World Book Day creates volumes of bother for some parents - survey

It's the day of the year when children delight in their favourite books by dressing up as fictional characters, but a new poll suggests that most parents find World Book Day a bit of a hassle.

The survey found that while the vast majority of parents agree that the annual event - which falls on Thursday March 1 this year - is a great way to celebrate books, for many it is also something of a bother.

It also reveals that when it comes to picking a costume, many mothers and fathers think that characters from children's fiction, storybooks, fairytales and nursery rhymes are the best choices, along with superheroes and comic book characters.

And it suggests that where there are disagreements over costume choice, children are more likely to win out than their parents.

Overall, 77% of the 1,700 people polled by Mumsnet agreed that World Book Day is a great way to celebrate books, while 12% said it last year's event was a "major hassle" and a further 61% said it was "a bit of a hassle".

A third (33%) said they had "cobbled something together" from items in the wardrobe or dressing up box, while 21% bought a ready-made costume for their child.

Around 17% said that they had made something for their child to wear, while 13% re-used a ready-made costume they already had.

Other parents resorted to sending their child in regular, everyday clothes, reusing hand-crafted outfits or borrowing a costume.

Asked what they thought were legitimate choices for a costume for the celebration, the most popular answer was a character from a children's fiction, story or picture book (91%), followed by a character from a fairytale or nursery rhyme (73%) and then a superhero, comic book or animation character (43%).

Among those who said they had disagreed about costumes last year, 52% said their child's preference won, while 20% said that they had won.

  • Children's fiction and storybooks (91%)

  • A fairytale or nursery rhyme character (73%)

  • Superhero or comic book star (43%)

The poll also suggests that Roald Dahl characters were the most popular costume last year, followed by Harry Potter characters and then Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler characters.

Justine Roberts, chief executive of Mumsnet, said: "Each year, when they finally discover the letter that their child has left in the furthest recesses of the book bag, parents on Mumsnet ask frantically for last-minute costume ideas.

"Thankfully there are lots of brilliant, creative suggestions for creating the perfect Hermione or Charlie Bucket using only craft paper, glue and an old pair of tights.

"Despite the inconvenience and occasional howls of protest, it's one of those annual celebrations that most parents look back on with fondness once their children have outgrown it. If nothing else, it's an excellent source of ridiculous photos to whip out at eighteenth birthday parties."

- The poll surveyed 1,703 Mumsnet users with at least one child aged 11 and under between February 2-12.