49 Brilliant World Book Day Costume Ideas For Your Kids

World Book Day fancy dress costume ideas

World Book Day brings the same challenge every year, and we’re here to solve it for you in 2021!

We’ll help you find fancy dress ideas that your child will love. A costume that their friends will think is cool. Something that’s comfortable and practical for a day at school. It could be a classic children’s character, or something totally different to anything they’ve worn in previous years.

There are a whopping 49 costumes to choose from here, so you’re sure to find an outfit that fits the bill. Let the search begin!

Alice in Wonderland Costumes

Lewis Carroll’s crazy world of Wonderland has introduced children to a whole host of unforgettable characters, and you’ll find costumes for all the best ones here! We’ve even got some step-by-step make-up video tutorials for you to try, too.

1. The Mad Hatter

A child wearing a Mad Hatter costume from Alice in Wonderland for World Book Day

The books are full of brilliant characters, but for many, The Mad Hatter will always be the best. In recent years, that’s probably partly down to Johnny Depp. However, we think the Hatter has always had one of the coolest costumes around, and World Book Day is a great time to give it a try!

You can even do your child’s make-up for them with this handy tutorial video!

2. Alice

Kids all over the world love reading about Alice’s adventures, and we know there are plenty of little girls who would jump at the chance to be her for a day!

3. The Cheshire Cat

Cheshire Cat World Book Day fancy dress costume

Here’s a costume that’s sure to stand out! This Cheshire Cat outfit incorporates the character’s famous pink and purple stripes into this dress, tights and headband ensemble. We’ll leave it to your little one to add their own cheeky grin!

4. The Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts World Book Day fancy dress costume

This outfit is great for kids with a bit of a feisty side! The hot-tempered Queen of Hearts is certainly a fun villain to play for a day, and this make-up tutorial based on Helena Bonham Carter’s film portrayal will help complete the look.

5. Tweedle Dum/Dee

Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee World Book Day fancy dress costume

Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee might not be the most helpful characters Alice meets, but this outfit is certainly a useful answer to your World Book Day needs. It’s a particularly good choice for a pair of brothers or sisters.

The Wizard of Oz Costumes

When it comes to The Wizard of Oz, you could argue that the film is more famous than the book. Indeed, L. Frank Baum’s novel is well over a century old. However, Dorothy and her travel companions remain as iconic as ever, so they’re great fancy dress options for World Book Day.

6. Dorothy

Dorothy from Wizard of Oz with a Toto bag

We all know how much Dorothy loves being at home, but we’re sure she won’t mind spending a day at school! And what about Toto? Your child’s school is unlikely to be happy with a dog running around the classroom, but this fun fancy dress accessory comes complete with a cuddly pooch, so he won’t miss out on the fun!

7. The Scarecrow

Boy in Scarecrow fancy dress costume from The Wizard of Oz

The Scarecrow might be missing a brain, but even he can see that this costume is anything but the short straw when it comes to World Book Day!

8. The Tin Man

Boy in Tin Man fancy dress costume from The Wizard of Oz

If you’re still searching for World Book Day fancy dress, why not follow your heart? That’ll lead you to another of Dorothy’s friends – the Tin Man!

9. The Cowardly Lion

Child in Cowardly Lion fancy dress costume from the Wizard of Oz

Last but not least from the Land of Oz, don’t be afraid to try something a bit different by dressing up as the Cowardly Lion! This lion costume works especially well if your child goes as part of a group with a Scarecrow and a Tin Man.

Peter Pan Costumes

Did you know that J.M. Barrie’s most famous work was actually written as a play seven years before it was a book? Peter Pan is such an iconic story, it’s no wonder that the brilliant characters are still popular over a century later!

10. Peter Pan


Let’s start with the boy who wouldn’t grow up! This Peter Pan outfit is so good, we reckon it’ll fly off the shelves!

11. Tinker Bell

Tinkerbell fancy dress costume

She might not have much to say for herself, but as Peter Pan’s sidekick, Tinker Bell is certainly an important part of the story. Oh, and did we mention this costume comes with light up wings? We’re pretty sure your little one will love that!

