Popular costume ideas for world book day

Popular costume ideas for world book day- kids dressed as superheroes with books

Popular costume ideas for world book day

World Book Day is a day when children of all ages will come together, dress up and share the joy of reading for pleasure. Teachers, are you short of ideas for your class this year but still want to join in on the fun? So why not get some inspiration from Hope and read our popular costume ideas for World Book Day 2023?



There are many wonderful animal characters from books we love that children can dress up as for world book day. Animal characters are one of the most popular costume ideas for world book day and can be easy to create.


The Cat in the Hat

The much-loved Dr Suess character is the perfect animal costume to wear for world book day. Plus, it can be easily created yourself. Teachers can put on some craft sessions for children to make props to go with their costumes too.

For this outfit all you need is a black top and trousers, felt to create a bow and fur and a long hat that you can either buy or create yourself!


Paddington Bear

Everyone loves Paddington Bear, especially due to the new films and the Queen’s Jubilee! Putting together a Paddington Bear costume is simple and can be done without crafting! All you need is a blue coat and a red bucket hat with yellow wellies to complete the look. Oh, and don’t forget the suitcase with the marmalade sandwich in it!




Elmer the Elephant

Elmer the Elephant is a classic children’s story and a popular choice for a world book day costume. Although, it can be quite difficult to put this outfit together, so an option is to buy an Elmer poncho like the one below.

However, it isn’t impossible to create the costume yourself. You can make your own Elmer poncho using an old blanket and creating various coloured patches onto it. You can then make an elephant hat or hood for the child to put on. If you’re great with knitting, you could even knit your own poncho from scratch.


The snail and the whale

One of the most popular costume ideas comes from the classic tale of the snail and the whale. Recreate the snail by making a shell that can go onto the child’s back. This shell can be made from anything available such as a rolled-up blanket. Create an antenna headband to complete the look.





Dressing up as fairy-tale characters is extremely popular amongst children for world book day. So, check out our top four fairy-tale characters that children can dress up as this year.



Dressing as Cinderella can be very easy to create yourself or you can find cheap costumes instead. Usually, children love to dress up as Cinderella in her ball gown. You could use a normal blue dress, adding layers of material at the bottom to create the ball gown look.




Tinkerbell is a character that can be easily recreated for world book day. Ready-made costumes are available at a low price, but a Tinkerbell costume can also be made at home or in the classroom. All you need is a green dress to customise with leaves and other accessories. Alternatively, you can create an outfit in the classroom from our dressing up chests picking out pieces to put together for your pupils.



Peter Pan

The boy who never grows up is a perfect costume to celebrate the classic story of Peter Pan. Recreating the popular world book day costume is simple all that is needed is a green top and trousers. Then, cut the bottom of the green top in a zig-zag shape to create the torn look. Create Peter Pans hat with felt or another sturdy material to complete the outfit.


Little red riding hood or the wolf

A great world book day costume is little red riding hood or the wolf. To recreate little red riding hood all that is needed is a dress and a red cape. Choose a basket as the accessory to complete the costume.

For the wolf, this outfit can be simple to create. Grey top and trousers with a cut out of fur to stick onto the top or use cotton wool. Have a wolf mask to finish the costume. You could make masks as a class for children to use for their world book day characters. Or invest in storytelling masks for children to choose from.



Classic story characters are a popular choice to dress up as for world book day due to their widespread admiration. These classic stories are ones everyone loves and have timeless characters that, every year, children dress up as.


Willy Wonka

There are many variations of this character to choose from, the Willy Wonka from the books, the first film or the second film. It can be a very simple and fun costume that can be made from a red or purple coat and a top hat. Don’t forget the cane, a staple accessory of Willy Wonka.


The Twits

Another Roald Dhal classic that children love is the Twits. This fun story with its eccentric characters is a great choice to dress as. Mr and Mrs Twit’s outfits can easily be replicated by simple clothing items and make-up.

Mrs twit’s costume could consist of a t-shirt and trousers or a baggy dress. Mr Twit can be a shirt, waistcoat and trousers with a dirty beard.

The characters come alive from accessories and make up. For both, create busy eyebrows and pimples with messy hair.


Where’s Wally

Finding Wally has been a popular yet frustrating game to play for years. Children love the Where’s Wally books, so it comes as no surprise that the character is a choice amongst many children to dress up as. Plus, Wally is easy to recreate with jeans and a red and white striped top with a matching beanie hat. Find some round glasses too, to look like Wally even more.


Harry Potter

Another much-loved story for children is Harry Potter. Many kids love to dress up as Harry Potter himself, but there is a plethora of characters to choose from. For every character, the costume is similar, a school uniform with a black robe, coloured scarves and a wand. For Harry, add a scar on the forehead and round glasses.


Eccentric characters

For a fun spin on costumes, try out the more eccentric characters that are one of the most popular costume ideas for world book day. Children love to be a little silly and have fun dressing up, and these four eccentric characters we have chosen will certainly bring this.


Gangsta Granny

Gangsta Granny was created by David Walliams and was a huge hit with children. She is a character that kids can have fun with and is simple to dress up as. Have a long skirt and blouse with a cardigan to look like the well-known character. Get an outrageous grey wig and even a burglar mask to complete the look and show old people are cool too.


Captain Underpants

This is another simple costume to create. Find some skin-coloured clothing and some white underpants to put on over the top. Finish the look with a red cape and even consider a bald cap for extra fun.

Have a selection of capes to choose from in your classroom for any superhero children may want to be.


The Lorax

This furry creature is a fun character that children can become for the day. An outfit can be created from orange clothing and a beanie like the below example. Get creative with props creating a moustache and eyebrows out of yellow card to bring the character to life.


Pippi Longstocking

Pippi Longstocking is a perfect choice for a creative yet easy costume. Source long stripy socks in two different colours to recreate the iconic long stockings.

For the rest of the costume, find some short dungarees or a pinafore and a plain t shirt. Wear a pigtail wig that can be bent or create a headband like the below example.



Share the joy and love of stories through these popular costume ideas for world book day. Get creative by making any props to complete the looks, which can easily be integrated into lessons. Be involved with the fun of world book day by helping children create their looks.

Why not try one of these costume ideas out yourself? Dressing up with your class makes children more confident, plus it’s fun to see their teacher joining in.


Struggling to think of activities to do in the classroom for world book day? Check out our ‘cross-curricular ideas for world book day’ blog.

Share your favourite literary character by showing us your world book day costumes on our Instagram.

<a href="https://blog.hope-education.co.uk/author/amber-vaccianna/" target="_self">Amber Vaccianna</a>

Amber Vaccianna

Hope blog writer

6 February 2023

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