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Thursday 25 February 2021

DIY World Book Day Costumes on a Budget

Photo by Steven Libralon on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

It’s nearly World Book Day, which means it’s time to start thinking about costumes. And with 40% of us parents choosing to make our kid’s costumes, according to a recent survey from Kiddi Caru, it’s time to turn to the arts and crafts, and for some, even dig out the sewing machine.

Whilst the majority of parents seem to enjoy making costumes for their children, dressing up for this event can soon rack up in costs, as over half of parents surveyed admitted to spending up to £30 on their child’s World Book Day costume. But if you’re on a budget this doesn’t have to be the case. We’ve put together some of the most popular costume ideas for World Book Day and given you an insight into how to create these characters’ looks easily and cheaply.

Read on to find out more about our top tips and tricks.

Harry Potter

According to the survey by Kiddi Caru, Harry Potter is expected to be the most popular costume for this year’s World Book Day. And it’s easy to see why, as it’s a pretty simple costume to pull off. Pair some grey trousers, or a skirt, with a white shirt and a V-neck jumper, and you’re already most of the way there – plus you’re likely to already have these items in your child’s wardrobe.

If your child wants to be in the Gryffindor House, then make sure to also include a red and gold tie. See if a family member has one in a similar style to borrow, or you can use some fabric paint to draw the stripes onto a plain tie. Simply change up the colours if your child would prefer to be in Ravenclaw (blue and silver), Hufflepuff (yellow and black) or Slytherin (green and silver). You could also make things even easier for yourself by using felt, which can be stuck onto a coloured tie, or added as a trim of your chosen House colour to their jumper.

If it’s Harry Potter that your child wants to be, then add some round lens-less glasses that can be bought online for an affordable price, or make some from a piece of card. Add a black cape that can also be handmade (see below) and draw a lightning bolt on their forehead using a makeup pencil, and the costume is complete.

But the wizardry costume ideas don’t have to stop at the main protagonist. Add some funkier glasses and unusual clip-on earrings to create Luna Lovegood, or re-use a wizard costume from Halloween, with the addition of a fake beard, for a Dumbledore-inspired look.

Photo by Rhii Photography on Unsplash


With so many to choose from, and a simple costume to make on a budget, superheroes are a go-to option for a lot of parents, and also a top choice for children. Although some may argue they’re not exactly recognisable book characters and are more known from the DC and Marvel film franchise, 68% of parents actually insisted that superheroes are an acceptable costume for World Book Day. Hooray! 

Building the basics of a superhero costume is easy. Depending on which superhero your child would like to be, first pick a long-sleeved top and some trousers or leggings in the same colour palette as your hero – red and blue for Superman, all black for Batman, grey and red for Thor, etc. This is very budget-friendly as it can be items that your child already owns.

Next, cut out a mask in coloured card, or if you don’t have any to hand, cut out the same shape in cardboard and colour it in – you could even get your child to help design the mask for their specific character. Thread some string or ribbon through some holes and it’s ready to wear.

For the cape, you’ll be glad to know there’s no need for sewing. You can take an old pillowcase or bed sheet, some felt or any piece of fabric you have to hand – drape around your child’s shoulders and cut to the right shape and length. You can then tie the end of the fabric together in a knot or glue on some Velcro as a fastening. Get your kids involved to add some felt decoration to match their chosen superhero. Put all the elements together and your child will be more than ready to save the day! 

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash


This bright and colourful character is another favourite, especially for children of pre-school age. In fact, 17% of parents thought that the Gruffalo would be this year’s most popular World Book Day costume. To create this costume, felt is your friend once again – not to mention quick, easy and cheap.

First, download a Gruffalo mask stencil which will make cutting out the shapes in card or cardboard even easier. Cover all of the parts in felt, in the right colours, and stick together, which your kids can help you to do too. Punch some holes in the sides and thread through some string or ribbon to hold the mask in place. With some brown shades of clothing, your child’s Gruffalo costume is done. It’s that simple! Plus, you’ll have all the fun of doing the DIY costume with your child too.

There is no need for World Book Day to feel daunting and expensive. With just a little imagination and effort, your child can have an outfit that they are happy and comfortable in.

Have fun!

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