Although this page is based on school book character costumes, most of these costumes suggestions can be used for an adult fancy dress party as well.
World Book Day (early March every year) was first celebrated in 1995 organised by UNESCO and support for it is growing year on year. National Book Week (early October every Year) was first celebrated in 1919. Schools have to be registered and will tend to approach this day (or week) differently. Some schools will have a visiting book seller, others will invite a story teller and a growing number will encourage their pupils to come dressed as their favourite book character. This is where this page will help you. It will give you plenty of children’s book character fancy dress ideas that your child can dress up as and links to some of the most popular World Book Day Costumes. We also appreciate that a lot of you will be working on a tight budget, so we have also included some ideas on how you could put the costume together simply. The World Book Day Costume ideas are based on popular book characters for children in UK and some of these ideas may not work if you are somewhere else in the world.
Now, we all know that it can be difficult to get some kids to dress up at all. If your child is reluctant to dress up, it is no good just buying them any costume with the hope that they will wear it happily on the day. The chances are, in the morning, there will be a large tantrum and your day will get off to a very bad start! So, how can we get reluctant kids to dress up? Well, most schools are just happy that the kids are participating in the event, so it may be easier for your child to just wear a prop like a face bop (we stock a large range of these animal face masks that are very child friendly are are any easy option). A lot of major characters, although famous for being in films, or comics, often did actually start their lives as a character of a book, it may be worth researching your choosen costume to check before you purchase if you are worried. Take a look at our section based on Comic Book character Costume Ideas.
We would also like to point out that the suggestions on this page are designed for UK Primary School age children only up to the approximate age of 11 years.
N.B. Face Bobs are mentioned for some of the following book characters. Face Bobs are child friendly animal masks that give good vision, and some even come with an animal noise when you depress the nose. Check our whole range of animal face bobs as they can be an easy option for lots of book characters. We also stock a large range of animal noses, which are another great way to get numerous animal outfits at a very realistic price.
Cinderella – Wear a bridesmaid’s dress, or any Princess costume. You could also send
your child in a wench costume (poor cinders), or rag up an old party dress to get the look.
Fairy Godmother – Wear a white princess, or fairy dress, and add some wings
Indian In the Cupboard – Indian Costumes. This book also has cowboy characters
The Fox & The Cat – Two main characters, a fox and a cat. Cat costumes are available but you could easily use a face bob for either of these characters.
Hare & The Tortoise – It will be difficult do make or find a tortoise costume for this Aesop Fable, so most would just use a rabbit costume or rabbit face bob for the ‘Hare’. We have rabbit costumes to hire
Lion & The Mouse -Two main costumes, the lion and the mouse. Again, a face bob can make this an easy costume to make yourself. Take a look at our Cowardly Lion costume – it is ideal for this book character costume.
Goldilocks & The Three Bears -For Goldilocks you could use a party dress with a cape and a small basket. Just add a brown top and trousers to a bear face bob for one of the three bears.
Red Riding Hood – There are many variations of a Girls Red Riding Hood costume on the market to purchase. If you do not want to buy a costume just use a red dress and make a small cape from a piece of red fabric.
Snow White – It is probably easier to buy a Snow White costume unless you are a wiz
with the needle! Other characters include The Wicked Queen (any witch costume will do), woodcutter – wear a peasant costume, Dwarves and Prince Charming.
3 Little Pigs – Hard to get a costume, so face bobs (MA039) may be the only answer.
Prince Charming -This character is found in many fairytale books and with the popularity of Shrek, it has become a ‘must have’ costume for boys and men.
The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe – This story is set in the 1940s so a girls evacuee costume would be great for Lucy or the younger boys. Aslam – Lion costumes . To keep to the story, a Witch costume needs to be white, so maybe adapt an angel costume. The book takes the children on various adventures, so it is also okay to wear a King, Princess or a Queen’s costume.
Alice in Wonderland -This book gives many costume choices. Alice just needs a blue dress with a Victorian style pinafore and an Alice band. The white rabbit can be easily put together using a face bob and white clothes. The Queen of Hearts can wear a dress covered with hearts and a crown. The King of Hearts could be dressed like the Prince Charming but covered in hearts and wearing a crown. Take a look a tour Alice in Wonderland costumes
Harry Potter – A very popular choice with children at the moment. Harry Potter kits and costumes are available to purchase but you can purchase a cheap Halloween cape and some glasses to get the effect. The Gryffindor robe is unisex, so is ideal for Ron or Hermoine as well as Harry.
The Worst Witch – Any witch costume will suffice for this character.
