Book Week Costumes for Kids

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I am a Book Week tragic from way back. As a child I have vivid memories of planning my Book Week costumes with my teacher librarian mum, my favourite being the year my sister and I went as gumnut babies from the iconic May Gibbs books. I know some people dread the planning of the Book Week costumes, but this is one school dress up event that I rather love.

I let our children choose their own Book Week characters (within reason!) but I’m also the master of ‘hey mate? I reckon you would look just so incredibly cool as Zac Power and just LOOK at these spy sunglasses we can get!’.

You’ve pretty much got two options with Book Week; you can buy a ready made costume, or you can DIY with things you have at home and a bit of running around for ‘bits and pieces’. The costumes below are a mix of our own and some from Costume Box, because their service is super fast and where Book Week costume panic is concerned, super-fast is good. I have captioned each costume with the book or book character and make sure you scroll down to the end of the post for an essential costume prop!

SIMPLE BOOK WEEK COSTUME IDEAS FOR KIDS

All the costumes in the gallery above are ones I have created with the kids and they’ve been a huge amount of fun and not *too much* work. Prue Theroux The Cool Librarian was a personal favourite of mine, all her arms were made from stuffed sleeves – PudStar totally OWNED this character!

Create the costume together so they ‘own it’ and remember that simple is key. This year ChickPea is going as a DIY rainbow lorikeet (from Pete Cromer’s book), The Smallest bee is going as a rhino (grey trackie and mask) and the other two will be very low key. If you have a child who doesn’t love dress ups but does play a sport – tie it in with a book. I love seeing netball, basketball, cricket and soccer uniforms on show and one year I had about eight girls all come in netball uniform as characters from the ‘Netball Gems’ series. This actually led to a borrowing spree of these books, which is entirely the outcome we librarians want from the Book Week dress-up day!

There are some years that DIY costumes are just not going to happen, and actually it’s great to add a new costume to the dress up box at home every once in a while. We all do what we can do in the time we can have available and I refuse to feel any guilt about a purchased costume. I will also NEVER have a ‘best dressed’ prize at my dress up day – this is not a creativity comp for kids (or parents). Some of my favourite costumes or props from Costume Box include James and the Giant Peach (there is a whole section on Roald Dahl costumes), astronauts (various books but in the case it was as Neil Armstrong), Harry Potter, a fox (various books!), a pig (various books!), viking from ‘Vognox the Viking’, ‘Cat in the Hat’ and ‘Where’s Wally’. Order and it will arrive in a week. DONE.

Pud’s love of Frida is well documented on the website and it’s a really easy costume with plenty of books to go with it, see here for Pud’s Frida room. Pudstar as Pippa from ‘Pippa’s Island’ was one of the easiest costumes we have ever done and the bun was great fun – we had the book cover and some props from the book sticking out from it.

THE ESSENTIAL BOOK WEEK DRESS UP PROP

A book lanyard or a book necklace saves carrying the book all day, easily identifies the costume and character and, as an added bonus, seeing all those book covers around the schoolyard is perfect advertising for what you should read next. Simple and effective.


As a teacher librarian and parent, I’ve learnt the hard way (it wasn’t pretty) to organise costumes ahead of time. I now get the costumes out the weekend before Book Week, have a trial, and then say calmly, “and on Wednesday morning, there will be NO alterations…do.you.all.understand?”.  

Some years I’ve really gone hardcore and bribed my children with giftcards to be SUPER WELL BEHAVED for Book Week. On our shared calendar, The Beekeeper recently noticed the entry ‘Book Week AKA Be Kind to Megan Week’. Noted.

May the Force be With You this Book Week! If you need a costume, check out my ideas for grown ups here!

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1 Comment

  1. Emily Busuttil on Aug 25, 2021 at 7:50 am

    cool I love book week.
    YES!

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