102 easy last-minute World Book Day costume ideas

We've loads of brilliantly simple costume ideas for World Book Day. There's no sewing involved (although there may be some glue!) and we've included lots of clever ways to re-use princess, witch and pirate outfits, as well as great props for children who don't want to do dressing up

Easy World Book Day costume ideas

World Book Day is on Thursday 4 March in 2021, although many schools have decided to wait and celebrate it once all children are back in class again. And 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. Gangsta Granny

geandma
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

gangsta3

Buy Gangsta Granny

2. Mr Twit from The Twits

twit66
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

3. Alice in Wonderland

Alice in wonderland world book day costume
Pic: Helen T

What you’ll need:

  • Blue dress
  • White apron/pinny
  • Hair bow

Rather be the Mad Hatter or the Queen of Hearts? 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

4. 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

5. Peter Rabbit

peter rabbit world book day costume
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

6. 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?

7. 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

8.  Tracy Beaker

traceybeaker3
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

9. 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…

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

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

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

13. 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.

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

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

Pic: Tara B

witch

16. Billionaire Boy

billionaire boy world book day costume
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

17. Aliens Love Underpants

aliens love underpants world book day costume
Pic: Sharon D

What you’ll need:

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

Buy Aliens Love Underpants

18. Mr Bean

Mr bean world book day costume

What you’ll need:

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

Buy Mr Bean: A Day at the Beach

19. The white mouse from the ‘That’s Not My…’ book series…

teddy

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

20. The Cat In The Hat

the cat in the hat world book day costume
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

21. 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

22. 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

23. 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

24. Morrigan Crow from the Nevermoor

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

25. Harry from Harry and His Bucketful of Dinosaurs

harry and bucketful of dinosaurs world book day costume
Pic: Getty

What you’ll need:

  • Small bucket containing toy dinosaurs

Buy Harry & His Bucketful of Dinosaurs

26. 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

27. 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

Got a pirate costume?

Then your child could dress up as:

28. 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! 

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

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

31. One of the girl pirates from The Night Pirates

Pic: Getty

pirate

32. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

the very hungry caterpillar world book day costume
Pic: Stacey G

What you’ll need:

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

Buy The Very Hungry Caterpillar

33. Jonah And The Whale

jonah and the whale world book day costume
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

34. Daddy Fox from Fox And The Ghost Hunt King

the fox and the ghost king dressing up costume
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

35. A dictionary (!)

dictionary dressing up costume for world book day
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

36. 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

37.  The Boy In The Dress

boy in a dress world book day costume
Pic: Getty

What you’ll need:

  • A dress
  • A football

Buy The Boy in the Dress

38. 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

39. 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

40. The Gruffalo

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

41. Aslan from The Chronicles Of Narnia

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

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

thing one and thing two world book day costume
Pic: Getty

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:

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

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

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

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

47. Nancy Drew: carry your detective’s notebook

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

Pic: Getty

ginger

49. Burglar Bill

burglar bill world book day costume

What you’ll need:

  • Stripey jumper
  • Flat hat
  • Bandit eye mask (often come with superhero costume) or draw one on with face paint
  • Swag bag filled with crumpled-up paper

Buy Burglar Bill

50. Pinocchio

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218572

What you’ll need:

  • Toilet roll tube for his long nose
  • Elastic to tie to the tube and go over back of your child’s head
  • Hat with a feather in it

Buy Pinocchio

51. Mr Greedy

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218578

What you’ll need:

  • Big long-sleeved pink or red top
  • Cushion to put under it
  • Belt or string to keep the cushion in place

Buy Mr Greedy

52. Hetty Feather

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218582

What you’ll need:

  • Brown dress/outfit
  • White apron
  • White shower cap or hat

You can also check out Book Aid’s easy-to-follow guide to sorting this costume

Buy Hetty Feather

53. Little Miss Inventor

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_192621

What you’ll need: 

  • Yellow/green top
  • Glasses
  • Pencils
  • Rulers

Buy Little Miss Inventor

54. Mollie from The Wishing Chair

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 

55. One of The Midnight Gang

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218580

What you’ll need:

  • Stripey PJs
  • Pillow
  • Balloon

You can also check out Book Aid’s brill downloadable guide to sorting a Midnight Gang costume

Buy The Midnight Gang

56. Little Miss Naughty

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218853

What you’ll need: 

  • Purple top
  • Green hairbow

Buy Little Miss Naughty

Got fairy wings?

