World Book Day costumes should not break the bank

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As World Book Day approaches, the financial cost of costumes to celebrate the event can be a concern to some parents.

But some schools are letting children wear pyjamas to represent bedtime stories and suggesting simple costumes.

One head teacher said the day should be accessible to everyone and free books are provided for those who want to read to their children at the school.


Some parents say the plan is a great idea.

At Miskin Primary in Mountain Ash, the school council wanted to “make it as fun as possible, but not put any financial burden on those who can not afford it”, said head teacher Fran Davies.

She said children “could come in jeans and a jumper, they could come in uniform with some make-up on like they were at St Trinians. Some may come dressed as wizards like they’re at Hogwarts”.

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Pupils are encouraged to bring their favourite book to school, but the headteacher said she recognised that not all children have books at home.

She said they regularly took children to the library, but there was also a box offering free books to families who want to read with their children.

Pupil Amelia said: “If you have some old books that you’ve grown out of you can put it in the book box.”


Leah, whose daughter goes to the school, said this year would be much simpler because she was planning to be Hermione from Harry Potter.

“She’s just wearing a school skirt and a school shirt so no extra money and we bought her a wand from a charity shop, and that’s her done.

“We’re crimping her hair with tongs that we already have in the house. Long socks and a pair of Black shoes and she’s Hermione.”

Miskin Primary School Mountain Ash head teacher Fran Davies

“She’s a massive Harry Potter fan, but if we went out to buy something, the cloak alone would be £20,” added Leah.

Another parent, Kelly, whose nine-year-old is at the school, said: “It’s a really good idea.

“The fact that they can come in pyjamas rather than going out and buying silly expensive dresses or outfits – this is good for our pockets.

Boy dressed as Harry Potter

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“Every child has got a pair of pyjamas or a pretty dress or even school uniform for Matilda,” she added. “Something really simple, and it’s good for them to enjoy books.”

What is World Book Day?

World Book Day was created by UN cultural body UNESCO in 1995 as a worldwide celebration of books and reading. The day is marked in over 100 countries.

In the UK, the first World Book Day took place in 1997 to encourage young people to read for pleasure.

The charity event aims to promotes reading for pleasure. It wants to see more children from disadvantaged backgrounds develop a life-long habit of reading for fun, which it says is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success.

Children dressed up

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Children are encouraged to dress up as part of World Book Day, often as a favourite character, to engage with reading. Alternatively, children can wear their pyjamas.

How can I keep costs down?

  • Wear pyjamas or a onesie to symbolise the habit of bedtime reading
  • World Book Day recommends starting with things you might already have – tracksuits, t-shirts (inside out to make them plain) and pyjamas make a good base for a costume
  • It also recommends schools host a dressing up rail or costume swap
  • The charity also offers resources on its website, which include templates to make masks and drawings to use as props
  • Parents could focus on the parts of the character that make them stand out by using face paint or simple props
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Related Topics

  • Wales
  • Family & Education
  • World Book Day
  • Children
  • Money
  • School uniform
  • Cost of Living
  • Books
  • Parenting