4 March 2014

World Book Day Roald Dahl Easy Fancy Dress Ideas

Image: The Book People

My heart sank when the World Book day letters arrived in the boys' book bags.

It's not that I don't like books. On the contrary, I love books. I'm always reading. It makes me happy to see the boys' reading improving rapidly as they make their way through Year 1.

World Book Day is all very well, but the focus is not where it should be, on the books themselves. The focus is on the costumes. The school tell you not to spend any money, but not all of us have a fully-stocked craft and costume cupboard. I don't really do sewing - my sewing machine hasn't made it out of the box yet - and I don't want to let my children down. Last week we had Victorian Day, this week it's World Book Day. There's always something. The school gate is swarming with stressed parents, wondering whether Polly's Disney Snow White costume will do.

There are ways to make it easy on yourself though. We've been working our way through the Roald Dahl collection at bedtime and there are plenty of characters that require only normal clothes and the odd prop to make them instantly recognisable. My boys, miraculously, both chose easy costumes.

George from George's Marvellous Medicine

5 year old Cash chose to be George from George's Marvellous Medicine. I remember Rik Mayall reading this on Jackanory in the 80's. George wears jeans and a red top. He just needs to carry a bottle of medicine and a spoon. For the medicine bottle I used an empty ginger beer bottle, took the label off and scratched off the logo on the lid. I attached a label with 'Grandma' written on it. I filled the bottle with a mixture of gravy and glitter, and screwed the lid on tightly.

Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

6 year old Presley chose to be Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Charlie wears old clothes, so we will dig out an old jumper and some of Cash's trousers for Presley to wear at half mast. He just needs to carry a Wonka bar containing a golden ticket. I bought a Wonka bar before I realised it's a Nestle product. Grrr. I took out the chocolate (to save it from melting in his hands) and replaced it with cardboard wrapped in tissue paper. My first attempt at a golden ticket left me crying with laughter and shame. Art is not my strong point...

Don't laugh.

Okay, you can laugh. After all, I think the 'Saw this on Pinterest... Nailed it' montages are the funniest thing on the internet.

Luckily my friend, Jennifer, suggested printing a ticket from the internet and attaching it to some gold card, and this saved the day.

Other super easy Roald Dahl costume ideas include:

Grandpa Joe

Pyjamas, and talc in the hair

Veruca Salt

Posh outfit and carry a Wonka bar and a golden ticket

Danny Champion of the World

Normal clothes and carry a bag of raisins


Normal clothes and carry a book

The Twits

Stick on a dirty beard, borrow a walking stick

James and the Giant Peach

Normal clothes and carry toy insects. You could even push the boat out on this one and make a giant peach from cardboard.

Have you made an easy costume for World Book Day?

Damson Lane



  1. I'm bookmarking this for next year! :-)

    1. @Helen, yes, you must steer them towards the Dahl early next year :)

  2. Red faced Rosie, except she is carrying Jacks patchwork sack.

    I just need to get a Tom Tom drum

    1. @Zoe, good luck with the Tom Tom drum :)

  3. Wow! Brilliant ideas! Roald Dahl is a big favourite in our house so I think we will be dressing up as some of these soon...even if it is not actually WBD still! :-) Thank you!


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