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On 2 March, we’ll be celebrating World Book Day! This is a day for celebrating literature, and where kids are usually encouraged to dress up as their favourite book characters. The problem is, it’s not always easy to put together a costume for your child’s favourite character. Especially if you’re short of time! To help you get started, we’ve looked at ten easy outfits below:
There are plenty of books which feature pirates, so your child dressing up as one for World Book Day could be a great option! You may already have parts of a pirate costume lying around the house. Some of the more famous pirate stories include Treasure Island, Peter Pan, and the more modern Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists.
The basic costume consists of a stripy t-shirt, a pair of jeans, and something like a bandana or scarf to tie around your child’s head. An eye patch or fake sword would be good too, as would a toy parrot or something to act as a hooped earring.
Just like pirates, ballerinas appear in more books than you may expect. Perhaps your children grew up reading Angelina Ballerina, or are more familiar with the classic Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield. Whatever the book they choose to associate with, if your child studies ballet, you probably won’t need to buy anything extra for this outfit!
All that’s needed is a leotard, tights, and a tutu or dance skirt. Wearing ballet shoes may not always be a practical option, especially if it’s raining, but can be carried around if your child insists on including them in the costume!
Pippi Longstocking is the main character of a series of children’s books, written by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Like Peter Pan, Pippi Longstocking doesn’t want to grow up, instead wishing to have continuous adventures with her friends! The girl is fearless, brave, and superhumanly strong, but usually dresses very peculiarly!
Pippi Longstocking’s signature look is her mismatching socks, so these are the most essential part of the costume. The other main component of the outfit is a pair of long plaits – ideally you’ll put a length of wire inside each plait, so that the hair sticks out almost vertically! The clothes can be random, but remember that Pippi Longstocking always wears a skirt – even when climbing trees!
Ghosts pop up in a lot of stories, especially scary ones! And some of the most famous ghosts in literature include those depicted in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, as well as the ghost of Hamlet’s father, in Shakespeare’s play of the same name. There are additionally a whole host of ghosts in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy – the Dead Men of Dunharrow are cursed until they fulfil their oath to the king.
Depending on the type of ghost your child is dressing up as, (Nearly-Headless Nick from the Harry Potter series may be more difficult to copy than your average ghost, for instance) this costume is undoubtedly the easiest of those discussed! All that’s needed is an old white sheet, and a pair of scissors to cut out eye holes!
Does your child have a white shirt, black jumper or cardigan, and a pair of black trousers? There’s a good chance that at least some of these items of clothing will make up their school uniform, so putting together an outfit from the world of Harry Potter should be simple! If you have a witch or wizard costume left over from last Halloween, that will also work well! Your child doesn’t necessarily have to dress up as a Hogwarts student either – creating Dumbledore’s long white beard and eccentric robes is bound to be lots of fun!
To make sure that your child is recognisably a Hogwarts student, and not just in their own school uniform, a few added touches are a must! Things like a stripy scarf in house colours, and a handmade wand should make the costume clear. And if your child is going as Harry Potter himself, a pair of round glasses and a scar on the forehead are essential.
Who hasn’t heard of Oliver Twist? He’s one of literature’s classics, and is fairly easy to dress up as. You simply need some old clothes, that you don’t mind getting a little destroyed, and some imagination! A flat cap can also be a nice addition, but don’t worry if you can’t get hold of one.
For the costume, you’ll need a pair of trousers and a shirt, both of which you’ll need to fray and cut up. The trousers should be cut just below the knee, while the shirt could lose the cuffs and collar. Put marks on the clothing, to suggest dirt, and maybe add some dirty marks (in facepaint) to your child’s face. Bare feet may be authentic, but probably not advised!
The Adventures of Tintin, created by Hergé, were a series of comics about a Belgian boy called Tintin, and his dog Snowy. These two heroes become involved in many dangerous cases, but always end up saving the day through acts of courage! Published between 1929 and 1976, these stories were both exciting and beautiful in their illustrations.
As with the other costumes, this one is very straightforward to put together. Your child will simply need a pair of brown trousers (rolled up to just below the knee), long white socks, a white collared shirt, and a sky blue jumper. The trademark quiff may also be achievable with a lot of hair gel!
If you have a dog, you probably can’t let your child take it into school for World Book Day, but a toy dog wouldn’t go amiss for this costume! Preferably a white wire fox terrier!
The BFG is often a popular choice when it comes to dressing up as a book character, as it’s not a complicated outfit. Your child just needs a shirt, brown waistcoat, green trousers, and two paper plates to act as the giant’s enormous ears! A net for catching dreams would also be a good prop.
The character of Sophie in The BFG is another easy character to dress up as. Your child simply needs to put on some pyjamas or a nightie, a pair of glasses, and hold a jar of dreams! This jar can have a label (perhaps one copied from the book) describing the dream inside, and could be filled with something like battery powered lights or a glow stick.
Although these books are known as Where’s Waldo? in America, the main character is instantly recognisable across the world. Kids can have hours of fun studying the detailed pictures, trying to find Wally amongst the crowds of people in similar outfits.
There are three main parts to Wally’s costume – the red and white striped top, a similarly coloured bobble hat, and a pair of round framed glasses. Jeans or a denim skirt will complete the look, with optional extras such as a backpack, pair of binoculars, and any other travelling paraphernalia.
Almost every character from Scooby-Doo has an easy costume to put together! For instance, Shaggy just needs a green t-shirt, brown trousers, and perhaps a bit of drawn on stubble. If you have a Scooby teddy, that would complete the look, but it’s not essential! And if your child is creative, they can always make a box of ‘Scooby Snacks’ to bring along on the day.
Velma and Daphne are other great examples of simple costumes. An orange turtleneck, red skirt, and glasses make up Velma’s costume, while Daphne’s outfit consists of a purple dress and headband, as well as a pale green neck scarf. And while Velma’s brunette bob and Daphne’s red hair are fairly distinctive features, they’re not necessary.
You could get a wig if you’re looking for authenticity, but if your child has got the rest of the outfit, nobody is going to quibble! Perhaps throw in a magnifying glass, so that Daphne or Velma can better look for clues!