World Book Day has returned for 2022 - but have you got your costume and favourite book ready?

Depending on how organised you are, people either spend weeks preparing a costume or frantically search through their wardrobe before the school run.

Whether you're a parent or teacher, we've put together a list of last-minute and easy costume ideas to help you out.

Not only this, it's better for the environment to use what is already in your drawers compared to buying a completely new outfit each year.

Royal Borough Observer: Four school class pictures from previous World Book Day events in Watford. Photo via The Watford Observer.Four school class pictures from previous World Book Day events in Watford. Photo via The Watford Observer.

Easy costumes for adults and teachers

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is a well known and easy character to recreate - you simply need a red ribbon to tie in your hair.

If you don't have a red ribbon, check to see if you have any red dresses with a detachable tie - this will work just as effectively as the character's iconic red ribbon.

To complete the look, you can take inspiration from the 1996 film adaptation where actress Mara Wilson wears a pinafore with a t shirt under as well as a denim dress with a white cardigan.

For those serious about World Book Day, carrying the book or another Roald Dahl story might make you feel even more like Matilda.

The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams

Wear or borrow a dress and dig out an old football from your garage to resemble David Walliams' popular character.


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  • Ideas for children's costumes for World Book Day 2022

Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren

A much loved character for many of us growing up, Pippi Longstocking is a quirky and unpredictable character who lives alone with a monkey and horse with no rules.

You could sport a dress and simply wear mismatched striped or patterned long stockings - often something we have in our wardrobes from neon Halloween costumes.

For hair, you can tie your hair into two plaits and maybe dig out one of your childhood animal toys to represent the monkey or horse.

James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl

James is a young boy who finds an gigantic, magical peach and embarks on an adventure with seven magically-altered garden bugs.

Taking inspiration from costumes in musical versions of the book, you could wear a white shirt with a sweater over the top and brown trousers; or checked shirt, brown or tweed jacket and shorts.

You may even have a baker boy hat lying around or pick up some peaches on the way to school to complete the look.

Winnie the Witch, Room on the Broom, The Worst Witch

For Winnie the Witch or Room on the Broom, you don't need to overcomplicate the costume. Simply wear a Witch's hat and bring a broom. 

You could even use a cat animal toy to mimic the characters' pet cats.

Sophie from The BFG by Roald Dahl

For those looking for comfort in a costume, grab a nightie or pyjama set and craft your own dream jar.

To make your homemade dream jar, take a jam jar and pop some fairy lights in it.

Harry Potter - JK Rowling

JK Rowling's Harry Potter character is known for black round glasses, forehead scar and black hair.

You can wear a white shirt with a red and yellow tie or scarf and pair it with black trousers.

If you don't have a wand, you could use a long stick or draw one on cardboard.

Similarly, if you don't have glasses, you could use eyeliner to draw on the frames or take out lenses from 3D cinema glasses.

Use the same eyeliner to draw Potter's scar on your head.

For the serious fans out there, you can dress up your costume with popular Harry Potter merch such as House scarves, wands and cloak.

Boy in The Polar Express, Wendy from Peter Pan, The Midnight Gang, Sleepovers

Continuing on the pyjama theme, many characters are described as wearing their cosy night clothes in books or film adaptations.

For example, boy in The Polar Express wears yellow pyjamas and a blue dressing gown - something easy to recreate at home.

Similarly, Wendy from Peter Pan simply wears a blue nightgown in the film version.

David Walliams' The Midnight Gang is great for people who want to wear pyjamas for World Book Day.

To recreate some of the characters' looks, you may want to wear red and white striped pyjamas, blue pyjamas, yellow and red striped pyjamas, blue and yellow striped pyjamas or a pink dress or nightie.

Sleepovers by Jacqueline Wilson is a great excuse to wear your PJs for World Book Day - sport your pyjamas and bring the book to explain your look.

Burglar Bill by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

This universal costume is super easy to make - you just need a piece of black card, scissors and string to cut out some eye holes and make your own mask.

Wear a stripy top to create the Burglar Bill look and find something that could resemble a 'swag bag'.

The World Book Day website actually has a template you can use to create your mask.

Why do we celebrate World Book Day?

World Book Day says: "Our mission is to promote reading for pleasure, offering every child and young person the opportunity to have a book of their own.

"Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income. We want to see more children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a life-long habit of reading for pleasure and the improved life chances this brings them."