102 last-minute easy World Book Day costume ideas

102 ideas for simple World Book Day costumes you never knew you owned including what to do with a stripey jumper, glasses and ginger hair and props for a child who doesn't want to dress up at all...

Easy World Book Day costume ideas

World Book Day is coming up – it’s on Thursday 5 March 2020. 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 hopefully already have at home. Remember also, that you might be able to re-purpose costumes you already have, and we’ve got some ideas for those too – including pirate and skeleton outfits, fairy and ballerina costumes and princess dresses.
Check out our 9 Cheat Boxes throughout this article for those: don’t worry though, we don’t think it’s actually cheating at all as it can take quite some time to dig those things out of the drawers and cupboards, right?!
Plus we have a few World Book Day ‘no costume’ costume ideas featuring just props – suitable for children who don’t really like dressing up.
Here, we’ll give you a list of what items you’ll need for each World Book Day character, including any props and clothing and a link to the book itself on Amazon and, where possible, we’ve included a character photo shared by the brilliant mums in our Facebook community to give you some extra inspiration. Take a look.

Easy (and brilliant) World Book Day Costumes….

Costumes you can put together in 5 to 10 minutes 

Photo: Beckie C

1. Gangsta Granny

Props:

  • Bandit eye mask (or paint it on with black face paint) – or glasses (see below for template)
  • ‘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 below for instructions)

Download now!

Free how to make a Gangsta Granny wig and glasses – with template

Buy Gangsta Granny on Amazon

Pic: Helen T 

2. Alice in Wonderland

Props:

  • Blue dress
  • White apron/pinny
  • Hair bow

Buy Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on Amazon

3. Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Props:

  • Scruffy clothes
  • Handmade golden ticket or (even simpler) a bar of chocolate – if they’re allowed to take it into school!

Buy Charlie & The Chocolate Factory on Amazon

Pic: Rebekah C

4. Peter Rabbit from The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Props:

  • Blue jacket
  • Brown trousers
  • Bunny whiskers drawn on with face paint
  • Bunny ears (made with cardboard and attached to a headband)
  • Bag of carrots (optional)

Buy The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit on Amazon

Pic: Katie D

5.  Billionaire Boy

Props:

  • Messy hair
  • Grey trousers
  • Big white top
  • A wallet full of money (or make fake notes using paper or Monopoly money)

Buy Billionaire Boy on Amazon

Pic: Josie L

6.  Tracy Beaker

Ideal if your child has dark, curly hair. Still doable otherwise with a dark wig.

Props:

  • Red polo shirt
  • OR red/black stripy top

Pro tip:

You cut the sleeves off of a denim jacket to make Tracy’s classic denim waistcoat

Buy The Story of Tracy Beaker on Amazon

7. George Kranky from George’s Marvellous Medicine

Props:

  • Saucepan (or medicine-style bottle)
  • Big wooden spoon

Buy George’s Marvellous Medicine on Amazon

Pic: Tammie B

8. Harry Potter

Props:

  • Glasses
  • Face paint to draw on Harry’s scar
  • Black cape (often comes with Halloween dressing up costume)
  • White shirt
  • Normal school trousers/skirt, stick (for a wand)

Buy Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on Amazon

More Harry Potter costume ideas 

CHEAT BOX

If you have a witch costume from Halloween…

9. Room On The Broom – buy it on Amazon

10. The Worst Witch – buy it on Amazon

11. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe – buy it on Amazon

12. That’s Not My…Witch – buy it on Amazon

13. The Witch Family – buy it on Amazon

14. Which Witch? – buy it on Amazon

Pic: Tara B

witch

Pic: Getty

15. Harry from Harry & His Bucketful of Dinosaurs – PROPS ONLY

Props:

Small bucket containing toy dinosaurs

Buy Harry & His Bucketful of Dinosaurs on Amazon

Pic: Sammie S

16. Wally from Where’s Wally?

Props:

  • Stripey hat
  • Stripey top
  • Stripey socks or tights  if you have them
  • Round glasses

Pics: Getty

17. Mr Bump

Props:

  • Blue top and trousers
  • Bandage (if you have one) or toilet roll (if you don’t) – which is wound round your child’s head and middle

Buy Mr Bump on Amazon

Pic: Sharon D

18. Aliens Love Underpants

Props:

  • Alien mask or headband (get your little one to make it!)
  • Underpants or shorts worn outside clothes

Pic: Getty

19. Horrible Histories – Ruthless Romans

We reckon Rotten Romans is the easiest one to go for if you do the toga option.

Props:

Do put something under it though like a long-sleeved top and leggings / trousers otherwise it could get chilly!

Buy Rotten Romans on Amazon

20. Mr Bean

One of our Insta mums did this – and it looked great!

Props:

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

Buy Mr Bean: A Day at the Beach on Amazon

21. That’s not my…

Lots of options from this book series – here’s one from one of our mums on Instagram!

Props:

  • White cardie and trousers
  • OR white onesie for a baby/toddler
  • White paper and headband for the ears (you can do teddy, bunny or cat ears!)

Buy That’s not my teddy… on Amazon 

Pic: Getty

22. Matilda

Props:

  • Red hair ribbon
  • Small pile of books
  • Preferably blue dress

Buy Matilda on Amazon 

More Matilda costume ideas

Pic: Getty

23.  The Boy In The Dress

Props:

  • A dress
  • A football – or any kind of ball

Buy The Boy in the Dress on Amazon

CHEAT BOX

If you have a pirate costume…

24. Long John Silver from Treasure Island – buy it on Amazon

25. Hook from Peter Pan – buy it on Amazon

26. Pirates Love Underpants – buy it on Amazon

27. The Night Pirates – buy it on Amazon

Pic: Getty

pirate

Pic: Vicky W

28. The Cat In The Hat

Props:

  • Black leggings
  • Black t-shirt
  • White gloves
  • Red neck scarf
  • Stripey hat – you can make this using a tube of card. Add a rim and paint with red and white stripes
  • Whiskers drawn on with face paints

29. Thing 1 or Thing 2 from The Cat In The Hat

Props

  • Red/orange t-shirt and leggings
  • Write ‘Thing 1’ or ‘Thing 2’ on white cardboard and pin to the front
  • Blue wig (optional) if you happen to have one around the house

Pic: Francesca M

30. Mr Twit from The Twits

Props:

  • A fake beard – you can making it using dark feathers, or brown wool
  • Dark, messy clothes
  • A paintbrush and pot

Buy The Twits on Amazon

CHEAT BOX

If your child has ginger hair…

31. Ron Wealsey from Harry Potter – buy the Harry Potter collection on Amazon

32. Tintin –  buy the Tintin paperback collection on Amazon

33. Anne of Green Gables – buy the complete collection on Amazon

34. Annie – buy it on Amazon

35. Nancy Drew – buy the Nancy Drew starter set on Amazon

36. Pippi Longstocking – buy Pippi Lonogstocking books on Amazon 

37. The Little Mermaid –  buy it on Amazon

Pic: Getty

ginger

Not feeling creative yet? Try our World Book Day costumes you can buy

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38. Burglar Bill

Props:

  • Stripey jumper
  • Flat hat
  • Bandit eye mask (often come with superhero costume) – or draw one on with face paint, swag bag filled with scrumpled up paper (so it’s not too heavy)

Buy Burglar Bill on Amazon

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39. Pinocchio

Props:

  • Toilet roll tube to put over nose
  • Elastic to tie to the tube that goes over back of your child’s head
  • Hat with a feather in it

Buy Pinocchio on Amazon

If you have a child who loves other Mr Men or Little Misses as well as Mr Bump why not try….

