Just 24 genius Book Week costumes if you... totally forgot about Book Week.

Brainstorming a Book Week costume for your kids on top of all the other weekly chores is, for some parents (read: me), a nightmare. 

Other parents love the whole creative process and look forward to putting their glue gun and crafting skills to the test. 

And while many parents might already have a thoughtful book week outfit ready to go, I am usually scrolling Pinterest at 4pm on Sunday for day-before costume inspiration. Or dusting off the Harry Potter cloak and glasses for the fifth time...

This year, I thought I'd pre-empt my last-minute panic by sharing these 24 awesome and (mostly) simple costume ideas ahead of Book Week 2023.

From making a quick mask out of a cereal packet to using an existing red T-shirt, there's something to inspire even the least creative among us!

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1. Mr Tickle.

A nice simple orange or peach pair of pyjamas, a smiley face and you are good to go!

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2. Green Sheep.

One for the little kids – some green clothing, ears and plenty of cotton wool!

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3. A character from Do Not Open This Book.

Perfect for a last-minute effort if you have a blue long-sleeve shirt and long pants in the wardrobe. This mum then used cardboard to paint a "body" to hang over her son's shoulders.

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4. The Smeds and the Smoos.

Another costume that could be whipped up last minute if you have a blue outfit, some blue felt, paint and toilet rolls kicking around at home!

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5. Harry Potter.

It's a classic for a reason...! I purchased this costume for my eldest son in 2016 and it's been worn many times since. The cost per wear has worked out well. (Thank you, girl math.)

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6. The Ice Monster.

This super-crafty parent used a sack from the garden centre with a cap underneath to create the head of the ice monster. What a great low-budget, high-impact costume it turned out to be.

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7. Hairy Maclary.

Not one for the craft newbie, this costume involved some serious effort. Mum says she cut strands of wool and used a hot glue gun to stick them to her son's black clothes. She used coloured felt to cut out the collar and glued it to the shirt, a plain black headband with triangle cardboard ears glued on and a black rope tail. Ten out of ten for effort and vibes.

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8. Rosie Revere Engineer.

This involved a large white T-shirt with stripes painted around the base, white stockings, a red spotted headband, and a small case with ‘Rosie’ painted on it. Fabulous costume, great book!

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9. The Wimpy Kid.

While this amazing parent came up with the full Wimpy Kid 'stick man' outfit, a quick mask drawn on the back of a cereal box is really all you need for a last-minute Book Week event.

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10. Pig the Pug.

This quick-thinking mum couldn’t source a last-minute costume for her preschooler but she found a doggy eye mask, which became an instant Pig the Pug when matched with a cute tracksuit! Genius.

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11. Pig the Pug and Trevor.

Craft level: expert! This mum crocheted her kids' costumes for Book Week last year – Pig the Pug and Trevor have never looked so good.

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12. Scott Pape (aka The Barefoot Investor).

My son was not keen on Book Week, but last year he quite enjoyed the laughs he got from the teachers as the family-friendly financial advisor, Scott Pape.

He wore my husband’s work shirt and jeans with a piece of orange card as a nod to Scott and ING Bank. All up, it took us about four minutes. A winner for both of us!

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13. The 'robber' from Gangsta Granny.

A great quick costume that takes not much prep, depending on what you have lying around at home. Use an old black beanie and cut eye holes for a balaclava (unless you have an actual balaclava, which is honestly a bit creepy).


Then just add a black T-shirt and shorts, and a plain white or cream pillowcase for the 'loot'.

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14. Sirius Black from Harry Potter.

This could depend on your child’s hair because not everyone has last-minute access to a Sirius-esque wig like this dress-up loving mum did.

But for those with curly-headed kids or brown wigs, draw (or stick on) a moustache and goatee, add a brown jacket, a stick for a wand and complete the look with a crazy 'straight outta Azkaban' facial expression.

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15. David Attenborough.

This might just be the cutest David Attenborough ever! Another straightforward wear-what-you-have-on-hand costume with possible eyebrow additions, depending on which era of David your kid wants to go as.

This cutie looks like a classic modern-day David, holding a little Kinkajou as an accessory. Perfect for the animal lovers.

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16. Count Olaf from the Lemony Snicket series.

Some wig or crazy hair action is required here, but this is another fun choice if you happen to have some dress-up bits on hand. There’s the option to draw on a beard and paint a toilet roll in gold for the spyglass. 

If your child enjoys staying cosy in a dressing gown, this is the costume for them!

Image: Supplied. 17. Ash and Pikachu.


Got a cap and a white T-shirt? A Pikachu toy? Easy done in a few seconds. One for dedicated Pokemon lovers only, just like this sweet seven-year-old.

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18. Zac Power.

This costume involved simply dressing the two kids in their existing jeans, T-shirts, sunnies and backpacks. The clever mum attached whatever gadgets she could find, such as toy binoculars and torches, to create the full Zac Power 'spy' kids.

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19. Miss Trunchbull from Matilda.

A classic Roald Dahl character brought to life by a repurposed jumper with paint to become Trunchbull’s Olympic uniform. Mum added a mix of accessories and bits she had on hand from discount stores. A great option for girls with long hair – a messy bun and a drawn- or stuck-on monobrow complete this excellent look.

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20. The Book With No Pictures.

A win for the lowest maintenance of parents here – a plain T-shirt with a gibberish quote from the book written on it, which in this case is 'Blork Blurff!' Cute.

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21. Harry the Dirty Dog.

This super-sweet dirty dog was put together with some old black leggings and a top with white paint spotted on. Luckily, mum already had the ears on hand but the nose and tail were made with a Sharpie and a Cruskits box!

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22. The Bugalugs Bum Thief and Dorothy.

While this gorgeous Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz costume needs a bit more pre-planning, the bum thief of Bugalugs is straightforward.

Crack out your eyeliner, mascara or face paint for the beard, an old beanie, a shirt and shorts and a pillowcase or hessian sack for the 'bums'.

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23. Things One and Two.

A great one for twins or siblings that are happy to dress the same! This clever mum just used some old red T-shirts, a bit of sticky white paper, a black Sharpie, and blue hairspray from Woolies to create these Cat In The Hat characters. Be sure to add the blue hairspray to your next grocery shop.

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24. Mr. Strong.

A big box and some red paint (or lots of red paper) are all you need for the legendary Mr Strong costume. Your little person can wear what they choose underneath and be free to play as soon as you take the obligatory photo.

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Are you dressing your kids up for Book Week this year? Do you have any good hacks or cute costumes to share? Please tell us below or share with us over in our Mamamia Parent Facebook group.

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Senior Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

Feature Image: Supplied/Canva.