What you'll need:

  • Yellow/green top
  • Glasses
  • Pencils
  • Rulers

Buy Little Miss Inventor

59. Mollie from The Wishing Chair

Pics: Getty

What you'll need:

There are (at least) 2 options here because different editions of the book have different outfits for Mollie...

  • Blue and white stripy T-shirt with blue denim dungarees OR
  • Orange spotty dress

Buy The Wishing Chair Collection

60. One of The Midnight Gang

the midnight gang world book day costume idea
Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • PJs
  • Pillow
  • Balloon (optional)

Buy The Midnight Gang

Got fairy wings?

Then your child could dress up as:

61. Tinkerbell from Peter Pan: in a green dress, if you want to channel the Disney Tinkerbell

62. Puck from A Midsummer Night's Dream: accessorise with a mischievous grin

63. The Blue Fairy from Pinocchio: in a blue dress, obvs

64. The Wicked Fairy from Sleeping Beauty: wear black

65. Angelina Sprocket

angelina sprocket costume for world book day
Pic: Maria Hackett

What you'll need:

  • Pink dressing gown or adult shirt
  • Patches of different coloured material or paper to glue onto dressing gown/shirt as pockets
  • Bobbles to put hair in 3 bunches
  • Glasses
  • Cheese grater (optional)

Buy Angelina Sprocket's Pockets

66. Amber Brown Is Not A Crayon

amber brown is not a crayon world book day idea
Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • Loose white T-shirt
  • Black leggings
  • Trainers
  • Bobbles/scrunchies for side bunches
  • A big bundle of crayons

Buy Amber Brown is not a Crayon

Got a tutu?

Then your child could dress up as:

67. Angelina Ballerina: accessorise with mouse-y whiskers, drawn on with face paint or eyebrow pencil

68. Biff in Dogs Don't Do Ballet: add some cardboard puppy ears on a headband

69. The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker

70. Delphie from the Magic Ballerina books: carry some ballet shoes, if you have them, and tell everyone they're magic

Pic: Getty

71. Queen of Hearts

queen of hearts costume for world book day
Pic: Maria Hackett

What you'll need:

  • A red top or red dress, accessorised with hearts if you have them
  • Playing cards, glued together in a wide circle to make a ruff
  • A suitable regal hairstyle

Buy Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

72. One of the 101 Dalmatians

101 Dalmatians world book day idea
Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • White t-shirt
  • Black marker to create spots
  • White and black face paint (optional)

Buy The One Hundred and One Dalmations

73. Malala

Malala's magic pencil world book day costume idea
Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • A pink headscarf
  • A pencil
  • A notebook for magical ideas

Buy Malala's Magic Pencil

74. Greg from Diary Of A Wimpy Kid

boy dressed up as greg from diary of a wimpy kid for world book day
Pic: Lauren E

What you'll need:

  • White T-shirt
  • Black shorts
  • Backpack
  • Trainers

Buy Diary of a Wimpy Kid

75. Winnie The Pooh

What you'll need:

  • Plain red T-shirt and yellow/brown trousers
  • Big pot/jar with 'Hunny' written on in black pen
  • Cardboard to make bear ears – attach them to a headband

More of a Tigger fan? We've found this cute costume to order online

Buy Winnie the Pooh

Got a princess outfit?

Your child could dress up as:

76. Sleeping Beauty: no snozing in claass, mind!

77. Cinderella: glass slippers might be a stretch but you could accessorise with an inviation to the ball

77. The Princess And The Pea: scrunch up some green paper for a pea prop

79. The Princess And The Frog: accessorise wth a toy frog, if you have one

80. Little Princess: make her trademark big yellow pointy crown out of card

Pic: Getty

81. Fantastic Mr Fox

fantastic mr fox

What you'll need:

  • Jacket/blazer
  • Colourful scarf/bow tie
  • Mask or cardboard to make fox ears – attach to a headband
  • Brown scarf – attach at the waist for a tail

Buy Fantastic Mr Fox on Amazon

82. Emmeline Pankhurst

What you'll need:

  • Long-sleeved black top
  • Dark-coloured pinafore
  • Coloured paper/scissors to make a 'votes for women' suffragette ribbon

Buy Emmerline Pankhurst

83. Amelia Jane

Amelia Jane world book day costume idea
Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • 2 bows to make bunches
  • Red (ideally patterned) dress
  • Patterned tights (don't have to match)
  • A little red face paint or blush for the cheeks

Buy The Amelia Jane Collection

Got a vampire outfit?