Then your child could dress up as:

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

58. Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream: accessorise with a mischievous grin

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

60. The Wicked Fairy from Sleeping Beauty: wear black

fairy

61. 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

62. Riley from Riley Can Be Anything

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_221049

What you’ll need:

  • School blazer
  • White shirt
  • Tie

Buy Riley Can Be Anything

63. Amber Brown Is Not A Crayon

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218859

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:

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

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

66. The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker

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

Pic: Getty

tutu

68. Paddington Bear

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218862

What you’ll need:

  • Duffel or long blue coat
  • Rain hat
  • An old suitcase (or old school packed lunch box)
  • Wellies
  • A sandwich or jar of marmalade
  • Some card/paper to make a tag for the coat

Buy Paddington

69. 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

70. One of the 101 Dalmatians

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218864

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

71. Malala

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218866

What you’ll need:

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

Buy Malala’s Magic Pencil

72. Greg from Diary Of A Wimpy Kid

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218867

What you’ll need:

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

Buy Diary of a Wimpy Kid

73. Winnie The Pooh

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218868

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:

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

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

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

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

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

Pic: Getty

princess

79. Fantastic Mr Fox

fantastic mr fox

What you’ll need:

  • Jacket/blazer
  • Colourful scarf/bow tie
  • Mask (see downloadable how-to, below) or cardboard to make fox ears – attach to a headband
  • Brown scarf – attach at the waist for a tail

Check out Book Aid’s fab downloadable guide on how to make a Fantastic Mr Fox mask.

Buy Fantastic Mr Fox on Amazon

80. Emmeline Pankhurst

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218869

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

81. Amelia Jane

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218874

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:

82. Rudolph in The Little Vampire

83. Dracula

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

Pic: Getty

vampire

85. Geek Girl

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218881

What you’ll need:

  • Black-rimmed glasses
  • A pink or red marker to write on the glasses

Check out Book Aid’s fab downloadable guide to writing Geek Girl on glasses

Buy Geek Girl

86. Ada Twist, Scientist

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_194118

What you’ll need:

  • Red dress, ideally polka dot
  • Yellow washing-up gloves
  • Experiment or ski goggles
  • Bobbles for bunches

Buy Ada Twist, Scientist

87. Professor Snape

asnape22
Still:YouTube

What you’ll need:

  • Black coat/cloak/dress
  • Twig for a wand

Buy Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Got a skeleton outfit?

Then your child could dress up as:

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

89. One of the skeleton ancestors in Disney’s Coco

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

Pic: Getty

skeleton

91. 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

92. Captain Underpants

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218912

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

93. Sophie from The BFG

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218920

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

94. Amelia Earhart

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218921

What you’ll need:

  • Brown leather jacket
  • White top/shirt
  • Warm hat
  • Dark glasses or goggles
  • A toy airplane, if you have one

Buy Amelia Earhart

95. Daphne from Scooby Doo

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218923

What you’ll need:

  • Purple dress
  • Headband

96. Shaggy from Scooby Doo

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

97. Velma from Scooby Doo

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

98. 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! Encyclopedia

99. 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

100. Lily Bobtail

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218927

What you’ll need:

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

Buy Lily’s Party Time

101. The Jolly Postman

post

What you’ll need:

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

Buy The Jolly Postman

102. Lola from Big Hair, Don’t Care

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218928

What you’ll need:

  • Pink headband
  • Pink vest top
  • Shorts
  • Trainers

Buy Big Hair Don’t Care

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