12. Captain Hook

Captain Hook World Book Day fancy dress costume

He’s one of the country’s favourite pantomime villains, and now World Book Day has given Captain Hook another chance to shine! With his distinctive hooked hand, everyone will know who your child is dressed as straight away.

Plus, pirates are really cool, so your kids will love dressing up as one!

13. Tick-Tock The Crocodile

Peter Pan crocodile World Book Day fancy dress costume

While we’re on the subject of Captain Hook, he’s probably the only person who wouldn’t be a fan of this next costume! After Peter cuts off Hook’s hand and feeds it to Tick-Tock the crocodile (wait, was this really a children’s story?), the hungry reptile follows him around for the rest of the book.

Of course, the crocodile also announces his presence with the sound of a ticking clock, but we don’t recommend making this part of your costume. Not unless you really want to wind up your child’s friends and teachers, anyway.

Harry Potter Costumes

2018’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald shows that the Potter universe isn’t slowing down any time soon, even if it does now play out largely on screen. J.K. Rowling’s characters, both from the original Harry Potter books and the Fantastic Beasts world, remain as popular as ever.

14. Harry Potter

Child wearing a Harry Potter costume with glasses and wand

The original Boy Who Lived is the obvious choice if you’re going down the Harry Potter fancy dress route, and here he is! You’ve got the Gryffindor robes, Harry’s iconic round glasses and his phoenix feather core magic wand.

15. Hermione Granger

Hermione Granger World Book Day fancy dress costume

Of course, Gryffindor is also home to the cleverest girl at Hogwarts; Hermione Granger! This girls’ school uniform is decorated in Gryffindor colours and the house badge. It really is top of the class!

16. Dumbledore

Dumbledore World Book Day fancy dress costume

It seems appropriate to dress as a famous teacher for World Book Day, and in the eyes of many children, Dumbledore is the greatest teacher of them all! As you can see, he’s also rocking some pretty impressive robes, so this is a spectacular choice for World Book Day.

17. Draco Malfoy

Draco Malfoy World Book Day fancy dress costume

As any serious Potter fan will know, Slytherins are fine now. It’s okay to like them. True, Malfoy is an exception to this rule, but he’s also the most famous Slytherin at Hogwarts during Harry’s school years.

Malfoy’s a good option if you have blond Potter fans in the house, more than one child looking for Potter costumes, or if your child is planning on coordinating their costumes with a group of friends.

18. Moaning Myrtle

Little girl wearing a long grey robe with grey pigtails and glasses like Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter


Poor Moaning Myrtle, forever doomed to haunt the girl’s toilets at Hogwarts! Not the most dignified of deaths, but an understandable one nonetheless. Make sure to match this costume with lots of moaning and wailing!

19. Newt Scamander

Newt Scamander World Book Day fancy dress costume

Long before he became a cinema star, Harry Potter fans will have recognised Newt Scamander as the author of the book that inspired the films, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

They’re also highly likely to have seen those latest films, so they’re sure to recognise Newt’s distinctive outfit. They’ll even get their own wand!

Roald Dahl Costumes

If we’re talking children’s books, we obviously have to look at Roald Dahl. These classic characters are instantly recognisable, so everyone will know straight away who your child is supposed to be.

20. Matilda

If your child loves school, chances are Matilda is one of their favourite fictional characters. Not only is she the smartest girl in her class, she’s literally magic!

This costume even comes with props, in the form of a school bookbag accessory!

21. A Golden Ticket

Everyone will be happy to see this Wonka bar Golden Ticket walk into the room! There’s something about it that just makes you feel…lucky! This is also a super simple, low effort costume, so what are you waiting for?

22. Willy Wonka

Willy Wonka is a great outfit for kids who love to show off a bit! The flamboyant chocolate factory owner is easily one of Dahl’s most popular creations, and we’re sure there are plenty of children who are jealous of his career choices.