Your child could dress up as:

84. Rudolph in The Little Vampire

85. Dracula

86. Ivy in My Sister, The Vampireaccessorise with school books

Pic: Getty

87. Stick Man

stick man costume for world book day
Pic: Abi Fields

What you'll need:

  • Brown clothes
  • A couple of twigs or leaves to hold
  • Leaf-shaped scraps of fabric to glue on brown top (if you're feeling extra-creative)

Buy Stick Man

88. Captain Underpants

What you'll need:

  • Light-coloured clothes
  • A pair of white underpants – to go on top
  • A red cape or blanket

Buy The Adventures of Captiain Underpants

89. Sophie from The BFG

Sophie from BFG world book day costume idea
Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • Pink dress
  • Empty glass or plastic jar
  • Piece of paper to write 'Sophie's Dreams' on – and stick to your jar

Buy The BFG

Got a skeleton outfit?

Then your child could dress up as:

90. One of the Funnybones skeletons: add a quirky hat

91. One of the skeleton ancestors in Disney's Coco

92. The Skeleton Inside You: be a fact book in person!

Pic: Getty

93. Daphne from Scooby Doo

scooby do world book day idea

What you'll need:

  • Purple dress
  • Headband

94. Shaggy from Scooby Doo

  • A green, light blue or khaki-coloured top
  • Brown or red trousers

95. Velma from Scooby Doo

  • An orange dress OR an orange top/skirt combo
  • Long socks
  • Black glasses

96. Fred from Scooby Doo

  • A white jumper or long-sleeved top
  • Blue trousers
  • A little neckscarf or hankerchief

More of a Scooby Doo, actually? We like this ready-made costume to order online

Buy Scooby Doo! Mini Mysteries

97. The Highway Rat

the Highway Rat

What you'll need:

  • White shirt
  • Leggings (purple, black, blue)
  • Black boots/shoes
  • Black hoodie/jumper for the cape
  • A pirate hat or pretend sword, if you have them

Buy The Highway Rat

98. Lily Bobtail

lily bobtail world book day costume idea
Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • Headband (add cardboard bunny ears)
  • Pink cardie
  • Pink/red dress

Buy Lily's Party Time

99. The Jolly Postman

boy dressed as the jolly postman for World Book Day
Pic: Emily S

What you'll need:

  • Smart trousers (pref navy)
  • Smart jumper or blazer (pref navy)
  • Shirt and tie
  • Smart shoes
  • Cap
  • Over the shoulder bag
  • Some envelopes

Buy The Jolly Postman

100. Lola from Big Hair, Don't Care

big hair don't care costume idea for world book day
Pic: Getty

What you'll need:

  • Pink headband
  • Pink vest top
  • Shorts
  • Trainers

Buy Big Hair Don't Care

And if you've got a bit more time to do a bit of paper mâché...

101. The Gruffalo

We've put together a how-to video for this papier mache Gruffalo mask, which is super-quick to make – although you'll need to remember to factor in some drying time.

What you'll need:

  • PVA glue
  • Masking tape
  • Cardboard
  • Balloon
  • Paints and marker pen
  • Newspaper
  • Tissue paper

Watch the full Make a Gruffalo mask video tutorial

Buy The Gruffalo

102. Aslan from The Chronicles Of Narnia

We've put together a how-to for this easy-to-make papier mache lion mask.

What you'll need:

  • PVA glue
  • Masking tape
  • Cardboard
  • Paint and marker pen
  • Newspaper
  • Balloon

Watch the full Make a Lion mask video tutorial

Buy The Complete Chronicles of Narnia

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About the author Helen Brown

Helen is Deputy Editor of MadeForMums, the author of Parenting for Dummies (Wiley, £17.99). She has been a judge for the Bookstart Awards and written about parenting for Mumsnet, Pregnancy & Birth, Prima Baby, Boots Parenting Club and She Magazine and she's also been Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby. She has 3 boys and a heavy-duty washing machine.

Read more:

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