15 adult world book day costumes

world book day adult costume

by Stephanie Spencer |
Updated on

Children love fancy dress and while it may have been a few years since you dressed up yourself, World Book day is the perfect excuse to don your favourite costume. If there is a character you just love (and secretly want to be!) such as Miss Trunchbull, Mary Poppins or even Sherlock Holmes, then take advantage of this fun literary inspired day! Plus your little one will love seeing you join in the fun.

This year World Book Day is on Thursday 7th March 2024 and no doubt your little one is already planning their World Book Day Costume, so perhaps you want to do the same. Even better if you are a teacher, your class will love seeing you turn into one of their favourite characters.

It might seem like there's always some kind of celebration or event and costs can mount up, but that doesn't mean you can't get involved. There are some great ideas for homemade World Book Day costumes and creating them could be a fun activity to do with your little one.

Best World Book Day costumes for adults at a glance:

Best Roald Dahl World Book Day costume for adults: Miss Trunchbull, £25

Best Harry Potter World Book Day costume for adults: Harry Potter, £20.99

Best Julia Donaldson World Book Day costume for adults: The Highway Rat, £16.99

Best Wizard of Oz World Book Day costume for adults: Scarecrow, £34.99

Whether you’re dressing up as a family, or are a teacher looking for an outfit, there are so many books to inspire World Book Day costumes and we’ve pulled together some of the best fancy dress costumes for adults.

World Book Day costumes for adults 2024

Best Mary Poppins World Book Day costume for adults

Victorian NannyAmazon

Rrp: $52.62

Price: $43.17

We'd all love Mary Poppins helping out now and again (or always!), so why not pay ode to the famous nanny with this costume?

One reviewer, Sharon, said: "I love this costume. It is amazing value & looks great. Skirt is quite long but just rolled waistband up. The jacket is gorgeous & hat is cute."

Pros

  • Lovely details
  • Good quality material

Cons

  • Skirt is a little long
Size: S - XXL
Material:100% polyester
  • Includes jacket, shirt, skirt and hat
  • Good range of sizes
  • Lovely details

Best Where's Wally World Book Day costume for adults

If your child is a fan of the Where's Wally? puzzle books, why not dress up as the hero himself! This set includes: Long sleeve red and white striped top, red and white bobble hat, and a pair of black rimmed glasses.

Ashleigh, a reviewer, said: "Comfy, durable and goes well over warmer clothes."

Pros

  • Includes hat and glasses
  • Lightweight to wear

Cons

  • Only available in one size
Size: One size (up to 42" chest)
Material: Not stated
  • Includes hat and glasses
  • Fits up to a 42 inch chest
  • Light weight

Best Oompa Loompa World Book Day costume for adults

If your child is dressing as a character from Roald Dahl's classic story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, why not dress as an Oompa Loompa to accompany them? They will love it!

One reviewer said: "Complete costume!! Loved it! Looked great! Impressed by this costume! The quality was really good too! I am petite in height but 16-18 and got Large 18-20 which just about did up luckily! The make up was fantastic too! Plenty and nice and thick, so great effect!"

Pros

  • Includes orange face paint
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Tights are too short
Sizes: S - XXL
Material: Not stated
  • Machine washable
  • Includes all accessories including face paint
  • Good range of sizes

Best Wizard of Oz World Book Day costume for adults

Scarecrow costumeAmazon
Price: $30.99

There are so many brilliant characters in The Wizard of Oz, the whole family can join in with the fun! But we especially love this scarecrow costume, it's perfect for skipping down the yellow brick road!

Grant, a customer, said: "It was a good quality, made of burlap sack (or similar) it was a bit itchy, I wore a long sleeve top underneath, but my legs were itchy. The rope ties were real rope and the hat fitted well. I got lots of good comments at the fancy dress party and I got 1st place as the best fancy dress costume."

Pros

  • Good quality material
  • Includes shirt, trousers, rope belt and hat

Cons

  • Itchy due to the sack material not being lined
Sizes: One size (to fit 56" chest)
Material:Polyester
  • Includes shirt, trousers, rope belt and hat
  • Realistic
  • Large size

Best Little Red Riding Hood World Book Day costume for adults

red riding hood costume
Price: $34.95

Go for a fairy tale theme with this classic outfit - you could all dress up as a different classic fairy tale story, or all go as characters from Little Red Riding Hood, such as granny, the carpenter and the wolf!

