It's the week of the year that leaves parents all over the country with (extra) dark circles under their eyes and needle stabbed fingers as everyone prepares for World Book Day.
If you're not one for cracking open the sewing kit when it comes to fancy dress, or you're just too flat out with all of everything else in life to handcraft an elaborate costume, then you may have noticed the abundance of affordable, imaginative outfits for sale in supermarkets at the moment. Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda are all leading with kids fancy dress on the home page of their clothing websites as the country - for this week at least - goes book mad. Asda currently have an online sale on the costumes too, meaning prices for their accessory costumes - such as a simple bear's tail and ears - start from just £3.
As the mum of a 5 year old who's currently in the run up to hosting a Disney themed birthday party and wants to go as Simba, this was great timing! Alas, Simba is only available in toddler sizes, but I was still very excited to find a Mary Poppins outfit for my daughter. Since buying it in Asda, I've found Tesco and Sainsbury's each have their own version too - but whilst Sainsbury's comes with a "carpet" bag, Asda's comes with a foam bird umbrella which sets it apart for me!
Seeing the costumes got me thinking that if anyone invited to our party doesn't yet have anything to wear, World Book Day has meant it's the perfect time to pick up an affordable costume. And with such a variety of costumes available - and the supermarkets obviously getting more and more involved with World Book Day every year - anyone with a March/April/May time Birthday party might be on to a safe bet if they choose a party theme that can be catered for by a book related theme.
Therefore, based on the costumes I've seen for sale over the last few days, here are some literature inspired party themes for little ones!
This one is obviously very much on my radar as I'm about to have a house full of Elsas and Woodys (no doubt). Whilst Disney is of course films rather than books, the supermarkets can't do fancy dress without throwing in plenty of Beauty and the Beast Belles and other princesses. Plus of course, Mary Poppins was a book (or series of, rather) by P. L. Travers, as was A. A. Milne's Winne the Pooh, and the old school princesses of Cinderella, Rapunzel (Tangled), Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are all from fairy tales which I encountered in story books before seeing the films. Other common Disney costumes seem to revolve around the Toy Story franchise, with Woody, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear and Rex being firm costume favourites, along with Monsters Inc. And incase you've been hiding under a rock and missed it, Frozen 2 hit the cinemas a few months ago, meaning there are plenty of options around Elsa and Anna attire at the moment.
Another firm favourite in our house at the moment - and the cause of a slight moment of panic for me when I thought a certain soon-to-be Birthday boy was going to ask to change the theme of his party when shopping at the weekend - is Roald Dahl. Whereas Sainsbury's have nailed Fantastic Mr. Fox, Asda have come up with the imaginative Golden Ticket costume (just £5 now online) - ideal for 2 friends if one wants to be Willie Wonka, who's also catered for by the big chains. Other Dahl costumes we've seen are Matilda and the BFG. Roald Dahl really is a great theme for a party at any time as kids of the right age love the characters yet they're often easy to recreate without buying a costume or going to too much effort. The Magic Finger, George's Marvellous Medicine, and even James and the Giant Peach, can all be paid homage to fairly easily.
Personally, I'm not a Harry Potter fan (yet) but the supermarket costumes seem to have done him proud. And with options of just a wand and the right colour scarf and tie depending on whether you're Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff, there are some very affordable options in the shops. This also lead me to think that just a general magic party theme would open up a lot of options - inc. fairies or witches, wizards and even magicians.
No World Book Day outfit selection is complete without a very cute toddler sized Peter Rabbit costume. But as far as a party goes, any bunny ears or even a cardboard mask - like these on Pinterest - will make for a rather adorable little people's party. We've got some bunny ears which came with a Lindt Easter Egg several years ago and have come in handy many times for various Peter / Flopsy / Mopsy related alter egos!
Simple but effective, you could just give your guests the choice of any book character they wish - or open it further and say "favourite fictional character". Queue the Captain Americas and Spidermen. Something as broad and varied as this gives everyone a chance to think of a character they love, whilst giving parents the choice of buying something, wearing something shop bought that they already own, or just getting creative with what's in the wardrobe. I was particularly proud of the Stick Man costume I made last year (for World Book Day) which involved a piece of corrugated cardboard, a glue gun, a couple of brown pipe cleaners and some green card for leaves!
So there you have it. 5 ideas for parties for kids of all ages - or big kids of the adult size - which can remind us all of the joy of reading and getting lost in your favourite book.
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