23. Charlie Bucket

Charlie Bucket World Book Day fancy dress costume

While Wonka gets all the attention, it’s easy to forget that it’s little Charlie Bucket whose name features in the title of the book. This outfit is your golden ticket to World Book Day success!

24. Oompa Loompa

Oompa Loompa World Book Day fancy dress costume

Before we leave the chocolate factory, we obviously have to mention the Oompa Loompas. Willy Wonka’s helpers have lots of great advice for kids, even if their punishments were sometimes a bit much.

Clearly, if you go for this costume, you’ll need plenty of orange face paint as well!

25. Fantastic Mr Fox

Fantastic Mr Fox World Book Day fancy dress costume

Here we have one of the more sharply dressed characters on our list! Fantastic Mr Fox certainly takes his work seriously, and he’s got his best suit on in preparation for getting one over on farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean!

Want to make your own mask? We’ve written this easy step-by-step guide for you, complete with free printable stencils!

26. The BFG

The BFG World Book Day fancy dress costume

Who doesn’t love the BFG? Your little one will have lots of fun with this costume, which comes with its own set of massive ears, as well as the BFG’s horn that he uses to deliver dreams.

Julia Donaldson Costumes

Julia Donaldson has created a number of much-loved children’s stories since her first book was published in 1993. She was also the Children’s Laureate from 2011-13.

27. The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo World Book Day fancy dress costume

The mouse might not believe in The Gruffalo, but we certainly do! In fact, here he is ready to solve your fancy dress conundrum in time for World Book Day. We’ve even created this DIY mask that you can make in advance!

28. Stick Man

Stick Man World Book Day fancy dress costume

It takes a special author to make a piece of wood the star of the show, but that’s what Julia Donaldson managed to do with the story of Stick Man! Send your child off on an adventure of their own with this comfy costume.

29. Highway Rat

Highway Rat World Book Day costume

Stand and deliver! The Highway Rat is here, and he’s after your food. He might not always get what he wants, but there’s no reason your little one shouldn’t, and this outfit is sure to give them the fantastic World Book Day costume they’ve been asking for.

30. Zog

Zog fancy dress costume

Zog’s a great role model for kids. Sure, he’s prone to the odd accident, but all he wants is to be the best student he can be. This comfy Zog onesie with attached wings really is the best in class when it comes to your child’s World Book Day fancy dress costume.

David Walliams Costumes

Probably the biggest children’s author in the country at the moment, David Walliams’ books have sold more than 25 million copies! He’s written at least one every year since 2008, so there are plenty of characters to choose from.

Here are some of our favourites!

31. Gangsta Granny

Gangsta Granny World Book Day fancy dress costume

One of Walliams’ most popular characters, Gangsta Granny found a place in children’s hearts when she joined in with grandson Ben’s plan to steal the Crown Jewels. She’s a great choice for children with a bit of mischief about them!

32. Mr Stink

Mr Stink World Book Day fancy dress costume

You’ll be pleased to hear that this Mr Stink costume doesn’t actually stink. That wouldn’t be practical. However, it does look exactly like the title character from Walliams’ second book, so we’re sure your child will love it!

33. Grandpa’s Great Escape

Grandpa's Great Escape World Book Day fancy dress costume

Grandpa’s Great Escape is one of Walliams’ most charming stories, and children across the country love the adventures of Jack and his World War II fighter pilot Grandpa.

It’s also one of the most recognisable costumes for kids, as Grandpa’s Great Escape was part of the BBC’s Christmas TV schedule in 2018.

34. Ratburger

Ratburger World Book Day fancy dress costume

Anyone who’s read Ratburger will know all about what sinister burger van owner Burt is putting into his burgers. If you haven’t read it yet, the title probably gives it away!

35. Billionaire Boy

Billionaire Boy World Book Day fancy dress costume

Billionaire Boy teaches kids that money isn’t everything, and that’s a good lesson to learn. The billionaire boy himself is Joe, and this outfit features illustrations from the book, along with a prop toilet roll complete with sound effects!

