World Book Day.
There are two types of parents in this world. Those that love it. And those that fucking hate it.
And if myself and my mum mates are anything to go by, these are three words that send shivers down parents’ spines all over the country.
As I write this, we’re just 48 hours away from one of my least favourite days of the school calendar.
I absolutely, 100 per cent know that I’m not alone in my dislike for it either. Albeit I know there are a few out there that abide it, or even love it. Alas, this is not me.
And the main reason, OBVIOUSLY, is the whole fucking dressing up thing. But believe it or not, that’s not JUST because I’m lazy.
But if we’re going to go there, then yes, I admit, I am a tiny bit lazy. I’m also the least creative person you’ll ever come across when it comes to craft, making things, and coming up with homemade shit (I mean costumes) for such things as, yes you’ve guessed it, World Book Day. Especially for three kids at the same time.
So maybe it’s not laziness, it’s just my lack of skills! I am clearly still scarred from last year by having to make a sodding microphone out of a kitchen roll at 11pm the night before, after one of them decided at bedtime it would be the perfect prop to complement the costume! You can imagine how that went down.
Dressing up for World Book Day
So for the past 4 years since my eldest has had to dress up (and even more so now the twins have to too) I have relied on either hand-me-down costumes from my nephews, or buying a ready-made one. And then ensuring that said bought costume is worn as many times as humanly possible by all three boys to get my money’s worth. My rule is, I won’t buy more than one, they have to share. Because I’m generous like that.
I am in a lucky position that I am able to do that though. When my eldest changed his mind for the third time about which character he wanted to go as, I was able to nip to Sainsbury’s on Saturday and buy a Harry Potter costume. Not everyone wants to or is able to do that.
And that’s where part of my dislike for World Book Day comes from. It might sound rich coming from someone who literally just spunked £17 on a HP costume at the drop of a hat, but it ends up dividing parents into the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, doesn’t it?
I will openly admit that £17 was an utter waste of money. And I’d rather it be spent on a million other things. Including ACTUAL books for my children. Because, you know, that’s the whole pissing point of it, isn’t it?
No way I can sew a World Book Day costume
What about other parents who don’t have that money to throw away? They have to make something? I reckon you’d be hard pushed to come up with a Harry Potter costume for much less to be honest. It’s not like we’ve all got a cloak, glasses and magic wand lying around the house. The only easy bit is drawing on a scar with eyeliner which will most definitely be smudged out of shape within the first 10 minutes of school. So when the alternative is spending more or less the same amount, but having to spend hours coming up with something myself, I’ll begrudgingly take whatever Sainsbury’s is offering.
Then bring in the fact you don’t want your kid to be the only one in school with a shockingly shit costume and other kids take the piss out of them, and it all starts becoming a bit of a mind fuck, doesn’t it?
Now I’m not knocking our school in particular. And it’s actually the school council made up of representatives of each year group that have set this year’s rules. So I can’t even blame the teachers! Most schools seem to do some sort of dressing up for World Book Day.
Our latest newsletter stated that the children could dress up as a book character of their choice, wear a T.shirt that they have created based on their favourite book, or a colour of their favourite book. If the kids don’t want to dress up at all they could wear their own clothes for mufti. So there are options.
Schools can be kind (or not!) to parents on World Book Day
Many schools ask their pupils to wear pyjamas as they associate reading at bedtime with books. I LOVE this idea. Mainly because it involves zero effort. Whilst I’ve heard of other schools asking their kids to dress up as their favourite word. No thanks to that utterly shit one, especially when I think of what my boys would come up with!! Every second word in this house is either willy or bum hole.
However I do wonder how much all this dressing up detracts from the actual reading. I’d put money on the fact my boys will only remember what costume they wore to school, rather than what books they read or authors they talked about.
By the looks of our school’s plan, there is loads going on. So much so I can barely keep up. And that’s pretty unusual for me. I can’t even figure out if they need to take the book which relates to their costume. Which is probably a good thing seeing as Twin Two wants to go as Captain America. We do have a book. Somewhere. I think…
They will have a ‘book buddy’ from another year group, so the older ones need to take in a book suitable to read to the younger ones, and the younger ones get to take in their favourite book and have it read by older pupils. I’m thinking maybe the older ones get the shit deal here.
We are also being ‘invited’ to take part in a ‘Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover’ challenge. Whereby the kids need to wrap up a book in paper with clues to its identity written on the outside. This could be a quote from the story, an illustration or a copy of the blurb. Their classmates will then try and guess the book. Seriously pondering whether I want to accept all 3 ‘invites’ for this challenge. It feels a bit too much like the ‘make your own Christmas card to be printed’ at home ‘invite’. And now I have 36 shit but expensive Christmas cards I’ll never use.
On the day, the school is setting up a Book Swap where we can take in books we no longer want (or in my case books that I CANNOT BRING MYSELF TO READ OVER AND OVER AGAIN ANY FUCKING LONGER!), and swap it for a different one. This is something I can definitely get onboard with.
A few days later there will be a story-telling workshop the kids can take part in with a local author, which the PTA has paid for.
So they’re definitely going to town with it all. Which is great.
Kids are counting the days
At first my eldest wasn’t keen on the whole dressing up idea, which obviously I didn’t discourage. Instead I dug out a few of the personalised books we have at home, you know the type, where the story is all about your child. And said he could just take one of those and go as himself. Bloody genius, really.
Obviously the twins, being younger, are RIGHT into World Book Day. For them it is ALL about the costumes and NOTHING about the books. (I rest my case), so their enthusiasm has clearly been infectious and the eldest is now getting into it too. They are literally counting down the days.
I’m making a mental note to myself to keep hold of the personalised book idea for years to come when he’s much cooler than he is now, and wouldn’t be seen dead dressing up as an actual book character.
Or I can live in hope that the kids on the school council at that point in time just go with the pyjama idea and let parents everywhere off the hook altogether. We can but dream, right?
How did I do?
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