Book Week costume ideas

‘I just remembered the teacher said we have to wear a costume tomorrow.’

Did your blood pressure just spike reading that? Book Week: love it or hate it, that time of year will be upon us before we know it. (17–23 August, FYI.)

I’m somewhat unpopular when it comes to events like this because I LOVE a dress-up and I live for those opportunities to make something out of nothing on a tight budget. But I know I’m in the minority, so I’ve done some of the brainstorming for you and come up with a few options to help your kiddo stand out from the sea of Harry and Hermionies next week!


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Claris: The Chicest Mouse in Paris: Fashion Show Fiasco by Megan Hess

Let’s start with maximum glamour: Claris The Chicest Mouse in Paris: Fashion Show Fiasco by Megan Hess. Raid the dress-up box or wardrobe for the fanciest, most fashion-forward frock you can find. Accessorise with some boutique bags and top it off with some adorable mouse ears (quick to make from a headband and cardboard or felt) and a little pink lipstick nose. From Fashion Show Fiasco to Book Week on Fleek!


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Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure, Book 1 by Alex T. Smith

In Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure, Book 1 by Alex T. Smith, the treasure might be lost, but your costume idea is found! Throw together a black-and-white penguin suit from any combination of white shirt, black hoodie or jacket you might have. Craft an orange cardboard beak and a big orange bow tie, then finish off with a fedora and a magnifying glass. Better leave those fish finger sandwiches at home this time though.


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Izzy Gizmo by Pip Jones

Izzy Gizmo by Pip Jones is an engineering whizz – and her look is simple to recreate at home. Take one part tutu, one part stripey tee and a solid foundation of colourful boots! Don’t forget those fabulous round glasses (maybe Harry Potter left a pair around your house?) and a pencil for jotting down the next great invention idea.


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Little People, Big Dreams

David Bowie said we can be heroes just for one day, and the Little People, Big Dreams books are full of inspiring people to emulate – including Mr Bowie himself! But if your kid is more about running than reading why not be Muhammad Ali for the day? Track pants or shorts and a singlet are easy to come by, and a dressing gown or satin shirt makes a great ring-side robe. If you can’t find red ski gloves, perhaps a quick cardboard championship belt can finish the outfit.


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Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

In Vera Brosgol’s Be Prepared, the main character, Vera, just wants to fit in with her peers, but you’ll have a much easier time putting together her outfit than she did navigating Russian summer camp! You’ve got a head start if there’s a Scout or Guides shirt in the house – and those Harry Potter glasses come in handy yet again. Combine that with a navy netball skirt or shorts and a pair of hiking boots and you’re prepared to survive the costume parade!


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Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi

If your kids flew through the Amulet books by Kazu Kibuishi then I bet they’d jump at the chance to be Emily or Navin for a day. Got a Jedi cloak in the dress-up box? If not, a neutral-coloured throw rug could make a good cloak. Layer on a few green and brown layers, and if you’re an Emily, you’ll need a staff and – of course – an amulet. Make a quick amulet out of some gold cardboard or foil. If you’re a Navin, why not fancy up some goggles and bring a wrench along for any last minute repairs to the Firebrand!


Whatever you decide to do, remember Book Week isn’t about buying lots of expensive costumes: it’s about having fun, celebrating children’s literature and engaging in the culture of reading. If your kids are happiest as Hermione for the third year running, or living their dream as Spiderman, that’s what matters. And don’t forget: ghosts are in a lot of books and all they wear are sheets!


Pilgrim Hodgson is a children’s and YA specialist at Readings Kids.

Claris: The Chicest Mouse in Paris: Fashion Show Fiasco

Claris: The Chicest Mouse in Paris: Fashion Show Fiasco

Megan Hess

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