36. Awful Auntie

Awful Auntie World Book Day fancy dress costume

Awful Auntie is another of Walliams’ creative villains. Here’s horrible Auntie Alberta in her distinctive purple outfit and green hat, along with one of her scary owls!

More Children’s Classics

Children’s literature is littered with iconic characters. Here are a few more of our favourites!

37. Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist World Book Day fancy dress costume

What’s that? You want more ideas? Let’s start with Oliver Twist, star of the Dickens novel and one of the best musicals ever!

This is a simple dress-up kit that’ll give your child the hat and waistcoat needed to transform into a scruffy Victorian street urchin. Consider yourself sorted for World Book Day!

38. 101 Dalmatians

Child wearing a Dalmatian onesie


Five years before it became a Disney classic, 101 Dalmatians was a charming novel written by English author Dodie Smith. This quick and easy Dalmatian onesie will make a great World Book Day outfit, and you’ve got more than enough characters to choose from!

39. The Tiger Who Came To Tea

Young boy wearing a tiger onesie


We all have that friend who turns up unannounced and polishes off all the food and drink in the house. In Judith Kerr’s children’s classic, it just so happens to be a tiger! This costume may not be that same tiger, but with a teacup in hand no one will know the difference!

40. Little Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood World Book Day fancy dress costume

She might not be great at telling the difference between wolves and old ladies, but Red Riding Hood does at least wear a comfy, instantly recognisable outfit that’s ideal for World Book Day!

41. Goldilocks

Goldilocks World Book Day fancy dress costume

Here’s a World Book Day costume that’s just right! Did you know that the story of the Three Bears originally featured a grumpy old woman instead of Goldilocks? We know which version we prefer, especially when it comes to choosing a World Book Day outfit!

42. Paddington Bear

The star of more than 70 stories by Michael Bond, Paddington Bear is easily one of the most popular children’s characters the UK has ever produced. This quick and easy jumpsuit comes complete with his famous duffle coat and red hat, as well as a mask to hide behind!

Why not keep things on trend by serving toast and marmalade for breakfast?

43. Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes World Book Day fancy dress costume

While the Sherlock Holmes books are better suited to older children, his frequent appearances in films and TV shows over the last few years have made the quirky detective popular with a brand new generation of fans.

44. Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins World Book Day fancy dress costume

Let your kids take a jolly holiday from their usual school uniform with this smart Mary Poppins outfit. The most famous nanny in fiction is a great choice for World Book Day, particularly as she’s recently returned to cinema screens once again.

45. Katniss Everdeen

Katniss Everdeen Hunger Games fancy dress costume

One of the newest characters on this list, Katniss Everdeen is of course the heroine of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. This detailed jumpsuit will ensure your child is the toughest tribute in town!

46. Where’s Wally

Hey, it’s still a book even if it doesn’t have any words! The iconic Where’s Wally costume with red and white shirt, hat and glasses is – ironically enough – an incredibly distinctive costume! Just prepare your kids for the chorus of “there he is!” they’re sure to hear all day.

47. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Arguably better for the younger ones, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a book that many of us hold dear to our hearts! As well as this gorgeous Caterpillar costume, we also have a Butterfly to show his magical transformation!

48. Harley Quinn

Harley is making a resurgence in popular culture, thanks to the Margot Robbie films and various ongoing cartoons. While she might have been a creation of a TV show, her stories have filled comics and books – we think she definitely fits the bill for a World Book Day costume! This officially licensed costume is classic comic book Harley, complete with eye mask.

49. The Cat in the Hat

Cat in the Hat World Book Day fancy dress costume

Finally, we can’t talk about World Book Day without inviting Dr Seuss to the party. We think the Cat in the Hat is one of the most fun costumes for your kids to wear, and you can even make your own hat!

Found your fancy dress favourite?

We hope there’s something here that’s helped you get your little ones sorted for World Book Day. Remember, we’ve got plenty of fancy dress ideas for every occasion, so come back and see us soon!