Don’t let your child be yet another Harry or Hermione! Cast your eye further afield with some of our (hopefully) less obvious suggestions for World Book Day.
Thursday March 1 is World Book Day, which in recent years has become the day on which parents up and down the nation cough obscenities and scramble wildly to piece together some vague semblance of a costume based on a literary character at some point between breakfast and school time.
Well, okay, maybe that’s not all of us. If we don’t fit into the former category, we’re most likely either a) ridiculously prepared, having put weeks of time and money into a well thought-out, custom created costume, or b) the sort who say “sod it” and send the kids in whatever random dressing up clothes they have lying around, which is more often than not based on a film and/or comic book character.
While it may seem a chore to some of us, World Book Day dress-up does offer a nice opportunity to get creative with your child, and between the two of you come up with something fun and unique which reflects their own interests.
Or, you could just go full dad and come up with something that’s obviously amazing entirely on your own, giving your child no say in the matter whatsoever. Which, let’s face it, is what all of us would rather do deep down.
So, assuming you don’t just want to send your child in dressed as a superhero, Disney princess or anyone from Harry Potter, here are a few comparatively left-field suggestions for who to dress your child as on World Book Day:
Rincewind, or Tiffany Aching – The Discworld series, by Terry Pratchett
Wizards are always a great choice for dress-up, but rather than going for the more obvious greats of the field – Merlin, Gandalf, Dumbledore – why not give your child a more humble, attainable model, in the form of a failed wizarding student with a tendency to make bad situations even worse?
A straightforward wizard costume would do it, preferably in red with a hat that says ‘WIZZARD’ on it.
Alternatively, latter-day Discworld heroine Tiffany Aching might be a good choice; for one, she’s clearly a more age-appropriate character given she’s aged nine when introduced in The Wee Free Men. Black cloak, witch’s hat, green dress and big black boots will do the job.
Morrigan Crow – Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, by Jessica Townsend
Be ahead of the curve with a character they’ll all be dressing up as in years to come. As the Gothic fantasy adventure novel from first-timer Townsend was first published just this past October, chances are a lot of kids haven’t discovered it yet, but it has the makings of another Harry Potter.
Think Wednesday Addams with a dash more colour: black dress and black shoes with a red hairband and red umbrella.
The Dad – Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman
Let’s face it, there isn’t a dad among us who doesn’t hope (oftentimes against hope) that our own children will declare us to be their #1 hero. So how about dressing your child as the heroic dad who embarks on an extravagant time-hopping adventure whilst popping out to buy milk?
Costume requires black coat with turned up collar, scarf, stripy jumper, and a carton of milk. It’s extra-helpful if your child bears an uncanny resemblance to Neil Gaiman.
Annabeth Chase – The Percy Jackson series, by Rick Riordan
Part of me didn’t want to include this one, as it’s a female character that exists primarily in relation to a male hero, and our daughters should be taught that they’re every bit as capable of being the hero on their own.
That said, Annabeth is in most respects a stronger character than Percy Jackson. While to a degree she’s the Hermione to his Harry, she’s also way tougher than he is.
Simple costume: blue baseball cap, and orange T-shirt with ‘Camp Half-Blood’ written on it. Black marker pen time.
Adrian Mole – The Adrian Mole series, by Sue Townsend
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (not to mention ITV’s adaptation of both) were pretty much a how-to guide to awkwardly dealing with adolescence, which – whether we liked it or not – proved very accurate for a lot us.
Of course, given that the outfit in question would be just a school uniform and glasses, there’s every likelihood that if you send your child to school as Adrian Mole, everyone will assume it’s meant to be Harry Potter. The essential finishing touch: red socks.