Cheap costume ideas for World Book Day

two boys reading, world book day cheap costume ideas

Are you ready for World Book Day? On Thursday 7th March, schools across the UK celebrate authors, books, illustrators and reading, encouraging kids to dress up as their favourite characters. If you haven’t decided on a costume yet, here are a few great last minute costume ideas you can put together in a flash without splashing out.

After all, no one wants to stay up late stressing over an extravagant Elmer the Elephant of Gruffalo costume. Try one of our quick, easy and cheap costumes which you can to slap together in a hurry and still wow the class.

Roald Dahl’s book-loving Matilda

Any Roald Dahl fans out there? What character could be more perfect for World Book Day than Matilda – a little girl with telekinetic powers who loves to read? The perfect role-model! Plus her costume couldn’t be easier – grab a blue dress, tie a red ribbon in their hair and send them to school with a stack of books. This cute and simple costume is a great choice for your little bookworm.

Illustration of Matilda with pile of books by Quentin Blake

Wally from Where’s Wally? By Martin Handford

Why not try a classic – the Where’s Wally books might not be a piece of revolutionary literature, but Wally is instantly recognisable and so easy to imitate. Pick up a simple red and white striped t-shirt, glasses, a beanie hat with a bobble and you’re done! They’re sure to stand out from the crowd in this fun, budget-friendly look.

Where's Wally book cover

Anne from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Another easy and recognisable character is Anne from the classic piece of children’s literature – Anne of Green Gables. Anne is a chatty, imaginative orphan who has moved to Green Gables to start a new life.

Her distinctive look features twin plaits tied with ribbons and a straw hat. With this one, it’s all about the hair – they’ll be recognised immediately! And if they have red hair, even better, but this costume will work for any little girl who will sit still long enough to have her hair braided!

For the final touches go for a simple blue or white dress. The best part is the dress doesn’t need to be bought specially – it can be worn again and again, making it better value for money.

Anne of green gables book cover

Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

Again, why not opt for a classic character who wears normal clothes, meaning you’ll get more use out of them once World Book Day is over. Christopher Robin classically wears blue shorts and a yellow polo shirt or blue checked top, sometimes with simple wellington boots.

Send them to school in this simple outfit with a Winnie the Pooh bear or their favourite teddy and they’ll be recognised immediately.

Winnie the pooh christopher robin pooh sticks illustration

Peter Rabbit from Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Dressing as an animal is a cute and easy way to create a fun, original costume. Mischievous Peter Rabbit is one of the easiest – put them in a blue jacket over brown clothes, get some rabbit ears or make them out of cardboard or felt.

Draw on some whiskers with a face paint kit (or even just an eye pencil). To finish, stick on a cotton ball tail and stuff their pockets with carrots for a fun finishing touch.

tale of peter rabbit beatrix potter book cover

Angelina from Angelina Ballerina by Katherine Holabird and Helen Craig

For all the pink-loving girly-girls, an Angelina Ballerina costume couldn’t be easier. Find a cheap pink tutu and slip on some pink shoes and white tights. Make some simple mouse ears out of felt, tie her hair in a pink ribbon and draw on some whiskers. She’ll be dancing her way to school to show her friends her gorgeous costume.

angelina ballerina book cover

The Boy from The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

This one’s an easy one – just grab some striped pyjamas, a dressing gown and slippers and you’re good to go! There are loads of characters who wear pyjamas that you can try this for, like Wendy from Peter Pan, Tom from Tom’s Midnight Garden or Grandpa Jo from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – easy peasy.

the snowman book cover raymond briggs

A Dementor from the Harry Potter series

For any mischievous little monsters who love giving their friends a scare, create a dementor costume. Fashion this yourself out of a black bed sheet – the more ragged the better. This one needs minimal effort but has fantastic results – they’ll be chasing their friends around the playground all day!

harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban j.k. rowling

Tinkerbell from Peter Pan by James Matthew Barrie

Give them wings with a classic Tinkerbell costume, Peter Pan’s cheeky and feisty sidekick. All it takes is a simple green dress and some wings. Make the wings yourself at home with coat hangers, some green tights and plenty of glitter for some pretty, D.I.Y. fancy dress. Tie her hair up in a bun and she’ll be ready to take flight.

Peter Pan and tinkerbell laughing disney film screenshot

Puppy from The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith

Go simple with a do it yourself dalmatian costume from The Hundred and One Dalmatians. Make some black spots out of felt to stick to a white t-shirt, or just draw them straight on. Make matching ears out of felt and stick them to a headband. To finish, add a dab of face paint to create the finishing touches for your little pup.

101 dalmatians book cover dodie smith


As fun as these ideas are, there’s no shame in shopping off the rack. If you don’t have the time to make a costume yourself, there are loads of great places you can buy fab, budget-friendly, ready to wear costumes for World Book Day.

Find fab, no-fuss showstoppers at Asda. This year they’ve got a fantastic collection of costumes for everyone from newborns to 14-year-olds selling from just £8. Your kids are sure to get excited about reading when they see the Mary Poppins costume and wild Willy Wonka outfit.

There are even more great choices to discover at Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Check out fun Harry Potter uniforms, Little Red Riding Hood dresses and even Cat in the Hat onesies. Find the kids costumes they’ll love for less with one of Savoo’s discount codes and vouchers, not to mention a few great new books to get stuck into!

Which costume are you excited to try? Let us know in the comments!

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