parent opinion

"Panicking about the Book Week Parade? Here are my last minute hacks."

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT TO ALL PARENTS: it’s freaking Book Week. And the theme is “Read, Grow, Inspire.”

Sure, there are some of you who have had the date written down since January. This is not a post for you. This is an article for every parent to whom this PSA is sudden, shocking, and deeply upsetting breaking news.

Yes, it’s for those of you who – very much like this writer – quite simply do not have their crap together. (So actually, I’m writing this for me, as much as I am for you.)

But never fear, we will get through this together. Not graciously; but our kids will be costumed, and not traumatised, and still speaking to us.

Relax and know that you have some solid options.

1. Forget about the theme.

It's a freaking miracle to get your kids to school on time most days, so it will be a next-level achievement to have them delivered in a costume.

So what that costume is does not matter.

Also, it’s just a theme. It’s not the law. 

Watch: Things people say before they have kids. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia

2. Use your village.

Mamamia‘s ultra-sage Executive Editor Holly Wainwright had the best advice. One year, she borrowed a private school uniform from a friend, and sent her daughter along as ‘Matilda’.


No cost involved, just a little lateral thinking.

Or, you can borrow a real costume outright, from one of the mums who create their own and dress their children as though they’re about to perform in a Broadway musical – like one of my sisters. Over the years, she’s made Cat in the Hat, Dumbledore, and numerous other characters from scratch. No, she’s not a stay-at-home mum. She’s just very talented (and a glutton for punishment.)

I very much hope you are related to someone like her for this reason alone.

3. Be a rebel.

At my son’s school, the Year 6 students all dress up as Tinkerbell. Both genders. It’s tradition, and the kids love it.

Also, the costume can be just that – a costume. Not a replica. 

One year my son went as Willy Wonka.

Yes, he wore my puffer jacket, with a hat from a show bag, and he carried a wrapping-paper-roll 'walking cane' that I painted black with the same shoe polish I use to polish his school shoes.

But you could still tell he was Willy Wonka.

Image: Supplied.


4. Abdicate responsibility.

This is my fancy way of saying: make your kids do it. Their life, their school, their costume, right?


Good luck with that, but I definitely think it's worth a try. Tell them to see what they already have at home – in everyone's closet, not just their own. (See: mini Scott Pape, aka The Barefoot Investor, above, kitted out perfectly in his one of his dad's work shirts.) Encourage them to 'think outside the box'.

And if, by some stroke of incredible luck, they find something themselves, pour yourself a large congratulatory drink for this amazing 'learning experience' you've gifted your child. You've earned it.

5. Op-shop it.

Op-shops are always full of colourful fashion inspo, so head to one prepared to find some weird attire your kids will love and 'have to have' – and will be able to make fit into something book-related (which is so much easier than the other way around).

6. When all else fails/if it's close: Kmart.

It's a parent's go-to for everything, so this one needs no explanation. Chances are you're reading this article whilst your child is choosing between the pug head and the Harry Potter 'fit.

'Thank f**k for Kmart'. Image: Supplied.


7. It's not a competition. Pinky-swear.

Most schools don't give out prizes for 'best dressed' or 'most original costume', because not only would that make some kids cry, it would make some parents who spent hours on costumes cry, too. The Book Week Parade is one of the few occasions where the kids aren't pitted against each other.

So calm your farm.

If you take nothing else away from this advice, know this: every other parent is in the same private hell as you.


What are your tips for surviving Book Week? Tell us in the comments section below.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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