It’s nearly Thursday 4th March, which means that World Book day is just around the corner. And if you’re one of the 40% of parents making their child’s costume from scratch this year – according to a survey by Kiddi Caru – you may be looking for some creative inspiration. 

Harry Potter tops the list of most popular World Book Day costumes this year, after the question was posed to over 750 parents, with the simple outfit of a uniform, cape and wand, seemingly easy to hand make. Disney Princesses are the second favoured choice, with Elsa from Frozen being a firm favourite. The Gruffalo took third position as the most popular costume this year, with Julia Donaldson’s books always proving to be a favoured character choice. 

So, with that in mind, why not get your children involved and invite them to help you make their Gruffalo costume, with these easy, crafty homemade costume ideas. Also lets use World Book Day to remember to actually focus on reading. There is a recent survey that revealed only 18% of adults read to their child for at least 20 minutes a day, even though increased reading for this length of time correlates with gross lifetime earnings, and academic success.

A papier mâché mask

If you really want to make a project out of your Gruffalo outfit, then why not try a fully-fledge, over-the-head, papier mâché mask. This option suits the parents that like to spend time, or simply have more time, to make their child’s costume – with the survey finding out that 17% of parents asked will spend more than a day making the outfit for this event. 

For this you will need lots of newspaper and different coloured paints. Start by cutting out bits of cardboard into the shape of the Gruffalo’s ears, horns and tusk. Paint the tusks white and leave to one side for later. Then, blow up a balloon and tie it up at the end. Tape the ears and horns to the balloon, and with folded newspaper, make the shape of his snout and also tape that to the balloon. 

Now comes the fun part, and the step that you get the kids involved in! Make a thick paste out of PVA glue and water. Dip newspaper strips into the paste and lay them over the balloon, leaving an opening at the bottom. Repeat until the whole balloon is covered. This is where the time element comes into play, as you need to leave it all to dry for at least a couple of hours or ideally overnight. 

Once dried solid, you can draw on the distinguishable features of the Gruffalo and paint in the correct colours. You can make it stand out even more by outlining sections with a black marker pen. Remember those white tusks? Now you can stick them onto the mask, and add a tissue paper wart at the end of the snout. Pop the balloon and remove from inside, trim up the edges and cut some holes out for the eyes. Team the mask with a brown top and trousers, and viola – you have an impressive Gruffalo costume, ready for the special day! 

Felt Fun – Mask and Cape 

If you’re looking for a simpler way to make a Gruffalo costume, or want to avoid staying up crafting the night before, then felt is your friend. This mask and cape are an effective costume, that’s quick and easy to make, without a stitch insight. 

Cut a paper plate, or piece of cardboard, into a semi-circle shape to make a mask that will go over the top half of your child’s face, before making some holes for where the eyes would be. With the off cuts of the materials, make some tusks, ears and teeth to stick on later. You can try to draw the shape freehand or just print off a Gruffalo stencil that can help make it easier to cut out the right shapes. 

And here’s the easy bit – simply cover all the parts in coloured felt and stick together. Use brown for the skin, orange for the eyes, pink for the ears, green for the wart and so on. The same survey from Kiddi Caru found that 53% of parents like to get their child involved in making the costume. And so, with this stage, you can get your little one to help stick all of the pieces of felt to the mask. If you like, use a black felt-tip pen to colour in some hair or outline the features. Finally, hole punch either side and slide in some string or pipe cleaners for holding the mask in place. 

For the cape, the no-sewing theme continues, as you can use one whole square of brown felt. Simply cut a hole at one end for your child’s head to slip through or cut a round neck shape and fashion some ties with extra felt, that you can glue on. And to create the Gruffalo’s prickly back, glue some purple felt triangles all over the cape. Again, your children can also help you do this part too. 

And that’s all there is to it – have your child wear some plain clothes underneath, or even something in a shade of brown, and they’re now ready for World Book Day!