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40. Mr Greedy

Props:

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

Buy Mr Greedy on Amazon

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41. Little Miss Inventor

Props: 

  • Yellow/green top
  • Glasses
  • Pencils
  • Rulers

Buy Little Miss Inventor on Amazon

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42. Little Miss Naughty

Props: 

  • Purple top
  • Green bow

Buy Little Miss Naughty on Amazon

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43. Little Miss Whoops

Props: 

  • Blue top
  • Blue trousers
  • Tissue paper or bandages around the head and top

Buy Little Miss Whoops on Amazon

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44. The Midnight Gang

Book Aid has a brill downloadable guide to help sort this costume

Props:

  • Stripey PJs
  • Slippers/kids’ Uggs for the classroom
  • Pillow
  • Balloon

Buy Midnight Gang on Amazon

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

45. Hetty Feather

Check out Book Aid’s easy-to-follow guide to sorting this costume

Props:

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

Buy Hetty Feather on Amazon

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46. The Gritterman

Props: 

  • Light/grey winter coat
  • Red scarf
  • Plain boots/wellies
  • A toy spade/shovel

Buy The Gritterman on Amazon

CHEAT BOX

If you have fairy wings…

47. Tinkerbell from Peter Pan – buy it on Amazon

48. Puck from a Midsummer Might’s Dream – buy it on Amazon

49. The Blue Fairy from Pinocchio – buy it on Amazon

50. The Wicked Fairy from Sleeping Beauty – buy it on Amazon

fairy
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51. Lemony Snicket’s The Bad Mood And The Stick

Props:

  • Blue dunagrees or a blue top/trouser combo
  • Bobbles to put hair in (high) bunches
  • A twig
  • Don’t forget the frown for the pics!

Buy The Bad Mood and The Stick on Amazon

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

52. Riley Can Be Anything

Props:

  • School blazer
  • School tie, or perhaps even a small tie from mum or dad’s wardrobe!

Buy Riley Can Be Anything on Amazon

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

53. Amber Brown Is Not A Crayon

An oldie but a goodie! Amber’s an ideal character for children with long brown/red hair.

Props:

  • Loose white t-shirt
  • Black leggings
  • Trainers
  • Bobbles/scrunchies for side bunches
  • A big bundle of crayons wouldn’t go amiss!

Buy Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon on Amazon

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_192629

54. Hortense And The Shadow

Props:

  • Cream jumper
  • Neck scarf
  • Of course, their shadow (so maybe a torch)

Buy Hortense and the Shadow on Amazon

CHEAT BOX

If you have a tutu…

55. Angelina Ballerina – buy it on Amazon

56. Dogs Don’t Do Ballet – buy it on Amazon

57. The Nutcracker in Harlem – buy it on Amazon

 

tutu
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58. Paddington Bear

Props:

  • 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 on Amazon

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_218863

59. Clarice Bean, That’s Me

Props:

  • A red or floral dress (preferably both)
  • OR a white sundress with patterns on it
  • OR a navy dress with a white school shirt

Buy Clarice Bean, That’s Me on Amazon

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

60. 101 Dalmatians

Props:

  • White t-shirt
  • Black marker to create spots
  • Optional: White and black face paint

Buy The Hundred and One Dalmatians on Amazon

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

61. Malala’s Magic Pencil

Malala’s not just a character – she’s a real life humanitarian, who little ones can admire. An ideal costume for Muslim children who admire Malala – or who want to wear one of mum’s headscarves.

Props:

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

Buy Malala’s Magic Pencil on Amazon

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

62. Diary Of A Wimpy Kid

Props:

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

Buy Diary Of A Wimpy Kid on Amazon

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

63. Winnie The Pooh

Winnie doesn’t usually wear pants, but you can certainly get a Winnie-inspired look for your little one with any pair of light-coloured trousers.