Watership Down – A rabbit costume or face bob (MA039). Rabbit costumes are available to hire
The Lord of The Rings – This may be a little old for Primary School children but Frodo Costume kits are available to purchase for Frodo. We stock various adult Lord Of The Rings hire costumes including: Arwen & Gandalf
Dracula -Quite popular with boys, who do not want to look silly at school. Dracula is quite a cool book character but a costume that can easily be put together with a few fancy dress accessories.. Costumes are available to purchase but can be put together quite easily using black trousers, white shirt, bow tie, vampire teeth and some make up. A cape can either be made from some black material or a cheap one can be purchased. We stock Dracula costumes to purchase as well as all the accessories you could want to put your costume together at home.
Meg & Mog -Two main characters are a witch and a cat – see suggestions as before
Peter Pan – Peter Pan gives lots of character options. Peter Pan himself is normally depicted wearing green top and trousers but there are some good costumes available to buy. Captain Hook, the villain of the story is very popular with boys. Many costume variations are available. A standard pirate can also be worn by girls and boys as Smee and the other pirates on Captain Hook’s ship. Tinker Bell is the girls favourite. A green fairy costume or a green dress with wings will suffice. Other characters include: Wendy, mermaids and Indians
Pinocchio – A story of a puppet that comes to life. A Pinocchio costume (is available to buy (kids only, adults hire only) and is probably easier than trying to put this costume together. We also stock long noses
Gone With The Wind Okay, we know that this book is not a kids book at all but from our experience the young girls like dressing up as Scarlet O’Hara. We sell a great value, red girls Victorian costume that is ideal for this character. The good news is that it can also be worn on the next Victorian day at school.
Oliver Twist – a great book choice for both girls and boys. The boys can go as Oliver himself. Victorian costumes are available, or you could put your own costume together with some shorts, white tatty shirt and a cap. The girls would go as Nancy and wear the same dress that we described in Gone With The Wind (above). Again, both costumes could be used for the next Victorian dress up day.
Zorro – Created by Johnston McCulley in 1919. A Zorro costume includes: Black trousers and a long sleeved top. Add a cape and a mask. A rapier sword will complete the look but make sure that your school is okay with it.
Star Wars – Although this started out as a film, various books have spawned from it. Choose from Princess Leia, Queen Amidala, Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Yoda, Chewbacca and many more iconic characters. We do stock a range of Star Wars costumes and also have a selection for hire
Robin Hood – A Robin Hood costume can be made up with some old brown trousers and long sleeved tunic. A belt can be looped over the shoulder. Bow and arrows are very cheap to purchase – please check with the school that this item can be taken in. Other characters include: Maid Marion, Friar Tuck, Merry Men
Jack & the Beanstalk - Various characters to choose from including Jack – wear a poor
Tudor Boy costume (men could wear this Robin Hood costume – it is ideal for many fairytale characters) or rag some old trousers and shirt. Wear an old waistcoat and you have the idea. Girls could go as Jack’s mother in a wench style costume, or girls and boys could go as the cow!
Pied Piper of Hamelin - Pied means colourful, so the costume should be brightly coloured. Will need a pipe (or recorder!)
Winnie The Pooh – Go as a yellow bear, tiger, donkey, piglet or kangaroo – easiest way would be to wear a face bob or one of our animal masks
Princess & the Pea – Wear a Princess costume or a bridesmaid or party dress.
Prince Caspian – Linked to The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe.
The Frog Prince – Wear a King or Prince style costume with our fantastic frog mask
The Jungle Book Published in 1894, although characters first appeared in193/4 in magazines. Characters include: Baghera the black panther, wolves, tiger (Shere Khan), Baloo The Bear, Kaa the python, Hathi the elephant and wolves. Take a look at our animal masks
Gulliver’s Travels -Based in the late 17th century – mid 18th century. Any Georgian costume will suit (you could use any Pirate Captain costume as it does give the required look). We also have a nice selection of Georgian style costumes to hire
The Wind In the Willows – Main characters include:
- Mr. Toad – Frog mask available
- Mr. Badger – Badger mask available
- Otter & Portly
- Gaolers Daughter – only human character
- Chief Weasel
- Rabbits & Squirrels – Rabbit face bobs available (MA039)
Jemima Puddleduck – Wear a duck mask and use some white feather wings to create your outfit
Heidi – In the 1st book, Heidi is described as having short, dark, curly hair. In later books she has long straight, blonde hair – the choice is yours! Most people would wear a German style of costume. Costumes are available to hire only
Winnie The Witch – any witch costume should be okay
Wizard Of Oz - This originated as a childrens book (1900) with the same name. Props & Frocks stock The Wizard Of Oz Costumes to buy, or hire. Main characters include:
- Dorothy – Blue gingham dress. Brown plaited hair available to hire or buy.
- Scarecrow – Rip old clothing, use string for a belt. If you can get hold of hay, or straw, stuff it in pockets. Carrot nose available to purchase.
- Lion – face masks and face bobs available. Wear a mustard coloured top and trousers. Costume available to purchase
- Tin Man – silver metallic face paint available. Difficult to get the right effect for the costume. Packaged costume available to purchase.
- Wicked Witch of The West. Standard black witch costume. Green face. Have a look at the small central rail that has a selection of witch costumes on it
- Glinda (good witch). Pink fairy costume.
James & the Giant Peach – Bug costumes. We stock ladybird, dragonfly, bumble and
butterfly wings. We also stock bee and ladybird head boppers and costumes. Wizard (the Old Man) – appears just once in the book, but is behind all the magic that happens.
Costumes that we stock to purchase that are suitable for this book character are: Bumble Bees, Ladybird, Wizard. We do stock some bug costumes to hire. Wear an evacuee boy (2496), for James
The Railway Children – 1st published in 1905, although strictly the Edwardian era, most people would use a Victorian costume. The good thing about purchasing a kids Victorian costume is hopefully you will also be able to use it during a Victorian day at school.
The Famous Five – Enid Blyton actually wrote 21 books in The Famous Five Series. 2 girls and 2 boys, with their dog, Timmy, made up the 5 characters. Set in the 1940’s standard children 40’s costumes are suitable. Our Evacuee costumes are ideal for some of these book characters.
Goldilocks – our Goldilocks Girl’s costume is available in 4 sizes up to an extra large size.
Aladdin – A great favourite with children, it was a film first although the story has been re-told in children books. We stock some great Chinese accessories that will help you to complete this type of costume. Main characters:
- Aladdin – coolie hat, waistcoat and baggy trousers / pantaloons. We also stock coolie hats.
- Jasmine – wear a belly dancer style costume
- Genie – Waistcoat and baggy trousers / pantaloons and turban.
- Jafar – the baddie
The Witches – standard girls witch costumes – all you need is a black dress and then look at some of our witch accessories to help you complete this outfit.
Charlie & The Chocolate Factory – Charlie could wear a standard schoolboy costume (ideal if your son does not want to dress up – a Victorian costume or evacuee costume would be ideal). Take a look at our range of boys Evacuee & Victorian costumes Just give him a golden ticket. Willy Wonka could wear a Victorian style costume, although we also stock a costume to purchase that is suitable for this character. Oompa Loompa costumes are available to purchase. Wear a cowboy costume for Mike TV. A costume is also available for Violet.
Horrid Henry – A licensed costume is now available, although it does not come up that large and is probably only suitable for up to 7-8. We also stock a jumper only that is more generous.
Doctor Dolittle – A standard Victorian costume. Animals featured include:
- Parrot – animal masks for most of these birds and animals
- Mouse – this character is white, we only stock grey mouse face bobs.
Just William - Schoolboy Outfit – our evacuee boy (2496) costume would be ideal for this character. We also stock a selection of schoolboy accessories including caps, ties and catapults.
Lizzie Dripping – Witch Costume
Bible – Use one of our nativity costumes that include costumes suitable for Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, angels and Kings as well as our range of animal face bobs
The Snowman – Childs Snowman costume
A Christmas Carol – Again you can use children Victorian costumes for this book and also a ghost costume.
Hamlet – Witch costumes and a King costumewould be suitable for this book
Julius Caesar Roman costumes for this Shakespearian book
A Midsummer’s Night Dream – Witch & Fairy Costumes
King Lear King (KO018) & Medieval Costumes
Jungle Book – Assorted animal costumes, including a tiger.
Frankenstein – Green face paint, bolts (available to purchase) and a black wig will give the idea of this monster. Wear an oversized jacket and pad out the shoulders to complete the look.
The Tiger Who Came To Tea – Tiger costume. We stock tiger face masks and tiger face bobs (MA039) to create the idea of this book character
The Night Pirates – Pirate Costumes. An easy costume to put together if you do not want to purchase a complete outfit. We stock a huge range of pirate accessories so you can put your own costume together at home.
