Thursday, 6 March 2014

Easy, Low Cost World Book Day Outfits

As usual, we forgot about World Book Day. Held each year in March, if your child is at school, chances are they'll be expected to participate in this event. Unfortunately, this will require a costume of some sort. I'm not against the idea at all, but with everything else going on within the spheres of school, work and home life, it can be an additional stress to add to the ever-growing list of things to tick off the to do list. For some parents dressing up can mean an costly excursion to the local costume hire shop - we've seen some pretty impressive outfits rock up school over the years for the various other dressing-up occasions (ancient Egypt day, Roman day, Victorian get the picture) that crop up with amazing frequency during the school year, but to me that kind of defeats the object. Not only does this set you back a few quid each time, but surely the idea is for the child to participate in some way, perhaps by making a head-dress or customising an old t-shirt? Isn't that part of the fun and learning experience? 

On the other end of the scale are those parents who manage to create the most fabulous home-crafted costumes - the kind of costumes that look as if they involved several trips to Hobbycraft and a weekend labouring over a sewing machine. I take my hat off to them for their dedication to the cause, but my excuse is I don't have a sewing machine...

So, with precisely two hours at our disposal to get something sorted for World Book Day, here's what we did this year:

Tin Tin

Our five-year-old is a big fan of this classic book character. Luckily his look is a really easy one to replicate and cost me precisely £2.50 to put together. If you have a son in Beavers, the Beaver jumper is the exact shade of blue of Tin Tin's jumper. If it's covered in badges, simply turn it inside out and pop one your child's white school polo necks underneath, with the collar showing. We used some tan coloured trousers we already had, turned up to expose a pair of white knee-length socks. School shoes will be fine to finish things off. Toy Snowy (which we already had) optional - we bought ours in John Lewis a couple of years back. You may also need to buy some hair gel to create Tin Tin's trademark quiff. 

Roderick from Diary of a Wimpy Kid

This is a good one for older children who are perhaps a little less willing to dress up because it's 'not cool'. Our son is in year 5 and becoming increasingly image conscious so choosing a cool character to emulate is becoming more of a requirement. I can't take full credit for this one, but a friend suggested choosing a character from Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Our kids love this fantastic series of books and we took our inspiration from the film, choosing Greg Heffley's older brother Roderick as our model. With his 'Emo'-style clothes and involvement in a rock band (the brilliantly named 'Loded Diper' (sic)) he ticks the boxes for irreverence and ease. 

We bought a pack of white t-shirts and some black permanent marker from Asda - total cost about £4. I then customised the t-shirt with the Loaded Diper logo, creating a t-shirt not dissimilar to the one worn by Roderick in the Wimpy Kid films. Worn with jeans and some skater-style high-tops (both of which we had already) we were almost there, save for a quick application of hair gel and some black eye liner (a Roderick trademark) from my make-up bag. 

Other ideas

Last year our youngest went to school as the Very Hungry Catperillar for World Book Day. This was pretty easy and cost-effective too, as we put him in a pair of green trousers and long-sleeved green t-shirt, and added a green puffa gilet to give his top half a suitably caterpillar-y look. All of these items were foraged from our son's wardrobe. He wouldn't let us daub his face in green face paint which would have added to the effect, but he was happy to wear some antennae which we made from cardboard and covered in green paint. We also cut out some big cardboard lollipops like the candy featured in the book.

Where's Wally is another super-easy idea which will set you back just a few quid. We bought a red stripy long-sleeved t-shirt in Primark, worn with blue jeans. We picked up some round pretend glasses in the local joke shop for a couple of pounds (which can be used another time for a Harry Potter costume) and picked up an old walking stick that had been gathering dust in my mum's garage. You might also be able to find a white or red bobble hat to finish the look off.



  1. We had to do this today and I have to be honest I completely forgot about it until 10 minutes before we walked out the door. I quickly raided the dressing up box and pulled out a knights outfit, not quite sure which night he was but it had to do! You've got some great tips there, I love the tin tin outfit :-) Thanks for sharing on #ThriftyThursday :-)

  2. I know! It certainly helps to have a well stocked dressing up box. Coming up we have Ancient Greek day but I guess you can conjure up the classical look with an old white sheet. Our kids seem to have a dress-up day virtually every other week!

  3. Lovely ideas, I completely agree that buying expensive dressing up outfits defeats the object!


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