World Book Day - Living in Fear of the Playground Death Stare

Posted on January 16 2015

World Book Day is looming. A day to celebrate a child’s love of books and the opportunity to raise money for worthy causes…yeah right!

At my son’s school, World Book Day can be an incredibly competitive affair, not just in the playground but across social media as parents post pictures of their creative efforts for everyone else to look on with envy.  Who has the fancy dress costume that is the most unique? Most expensive? Most laboured over? I am ashamed to say I’ve spent sleepless nights (ok, maybe a sleepless 15 minutes) worrying that I will have failed as a parent if my son’s costume isn’t the winner in at least one of these categories – after all, I run a kids fancy dress business for a living!

Let’s face it, I’ll be facing the death stare from parents either way, through resentment of the fact I can choose any outfit I like or pity at my lack of creative flair, so I’ve decided this year not to stress it and to give you some advice and how you can avoid doing so too.

Let’s look at some problems your little darlings could throw at you when it comes to deciding on an outfit and how you might best tackle it…

Problem: Child has a favourite book but refuses to be that character
Solution:  Agree on a second favourite alternative, source/create the secondary costume and then enjoy your child throwing a tantrum at 7.45am when they realise they actually want to be their favourite character after all.  Force them into second outfit, take them to school in tears and stride away, feeling the death stare at your back.

Problem: You have seen the perfect outfit on Pinterest but aren’t an experienced sewer/have no crafting skills.
Solution: Give it a go anyway, how hard can it be to follow those simple step-by-step instructions?! First you just need to buy 3 different types of fabric, a glue gun and some sequins…  After 3 days of sewing and gluing you end up creating what can only be described as an embarrassment and have to a) ask your mum to sort it, b) buy a costume or c) send them as a Disney Princess/Superhero – they have books about them right?!

Problem: Child insists on being a character which is really difficult to recreate - Elmer anyone?
Solution: Work on convincing said child that all the cool kids will be going as characters that dress in normal clothes (e.g. Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).  If that doesn’t work, suggest they create their own Elmer costume, after 10 minutes of struggle, gently re-suggest the normal clothes idea and a bag of sweets if they agree.  Wait for the death stare from the mums who actually did create Elmer and then found their child couldn’t walk/sit/use the toilet in the costume.

So, you see, World Book Day doesn’t have to be hard or stressful! Seriously though, it’s amazing how well you can recreate some characters just with clever clothing choices – like my nephew’s ensemble last year as the boy from Lost and Found.

Buying a fancy dress costume is by far the easiest option, our suggestion is that if you’re going to buy, then go for something that can be used again.  Costumes of specific characters will probably only be worn that one day, whereas an animal costume can be worn time and time again.


If you do fancy buying this year and saving the stress, that’s Time to Dress Up was set up - we pride ourselves on offering quality costumes you won’t find on the high street, perfect for parents that don’t have the needlework skills or time to make a costume from scratch.  So grab a coffee and relax whilst you browse through our World Book Day dress up collection for children and for babies.  We’re sure you’ll find the perfect costume for your child’s favourite literary character.





  • Nike Fraser : January 21, 2015

    i always shop buy. I wish I had time or effort to make that many costumes but with 5 kids its shop bought all the way. I have run on the these problems though and often have them changing their mind and not wanting to be the character I buy them.

  • Louise: January 20, 2015

    I live in fear of getting a letter home from school about any fancy dress days. Usually because they tell you to ‘come as a superhero’ the night before! It drives me crazy lol. I think World Book Day is gonna be really hard this year as Stacey is 11 and just doesn’t want to be a recognisable book character sighs

    Louise x

    Confessions of a Secret Shopper

  • The Monkeyfooted Mummy: January 19, 2015

    I once made gruffalo and little brown mouse costumes for my two teenies. They looked so cute until the eldest (3) refused yo be the gruff also and went in as a flamenco dancer!!!!! Got to admit shop bought is just easier!

  • Galina Varese: January 19, 2015

    Love your advice, going to share it around. My little man loves dressing up, but I bet Superhero costume would beat any other. In fact, we have ahem, three superhero pyjamas, 1 Batman costume, 1 Spiderman costume and loads of other super-paraphernalia.

  • lisa prince: January 19, 2015

    I love book day with my lot, they dont seem to be very adventurous though , and i have tried making my own on numerous occasions making me rather discreatly proud of my finished designs lol x

  • Sisley White: January 19, 2015

    Oh my goodness the stress of it all! I can’t believe how hard it can all be. The Lost and Found costume is adorable! x

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