Some eco living ideas sound simple when you write them down, just like this blog title. So why do we not follow them through?

As World Book Day approaches, many parents around the country are busy shopping for that perfect fancy dress costume or accessories.

The idea is fantastic. Kids love fancy dress so it’s a great way to get them excited about books. But it can be incredibly wasteful, not to mention stressful as each parent strives to make the best costume to be paraded at the school gates.

Many parents say they haven’t got the time or maybe the skills to make a costume, so they spend the time instead going to the shops and buying a plastic or polyester costume that will be used once before being hidden in the wardrobe in the hope it may become useful again in the future for a sibling or friends child. After a few forgotten years, most the time, said costume, ends up in the bin.

It is easy to get swept up in our kids excitement and with ideas to create the perfect costume. Don’t feel bad, we all do it, but if you want to make a small change to help the planet, reconsider how you approach World Book Day.

So how can we keep this excitement about books, but save waste?


Instead of making a costume around their favourite book, why not find a book to match their favourite outfit?

Most children have a wacky outfit of some kind, whether it’s a tutu they like to wear when jumping in puddles, or their favourite duffel coat they want to wear indoors. Give them an excuse to wear it to school and show it to their friends. Look online or go to the library together to find a new book to read that matches their outfit. Whether it’s about a ballerina, or a particular marmalade loving bear.

What’s not to love… You get to save money, time and waste, whilst inspiring them to read a new book instead of the same one over and over again.

Don’t forget when you find the new story, don’t buy new. Check it out of your local library. Enjoy exploring the shelves together. You never know how many more stories you may find on the way.


If you actually enjoy the crafting challenge of World Book Day (some of us do!) then use it as a chance to pick a green message. Find a book about nature, recycling, the ocean or even climate change if you are feeling brave.

Spend the time encouraging them to make their costume only using things you already own, or with things that can be recycled at the end of the project.

Not sure you have the creativity? That doesn’t matter, let them create! Special days at school are meant to be for the kids after all. It’s amazing what they come up with if given materials and free time.


If you already have fancy dress costumes in your household, bring them out and let them choose. It doesn’t matter if they wore it last year (it may just need a bit of elastic to make it fit again!).

Use it as a chance to reread a past favourite book that has sat on the bookcase gathering dust. If they have younger siblings or friends get them involved in reading the story to them.


If you still want a fancy costume, consider a costume swap. Ask the school to do a costume swap event before next World Book Day. Parents can donate costumes that their children have outgrown in exchange for someone else’s donation. Each costume gets the chance to be loved by a new child, and you get a chance to explore a new book with them based on their costume.

Whatever you decide to do for World Book Day, just remember we don’t have to stop all things fun, just be more aware and responsible about how we do them.

Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot