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15 Creative Costume Ideas for World Book Day

World Book Day is on Thursday 7th March 2024.

Get in to character!

Every year, on the first Thursday of March (7th March 2024), book enthusiasts and schools come together to celebrate World Book Day. This event, created by UNESCO in 1995, has become a worldwide phenomenon, dedicated to promoting the love of reading. World Book Day is a day that encourages people to become their favourite book characters, and really tell their favourite stories using costume. Whether you're a parent, a teacher, or simply an avid reader eager to wear the costume of your favourite character, we have 15 inventive and easy costume ideas for adults and children, inspired by beloved characters from the pages of well-known books.

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1. Sherlock Holmes

Is your child a mastermind problem solver? Transform them into a young Sherlock Holmes with a tweed coat and a magnifying glass. Don’t want to break the bank? No problem. Upcycle old clothes, search in charity shops for a ‘deerstalker’ hat and a baggy overcoat, and help your child solve Victorian mysteries.

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2. Harry Potter

For those who grew up with the boy who lived, a Harry Potter costume is a timeless classic. Hunt down a wizard’s robe and wand, and craft a ‘lightning bolt’ scar with makeup or a temporary tattoo. Remember, sometimes the best magic comes from a bit of DIY, so create your own wand from a stick or cardboard.

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3. Alice in Wonderland

Channel the weird and wonderful world of Alice in Wonderland with a blue dress or pinafore, paired with a white apron. A simple headband with ears or a themed hat completes the look. Create your own White Rabbit timepiece by printing a large clock face and attaching it to a ribbon.

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Keep scrolling for more fabulous ideas!

4. The Cat in the Hat

Celebrate Dr. Seuss by embodying The Cat in the Hat. This costume is super easy, and all that’s needed is a red-and-white-striped hat, a black felt bowtie, and a touch of face paint. For the more adventurous, sew your own tail and pair it with a striped shirt to go the extra mile!

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5. Gangsta Granny

Explore the cheeky world of “Gangsta Granny” by David Walliams. To dress up, wear an old lady’s wig, glasses, and a black and white striped top to capture the character’s double life. And don’t forget the swag bag filled with ‘stolen jewels’! This outfit is sure to make your child’s class mates laugh!

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6. Matilda

Step into character as Matilda, the young heroine with telekinetic powers. A blue dress, a red ribbon, and accessorise with a pile of books. If you’re looking for an exciting project, design your own ‘Matilda’s Library’ cards and wear them with pride.

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7. Phileas Fogg

Explore the world of science and invention as ‘Phileas Fogg’ with a top hat, monocle, and a suit of the Victorian era. The key to this costume is the traveling essentials – a globe or a pocket watch, and a hot air balloon creation as a prop.

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Celebrate World Book Day in style!

Dress up as Sherlock Holmes for World Book Day.

Dress up as the most famous fictional detective for World Book Day.

Costume ideas for world book day

Wednesday Addams is a fantastic and easy costume idea!

Harry Potter costume ideas

Transform your child from a Muggle in to a Wizard.

8. Wednesday Addams

Enter the mysterious world of the Addams family with Wednesday Addams. Known for her dark humor and charm, she wears a black dress with a white collar, long braided hair, and has an icy stare. To embody her, keep a serious face and maybe carry a toy spider or doll to match her quirky side.

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9. Elphaba

Stand out in emerald as Elphaba from “Wicked” and your child will soon become popular! A long, dramatic skirt or dress, black cape, and witch hat will form the basics. Explore makeup tutorials for turning human skin green.

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10. Queen of Hearts

For a simple yet dazzling costume, transform into the Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland”. A red gown, a heart-shaped collar, and a crown is all you need to pul off this look. Add a touch of face paint and you’re ready to go, off with their heads!

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11. Frodo Baggins

Dress as the humble and heroic Frodo Baggins. Grab a green cloak, a pair of bare feet (if your child is brave enough), and carry the One Ring on a chain. If you can’t find a cloak, any earth-toned outfit will work just fine.

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12. Captain Jack Sparrow

Sail the seven seas as Captain Jack Sparrow with layered, distressed clothing, beads, and a pirate hat. Eyeliner and a smudge of dirt help to complete the look. For those who like to craft, a compass or lock of pirate-worthy hair is the cherry on top.

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13. P.T. Barnum

Unleash your wild imagination as P.T. Barnum from “The Greatest Showman.” A tailcoat, top hat, and cane add showmanship to any outfit. Top it off with a homemade circus sign or juggler’s balls for a costume that’s sure to captivate.

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14. Jemima Puddleduck

Step into Beatrix Potter’s world by dressing up as Jemima Puddle-Duck. Wear a bonnet, blue shawl, and white clothes to match her style. Make a yellow beak from cardboard or paper and you’re ready to act out her search for a safe egg-laying spot in the farm or garden. This costume is great for those who love classic children’s stories, bringing to life a beloved animal character.

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15. Black Panther

Honor the legacy of bravery with a costume inspired by Black Panther. Dark clothing, a vibranium suit, and tribal markings unite in this powerful homage. For an added touch, create your own ‘vibranium’ claws using cardboard or craft foam.

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World Book Day lets us dive into our imagination and bring our favourite book characters to life. Making your own costume can be even more fun than buying one, but, it’s not just about dressing up; it’s about sharing stories. Whether you make a costume or buy one, enjoy the day with loved ones. The aim is to inspire, celebrate, and cherish the characters and stories that resonate with us. Add creativity to your World Book Day and remember, the best costume is one that makes the story come alive in your unique way. Happy World Book Day – may your costume be as magical as the stories themselves.

Alexandra handles all things marketing here at Virtual HQ

Alexandra O'Hagan

Marketing Executive

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