How to Save Money Making a Book Character Costume
March is a month of literature for children. It starts in the UK with World Book Day before International Read to Me Day (19th) and World Storytelling Day (20).
When I was a teacher-librarian I had to coordinate a book character event every year. It was a thankless job at times as it was seen as an opportunity to dress up and not focus on books. Many children came dressed up as a Disney character or superhero.
Now, I have to admit I was a bit of a stickler for the ‘book’ part of the title! (Actually, I still am.) When the event became my responsibility I banned costumes that made children think of a movie. They had to bring in the book (or a printout) which encouraged many families to visit the library for books and advice. I also asked for at least one handmade prop.
There were definitely a few disgruntled parents. I explained they didn’t need to spend a penny on making a costume, rather spend time with their child discussing their favourite books and characters. With adult encouragement, children will design their own costume by thinking about what and who they enjoy reading about.
Once a character has been decided you can have a rummage in everyone’s wardrobe for costume ideas. So many book characters are regular people but have something distinctive about them. This was where the homemade prop came in. The prop didn’t have to be large or complicated just something that showed the essence of the character they had chosen. Over the years the “dress up” day became more about books and the costumes got more creative.
Tips to Save Money on Book Character Costumes
- Look to see what you already have at home
- Check through the clothes and accessories of all family members
- Use cereal boxes or other cardboard around the home to make elements of the costume
- Will make up or face paint add to the costume?
- Do you have any household objects that the characters is associated with?
- Looks for scraps of material that can be added to a costume
- Use a headband and add homemade ears.
- Make a mask of an animal character
- Have a look at costumes you already have at home. Can you adapt them?
So to help you out when the time comes for you to create a child or adult costume I have collected some great ideas! I have also added teaching resources for World Book Day.
World Book Day Books & Resources 2019
The UNESCO celebration of World Book Day aims to promote a love of books, as well as providing millions of young children their own book. It is celebrated in over 100 countries worldwide. Below are the books for 2019! For more information visit the World Book Day website.
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World Book Day Resources
World Book Day Activities
- BBC Teach: World Book Day Resources
- Book Aid International: Films to show on World Book Day
- Book Aid International: Free World Book Day Resources
- Collins: How to… celebrate World Book Day
- National Literacy Trust: World Book Day Lesson Plans and Resources
- The School Run: 6 fun activities for World Book Day
- Teach Primary: 5 Ways To Celebrate World Book Day
- Teach Wire: 18 World Book Day Ideas for Primary Teachers
- TES: 8 alternative ways to celebrate World Book Day
- TES: World Book Day Activities Pack
- TOPPSTA: World Book Day Books 2019
Book Character Costume Ideas
The House That Lars Built uses matching tops and bottoms to make represent the crayons. Visit the website to see how to make the crayon hat.
Party Delights shows to make a witch outfit that can be used and adapted to for any witchy character.
Another simple costume from The House That Lars Built. Make simple ears from fabric or paper and a large cookie!
If you have lots of fabric hanging around Seeker of Happiness shows how to become Strega Nona. Don’t forget some wool or yarn for the pot of pasta!
If you want something really simple, look no further than Creating Really Awesome Fun Things. This pigeon costume is so effective and could be adapted for other characters.
Hello Wonderful‘s Dragon Love Tacos costume is very eye catching. If you don’t have that much felt, use coloured paper or paint cardboard.
You can share your own costumes for World Book Day online using the hashtag #worldbookday. I would love to hear about any creative books costumes. Let me know in the comments below!