When did World Book Day become such a big deal?


There’s been a lot about in the media about World Book Day this year or is it just my imagination? It seems suddenly to have become A Thing unlike all other costume-related days. I had, like many, pushed it to the outer reaches of my brain until I looked at the calendar on Wednesday night.

Our school had a theme for this year – bedtime stories, appropriate given it is National Sleep Awareness Week. That meant everyone had to come in their pjs. Easy peasy. Except…there was also a competition so pjs alone was not enough.  Children [but most probably their parents] had to think of something imaginative around the bedtime story idea. I suggested taping a cardboard bed and pillow onto only son, but he thought this might be slightly uncomfortable at playtime, though quite nice during lessons. I’m thinking of incorporating it into my work outfit.

Only son loves a programme called Deadtime stories, which is essentially bedtime stories that are scary. “I could go as Bloody Mary,” he said excitedly. Hmm. I could just imagine him running round the school, a Church of England school to boot, shouting “Bloody Mary” at full voice. Next he suggested a clown from one of the stories. His sisters did the make-up and, fortunately, we have an orange wig [I’m not sure why]. “I’m Giggles the Killer Clown,” said only son. Hmm. Weren’t killer clowns big on the news around Halloween and wouldn’t it seem in slightly poor taste to go as one to World Book Day? When will dressing up as a clown be ok again? I told only son that Giggles was not happening.

So we sorted through the dressing up box. Almost every costume I have ever made involves a sheet – Greek toga [sheet], Roman centurion [sheet with curtain as cloak], medieval peasant [sheet with apron], etc. You get my drift. Sheets are very adaptable and what better costume for a bedtime stories-themed event? I suggested a ghost, Wee Willie Winkie in a sheet or just a pillow case and a book. Only son was not convinced. The only other costumes we have are Spiderman, a Spanish dancer or a chick. “Who knows of a bedtime story involving a chick?” I asked the assembled team. Everyone looked blank. A small voice suggested The Ugly Duckling.
That got me thinking. Surely all books are potentially bedtime stories? Therefore, why could we not fall back on the old faithful – Harry Potter – and adapt it for a bedtime theme? So it came to pass that I sent only son to school yesterday wearing his pjs, a dressing gown and a black cloak with a Griffendor badge sewn on it [the badge is probably my best ever purchase on e-Bay. Every one of the kids has been Harry Potter at some stage]. Clutching a twig [wand], with a black scar on his forehead and his glasses on [I put sticky tape round the rims to make them look more Potterish], only son strode forth. Not only was he overjoyed to be dressing up, but it would force him to wear his glasses. Result. I congratulated myself on a job well done. Next stop, Red Nose Day, Easter Bonnet Day and all the rest. Bring it on.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk. 

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