A short rant about… World Book Day costumes

I thought we had World Book Day sorted this year. To be honest, I was surprised Belle’s school were even doing the dressing up thing at all, I thought it might be more of a primary school vibe, but when we got the letter home Belle assured me that it was all in hand – she was going to go as Hermione Granger and it was all sorted.


Hermione Granger

In fact, judging by the costumes that some of her friends had chosen, Hermione Granger was basically Elizabeth Bennett. A lot of her peers were apparently going to be dressing up as the classic fictional literary character that is Zoella. 

Seriously? Zoella? I pointed out that she was neither a literary character nor in fact the actual author of her own book, but this appears not to matter. This alone warrants a rant surely? I mean, what were they even going to wear? Excessive amounts of make-up perhaps? A vacant look? The letter home from school had specified a ‘recognisable’ costume – a warning I’m sure to the number of children considering going as Muggles – and I just can’t imagine picking out someone ‘dressed up’ as Zoella from the gaggles of regular pre-teen girls making their way noisily to school.

Belle’s costume it turned out was even less recognisable. I came downstairs to find her dressed in her normal clothes – leggings, a t-shirt and a cardigan.

“Shouldn’t you be putting your costume on?” I asked, foolishly. I was rewarded with a glare.

“I’m in it, and I’ve borrowed this necklace,” she informed me, showing me something that apparently made the costume instantly recognisable. “I don’t think I look much like Hermione though. What should I wear?”

What should she wear??

I looked at the clock on the oven. 8.08am. She was due to leave in seven minutes.

“Oh no you don’t,” I said, shaking my head, “no way. I am not getting into this at 8.08am.” Harsh perhaps, but if my years of parenting have taught me anything it’s that you do not get into a costume conversation at 8.08am.

“Fine,” she said, stomping off upstairs, “I’ll just wear school uniform then.”

An excellent plan. She’ll look far more like Hermione in that anyway.

Am I being unreasonable to not be more supportive? What do your children dress up as for World Book Day?

Photo credit – Hermione Granger, Neftali / Shutterstock.com



  1. 5 March, 2015 / 1:48 pm

    Oh it is a nightmare. World Book Day and all the other nightmare demands that schools put on us. I eventually settled on the Queen of Hearts with my eldeset only to have a major meltdown this morning because the eye make up i gave her was Green and not blue. A la Helena Bonham Carter. Grr. I too, have had a (sligthtly longer) rant! on my own blog mummymarbles.wordpress.com ps. Love your blog!

    • Jo Middleton
      5 March, 2015 / 1:57 pm

      I just had a read! I remember having to do an ‘extreme reading’ photo a few years ago. It’s all such rubbish!

  2. 5 March, 2015 / 1:48 pm

    My boys went as Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes – their current favourite book. Some kids dressed up as characters who only existed from a film followed by the book. I’m a mummy who goes for book first film second because then they really are real characters. No I don’t think you were harsh at all. Who is Zoella?

    • Jo Middleton
      5 March, 2015 / 1:55 pm

      Zoella is a vlogger – she has made a fortune with this YouTube channel and then before Christmas ‘wrote’ a spin off book of beauty tips and nonsense like that.

  3. msedollyp
    5 March, 2015 / 2:13 pm

    luckily no dress up at our school, they doing drop everything and read when the bell sounds, far more bookish!!

  4. 5 March, 2015 / 2:19 pm

    We had a Harry Potter (we are reading it as a family at the moment) and a pirate from ‘The Night Pirates’ – another fave book. I think it’s a pointless exercise unless it encourages kids to read a new book! That should be looking at their friends and thinking ‘wow, I’ve got to read that’ surely?

  5. 5 March, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    Zoella?! What a mockery. I heard of someone’s child going in as Christian Grey today.
    Thank goodness our school have just gone for an in depth day of study on Roald Dahl!

  6. 5 March, 2015 / 7:29 pm

    Before I stray off topic, I should say, I agree with all of this about World Book Day costumes and the constant demands from schools.

    Off topic though, I am surprised at your animosity (a little strong but I can’t think of a better word) towards Zoella. In my view she is the opposite side of the same ‘New Media’ coin as you. Where as blogging and bloggers are the successors for traditional print media outlets, YouTubers such as Zoella are the same but for broadcast media. Sure, her output is vapid and shallow, but how is that any different from most of what is shown on daytime television, and I tend to ignore it in the same way. It then follows that her getting a book deal is not really any different to, say, Katie Price getting a book deal. Not to mention, a non-fiction book (regardless of how much she actually wrote herself), has got to be better than her in her early 20s releasing an autobiography!

    Sorry, off topic rant over! Please return to your scheduled viewing.

  7. Emma
    6 March, 2015 / 12:12 am

    My 6 year old is going as a parrot from “a non fiction book” (his words) tomorrow. I haven’t finished the costume. Emergency sewing in the morning

  8. 6 March, 2015 / 2:21 pm

    I’m with you Jo; you don’t enter into these conversations at 0808hrs and Belle was the one who stomped off. You were not being harsh. Good call.

  9. 8 March, 2015 / 10:37 am

    I had a very cute paddington bear, but at nursery there was an Elsa, Anna, Merida and Iron man. The last one’s from a comic at least… But it is a bit annoying when they just dress as disney characters and no imagination out into the costume.

  10. Jeremy
    3 March, 2016 / 9:10 am

    You’re totally right to tell your child that it’s too late after 8am on the day to sort things out. It is sad to see comments like ‘thank goodness our school aren’t doing it ‘ or ‘the school puts demands on us ‘. Done right, and often very simply, children get to really enjoy books on a day like today . I was a late and reluctant reader, who when inspired , came to love books and eventually became a primary teacher . They get enough demands of testing from the government in a school day, so let’s give them a chance to enjoy literature, in whatever form it takes . Hope Hermione has fun today :-)

  11. 3 March, 2016 / 12:58 pm

    My son hates dressing up in ‘public’ so today is a real trauma. We eventually settled on Harry and the Dinosaurs he went off to school with a bucket full of his favourite dinosaurs. One of his classmates was having a meltdown about wearing an outfit. I can see that lots of children enjoy dressing up but what about the minority who absolutely hate the whole concept. Surely today is about celebrating books that children love. For all children to feel included, would it not be better for them to just take their favourite book into school? This event didn’t even exist when I was at school.

  12. Jane Badger
    2 March, 2017 / 4:52 pm

    I feel your pain. WBD always struck me with dread. My children had three bits of kit – a red piece of material, a black piece of material, and a brown piece that I had made into a tunic by tacking the sides together. Any book character they went as had to involve one of these three things which catered for the fact that a. WBD always caught me unawares b. I have no costume talents and neither do my children. The only imagination we ever displayed was how to work our limited stock into something that would do. My favourite was an Anglo Saxon from Horrible Histories (brown tunic, black piece of material as a cloak).

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