Props:

  • Plain red t-shirt
  • Big honey pot/jar with ‘Hunny’ written on in black pen
  • Headband
  • Cardboard to make bear ears

Buy Winnie The Pooh on Amazon

CHEAT BOX

If you have a princess outfit…

64. Sleeping Beauty – buy it on Amazon

65. Cinderella – buy it on Amazon

66. The Princess And The Pea – buy it on Amazon

67. The Princess And The Frog –  buy it on Amazon

68. Little Princess – buy the collection on Amazon

Pic: Getty

princess
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69. Fantastic Mr Fox

An easy, mum-approved costume idea – as chosen by one of our MFM mums!

Book Aid have a fab downloadable guide on how to make the mask.

Props:

  • Jacket/blazer
  • Scarf/bow tie
  • Crafty bits and pieces to make the mask

Buy Fantastic Mr Fox on Amazon

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

70. Emmeline Pankhurst/Suffragette

We’ve had lots of mums tell us their little ones have been inspired to go as a suffragette this year. This stylish Emmeline Pankhurst book is a good accompaniment.

Props:

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

Buy Emmeline Pankhurst on Amazon

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71. Enid Blyton’s Amelia Jane

Ideal if your child has long blonde hair!

Props:

  • 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 on Amazon

CHEAT BOX

If you have a vampire outift (pro tip: use a black scarf as a cape and draw on the fangs!)

72. The Little Vampire – buy it on Amazon

73. Dracula – buy it on Amazon

74. My Sister, The Vampire – buy it on Amazon

Pic: Getty

vampire
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75. Geek Girl

Book Aid have a fab downloadable guide for this costume

Props:

  • Normal clothes
  • Black-rimmed glasses
  • If your child doesn’t need glasses to see, a pink or red marker to write on the glasses

Buy Geek Girl on Amazon

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

76. Ada Twist, Scientist

Props:

  • Red dress, ideally polka dot
  • Yellow washing-up gloves (clean, ideally)
  • Experiment goggles (can you borrow these from school?)
  • Bobbles for bunches

Buy Ada Twist, Scientist on Amazon

Pic: Getty

77. William from Goodnight Mr Tom

Props:

  • Flat cap
  • Plain-coloured sweater or sweater vest
  • Black school shoes

Buy Goodnight Mister Tom on Amazon

Still: YouTube

78. Professor Snape

Ideal for children with long-ish dark hair.

Props:

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

Buy Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on Amazon

CHEAT BOX

If you have a skeleton outfit…

79. Funnybones – buy it on Amazon

80. Coco – buy the book version based on the movie on Amazon

Pic: Getty

skeleton

81. Stick Man by Julia Donaldson

If you’ve got some spare cardboard in the house, even better! You can make a costume from scratch

Props:

  • Brown clothes
  • Twig for full effect

Buy Stick Man on Amazon

Pics: Getty

82. Enid Blyton’s The Wishing Chair characters

Lots of options here.

Possible props – depends on which version of the book you’re using:

  • Blue jeans
  • Blue and white stripy t-shirt
  • Blue denim dungarees
  • orange spotty dress
  • Red t-shirt or shirt

Buy The Wishing Chair Collection on Amazon 

Pic: Magda I

83. Fox And The Ghost Hunt King

Props:

  • Red hoodie
  • Plain or white t-shirt
  • Some cardboard, paint and string (if you want the mask)
  • Little fox soft toy if you’ve got one

Buy The Fox and the Ghost King on Amazon

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

84. Captain Underpants

Only for the brave!

Props:

  • Any clothes
  • A pair of white underpants on top
  • If you’ve got one, a red cape or blanket helps

Buy The Adventures of Captain Underpants on Amazon

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

85. Sophie from BFG

Props:

  • pale or pink dress/shirt
  • little cardigan to match
  • empty glass or plastic jar
  • piece of paper to write ‘Sophie’s Dreams’ on
  • cellotape to stick the paper on

Buy the BFG on Amazon

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

86. Amelia Earhart

Props:

  • Brown leather jacket
  • White top/shirt
  • Warm hat
  • Dark glasses or goggles

Buy Amelia Earhart on Amazon

CHEAT BOX

If you have a stripey jumper…

87. Horrid Henry (blue and yellow)

Buy Horrid Henry Rules the World on Amazon

88. Where’s Wally (red & white stripes)

Buy Where’s Wally? on Amazon

89. Dennis the Menace (red & black)

Buy Dennis and the Chamber of Mischief on Amazon

Pic: Getty 

stripes
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 Scooby Doo’s Fred, Daphne, Shaggy and Velma

90. For Daphne, you’d need:

  • Purple dress
  • Headband

91. For Shaggy, you’d need:

  • A green, light blue or khaki-coloured top
  • Brown or red trousers (you could probably get away with most colours)

92. For Velma, you’d need:

  • An orange dress
  • OR an orange top/skirt combo
  • Some long socks
  • Some black glasses

93. For Fred, you’d need:

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

Buy Scooby-Doo! Encyclopedia on Amazon

last-minute-easy-world-book-day-costumes_194134

94. The Highway Rat

  • White shirt
  • Leggings (purple, black, blue)
  • Black boots/shoes
  • Black hoodie/jumper for the cape
  • If you’ve got a dressing up box, a pirate hat or pretend sword would complete the outfit!

One of our mums managed this look without a white shirt – just black jeans, a black pattered t-shirt and the cape

Buy The Highway Rat on Amazon

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95. Lily Bobtail from Peter Rabbit

Props:

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

You can also make another headband, add a blue shirt and BOOM – you’ve got a Peter Rabbit costume.

Buy Lily’s Party Time on Amazon

96. The Jolly Postman

Props:

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

Buy The Jolly Postman on Amazon

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

97. Lola from Big Hair, Don’t Care

Great for little ones with naturally curly hair!

Props:

  • Pink headbad
  • Pink vest top
  • Shorts
  • Trainers

Buy Big Hair, Don’t Care on Amazon

 World Book Day costumes which might take a bit longer – but we love them!

98. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Pic: Stacey G

For this you’ll need to cut large circles from green card (and one from red card) and string them together, with a longer piece of string for the top one to put round your child’s neck.

The red mask will need string or elastic tied round to fit your child’s head.

Buy The Very Hungry Caterpillar on Amazon

Pic: Alison L

If you happen to have a beard wig handy, this could be a great option! Dres your child all in white and use a bedsheet or large scarf as a kind of sash.

Then – the fun bit – make a ‘whale’ out of a large drink bottle, giving him googly eyes and and a big flappy tale.

This one is definitely scores high for  originality!

99. Jonah And The Whale

100. The Gruffalo

Gruffalo costumes are usually bought in the shops – but our reviews editor and crafty mum Magda’s designed a papier mache Gruffalo mask  you can make yourself in 5 minutes with your basic arts and crafts supplies.

Watch the full video tutorial here

What you’ll need:

  • PVA glue
  • masking tape
  • cardbord
  • scissors
  • 1 Balloon
  • paints
  • brushes
  • marker pen
  • newspaper
  • t41.issue paper

Buy The Gruffalo on Amazon

Pic: Vicky L

101. A dictionary

We love this representation of the Welsh dictionary! Use a large piece of folded card or 3 sides of a cardboard box to create the ‘dictionary’ (it can be Welsh or any other language) and then decorate it with words from that dictionary. Awesome!

Buy the Welsh-English picture dictionary for children from Amazon

102. Aslan from The Chronicles Of Narnia

You’d probably think of a onesie for an Aslan costume, right? Well, we’ve also got a handy video guide to making a papier mache lion mask for World Book Day, using crafty supplies you’ve *hopefully* got around the house.

Watch the full video tutorial here

Props:

  • PVA glue
  • masking tape
  • scissors
  • cardboard
  • paint brushes
  • marker pen
  • Newspaper
  • 1 Balloon

Buy The Complete Chronicles of Narnia on Amazon

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