The Fantastic Mr Fox – Fox Costume – a fox mask is available to purchase and wear normal jacket. We also stock a brown tail, ideal to use as a fox tail
Where’s Wally Loved by kids for many years. Where’s Wally Licensed costume is available for children & adults. Red and white striped top, blue trousers, matching hat.
Where’s Wenda Character from The Where’s Wally books. Licensed costume available for children and adults
Gangsta Granny Written by /David Walliams. Granny wears a floral dress (our Evacuee girls costume would be ideal)
The Cat In The Hat – Scarves and hats are available to purchase, as are a huge range of cat accessories to create the look. Just wear black long sleeved tee shirt and black leggings or trousers.
Bobby The Bee Little BeeMaya The Bee Ruby Lee the Bumble Bee Wear a bee costume for all of these 4 kids books
The Orchard Book Of Greek Myths
Atticus The Storyteller Wear Roman Outfits
Old Mother Hubbard Wear an old bridesmaid dress, or one of our Tudor peasant costumes
Little Match Girl – wear a poor Victorian costume
Romeo & Juliet – wear Medieval costumes
Jack & Jill (Pinocchio costume will be suitable for Jack)
Little Miss Muffet -wear a Victorian costume or old Bridesmaid dress. We also stock a lovely girl’s Miss Muffet Costume which is available in 4 sizes.
Mary, Mary… wear a girls Victorian costume for these Nursery rhymes often found
in books. We also stock costumes that are suitable for these characters in our hire range.
Rapunzel Wear a Princess costume with a blonde wig. Other characters include: Dame Gothel, a nasty enchantress ( a witch costume would be okay) and a Prince, who rescues Rapunzel
Sleeping Beauty Characters include: Sleeping Beauty, Prince, King Queen & Bad Fairy/Witch. We stock the licensed Disney Sleeping Beauty Costume.
Tom Tom The Pipers Son wear a Tudor Boy , or Victorian Boy for this Nursery rhyme Character. We also have hire costumes for this character
Knights Of the Round Table- This book is full of Knight characters and a King. Take a look at our Knight costume
Mary Poppins Book originally published in 1934. Full of characters including a chimney sweep (Bert), the children Jane & Michael, Mary Poppins.
Wear Victorian / Edwardian style costumes. A new adult costume that is ideal for this character will be available very soon – watch this space!
The Gruffalo Magical kids storybook with some animal characters. Most would need to be made up with a face bop (MA039) and the right coloured clothing. Characters include: Mouse, Lion & Owl.
The Owl & The Pussycat. We do stock cat costumes and a great range of cat accessories to help you to make up this character. We also stock owl face bops and overhead masks.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame This story (published in 1831) features a gypsy girl (Esmerelda), so why not have a look at the gypsy costumes we stock. Quasimodo is the Hunchback of Notre Dame and his costume could be made using the brown deluxe Robin Hood , some padding and a cape
Dick Whittington Characters include a cat (Puss in Boots) and Dick Whittington. The Robin Hood Brown deluxe costume is ideal for Dick and his cat is famous for wearing boots, so why not just add a pair of over boots to our cat costume (KO015)?
Hansel & Gretel - Use German style costumes for these fairytale characters
Mickey & Minnie Mouse we have hire costumes suitable for these characters that feature in many children books.
Dumbo although strictly a film, it features in many kids books. We stock elephant face bops. We also stock clowns that feature in the film.
Sword In The Stone- This book is full of Knight characters, wizards, Medieval ladies and
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Script written by Roald Dahl, and loosely based on the book by Ian Flemming. Set in Edwardian times, the nearest we have for costumes would be Victorian. Main characters include: Inventor (Caractacus Potts), his two children (Jeremy and Jemima), Truly Scrumptious, an upper class lady and The Child Catcher.
The Little Mermaid Although strictly a Disney Film The Little Mermaid is in many books. We stock an Ariel Costume (883674) We also do a Mermaid Costume (KO020) and The Sharpay Dress (882951) minus the brooch makes a lovely mermaid.
Other hire costumes that we stock are below (the book characters that they are suitable for will be listed alongside)
- Medieval Girl Costumes Maid Marion, Princess Fiona, Repunzel, Sleeping Beauty
- Indians Indian in the Cupboard, Peter Pan
- Knights The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, Knights Of The Round table, Sword In The Stone
- Medieval Boy Pied Piper, add a cape for a Prince Charming or King
- Alice In Wonderland
- Red Riding Hood
- Tinker Bell
- Victorian Boy Willy Wonka, Fantastic Mr Fox (add Fox Mask and tail), White Rabbit (add rabbit mask and large clock), Gulliver from Gullivers Travels