One reviewer said: "Overall, a good look product. Nice in length and design. But the white top part was so baggy and out of shape so it just fell down. The size of the rest of the dress was fine."

Pros

  • Good design
  • Length of product is great

Cons

  • The top is too baggy
Sizes: S - XXL
Material:Polyester
  • Great design
  • Good range of sizes
  • Includes satin red cape

Best Harry Potter World Book Day adult costume

Wizard CostumeAmazon
Price: $31.49

The Harry Potter series is one that is loved by both adults and children alike, making it a great option for all generations to get involved with.

A reviewer, Rachael, commented: "Used for a fancy dress party and was recognised as a Harry Potter character. Cloak is nice and long and good quality. Wand is fairly cheap but does the trick."

Pros

  • Includes the glasses
  • Cloak is long

Cons

  • Wand is not great quality
Size:One size
Material:Not stated
  • Five piece set including wand, cloak, glasses, tie and scarf
  • Unisex
  • One size to fit all

Best Queen of Hearts World Book Day costume for adults

Have a go at playing royalty with this Queen of Hearts inspired costume. Why not dress your little one as Alice, the Cheshire Cat or even the Mat Hatter?

One reviewer commented: "I needed an outfit for world book day, I wanted a fun alternative one. The quality of the material was good, the sleeves were too tight so I had to cut the seam under the arm. Everyone including the children loved it, I was pleasantly surprised that it came with a hooped underskirt and a gold and red tiara. "

Pros

  • Includes hooped underskirt
  • Good quality material

Cons

  • Sleeves a bit tight
Size: XS - XL
Material: Not stated
  • Includes hoped skirt and tiara
  • Good fit and comfortable
  • Colourful

Best Cat in the Hat World Book Day costume for adults

A classic Cat in the Hat costume! This great costume creates an effective and recognisable outfit with only a couple of props. Plus, if you have twins, why not dress them up as Thing 1 and Thing 2!

Jennifer, a reviewer, said: "Lovely adult size costume. Arrived very promptly. Perfect for World book day, and at a great price too."

Pros

  • Includes all the props you need
  • Good quality

Cons

  • Gloves are very big
Size: One size
Material: Not stated
  • Includes all props, including comical gloves
  • Good quality
  • Value for money

Best Roald Dahl World Book Day costume for adults

Another Roald Dahl potential, this Miss Trunchball costume is bound to get you some giggles and hey, maybe your kids might listen to you a bit more too...

One reviewer said: "Loved the main outfit. Eyebrows - they will wax and rip out your own. Be prepared for that."

Pros

  • Everything you need to become Miss Trunchbull
  • Range of sizes

Cons

  • Eyebrows are very sticky
Size: 8 - 20
Material:Not stated
  • Machine washable at 30 degrees
  • Includes socks, dress, eyebrows and book mark
  • Good range of sizes

Best comic book World Book Day Costume for adults

Superman Deluxe CostumeAmazon

Rrp: $72.00

Price: $65.19

Does a comic book count as a book? Regardless, if your child loves superheroes, they will love seeing you dressed like one too. Why not get them a mini-one version too?

A reviewer said: "Brought for a superhero party and was so much fun to wear. Looks good and was actually surprised how good the quality was."

Pros

  • Includes the cape
  • Looks really good

Cons

  • Not great for anyone over 6 foot
Size: S - XL
Material: 100% polyester
  • Includes jumpsuit, belt and cape
  • Bright and colourful
  • Good quality fabric

Best versatile World Book Day costume for adults

pirate outfitAmazon
Price: $24.95

This is a great option that covers so many books (and would work for Halloween too) whether it's Peter Pan, Pirate Stew or Treasure Island.

Janet, a reviewer, said: "Great quality and fit. I bought this for my daughter for her hen do and she made this outfit look amazing."

Pros

  • Good range of sizes
  • Includes bandana

Cons

  • Doesn't include the telescope
Size: S - XL
Material: Polyester
  • Includes bandana, trousers, tunic and waistcoat
  • Good range of sizes
  • Comfortable material

Best Cruella Deville World Book day costume for adults

If you've got a few children, get them all dressed as adorable dalmatians. Sure, it's slightly sinister but how amazing is the jacket?

A reviewer said: "Wow what a fab company to deal with!! I ordered this jacket for World Book Day and was worried that it wouldn’t show up on time and would not be suitable. After emailing the company over my concerns of delivery (my fault leaving to last minute!) I had a reply promptly. The item was delivered as promised and well within delivery date. The jacket is great, true to size and will do just the job."

Pros

  • Fun jacket
  • Could used as part of other costumes

Cons

  • Does not include the wig
Size: S - XL
Material: Polyester
  • Good range of sizes
  • Fits a variety of body shapes
  • Buttoned blazer

Best Fantastic Mr Fox World Book Day costume for adults

fantastic mr fox cosutmeAmazon
Price: $53.82

If Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox is one of your child's favourite characters (or was when you were a child) it makes for a great costume for World Book Day.

Jennifer, a reviewer, said: "Bought for world book day, children and colleagues loved it. Inspired one child to go home and read the book, Fantastic Mr Fox. Jacket was creased from packaging but having smoothed it out and hung it on a hanger it was absolutely fine to wear the following day. Will keep hold of it for the next world book day."

Pros

  • Includes mask
  • Velvety touch to jacket

Cons

  • Dry clean only
Size: Medium and large
Material: Polyester
  • Includes red jacket, mock waistcoat, fur chest, cravat and mask
  • Great for Roald Dahl fans
  • Generous sizing

Best Julia Donaldson World Book day costume for adults

We all love Julia Donaldson's tales for children. Why not dress up as one of her most popular (but also one of the naughtiest!) characters, the High Way Rat? Just don't steal any food!

A reviewer, Stu, commented: "Fantastic costume, ideal for Word Book Day and adults eager to engage children with reading. All parts of the costume are well made, easy to wear and comfortable. Especially the 2 masks for the face (nose and eye)."

Pros

  • Includes a velour cape
  • Comfortable to wear

Cons

  • No gold trim on the hat
Size: One size
Material: Not stated
  • Includes black velour cape, a gold trimmed tricorn hat with red feather, black eye mask and a rat nose on elastic string.
  • Good quality material
  • One size fits all

Best Sherlock Holmes World Book day costume for adults

Sherlock Holmes costumeAmazon
Price: $39.99

If you feel like solving a few mysteries this World Book Day, then wearing this Sherlock Holmes costume is the perfect idea. Maybe your little one will follow the clues and want to dress as Dr. Watson.

One reviewer said: "Used at world book day, for a Teaching Assistant, went down well with both staff and students. Good size and quality."

Pros

  • Includes pipe and magnifying glass
  • Reviewers said it is a good size

Cons

  • Cloak is difficult to iron
Size:Standard or extra-large
Material: Not stated
  • Includes lined traditional style Deerstalker hat with a matching Victorian cape, a black satin bow tie, a fake pipe and a working magnifying glass
  • Available in two sizes
  • Great design

What is World Book Day?

World Book Day was established in 1995 by UNESCO to celebrate books and reading. It is celebrated in over 100 countries across the world and the first World Book Day in the UK happened in 1997. Also, on World Book Day children are given a £1 World Book Day token so they can choose achildren's book of their own, as a gift from booksellers and publishers.

What can an adult wear for World Book Day?

Although it is not compulsory for adults (or children!) to dress up for World Book Day, it is a great way to mark the day and your little one will love seeing you get involved. You can keep it simple with just a few props, maybe a walking stick to represent David Walliam's Gangsta Granny, or a witch hat for Julia Donaldson's Room on a Broom. There are lots of ready made costumes you can buy too, including iconic characters from Roald Dahl's much loved booksto Alice in Wonderland or Harry Potter. Whether you choose a funny World Book day costume for adults, or go for an easy World Book Day costume, it will be great to be part of the fun and embrace the joy of books!

Stephanie Spencer is the Deputy Digital Editor at Mother&Baby and auntie to four aged 8 to 6 months old. With a particular interest in health, she loves discovering products that make parent’s lives easier.

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