I send my kids to school in UNIFORM on World Book Day – I don’t have time to do costumes but I won’t be labelled lazy

I send my kids to school in UNIFORM on World Book Day – I don’t have time to do costumes but I won’t be labelled lazy

Sarah Hughes, 40, won’t be sending her kids to school in costumes for World Book Day and won’t be shamed for her decision.

Sarah lives with her husband, Rob, company director, 40, and three boys, 11, nine, and, four, in Newcastle, Tyne and Wear.

She says costume-making has turned into a competitive sport between parents and she’d rather her kids focus on reading.

HUNCHED over a pile of cardboard, glue and materials I took a large glug of wine.

It was March 2019 and the evening before World Book Day.


Mess was scattered all over the floor around me as I tried to construct a crown for my son, exhausted having worked a 12-hour day as a content writer for a website. 

The kids were asleep and the only person still up was me, trying to make the perfect costume for my third boy.

I was exhausted, frazzled and running out of foil, wine and patience.

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Every time I tried to make the crown it wouldn’t glue properly and fell apart.

That was the moment I was broken by World Book Day costume-making and the sheer exhaustion which comes with it.

I cracked and am proud I did.

I vowed ‘never more’ – now the boys go to school in their uniforms.

In an instant I shocked myself into reality and it has been life changing.

I didn’t have time to make costumes.

I realised World Book Day was the thin edge of the wedge and it broke me.

It puts an enormous amount of pressure on mums and dads but especially mothers.

We’re expected to make the perfect costume and it’s overwhelming. 

But it’s become less about celebrating reading and more about who can afford to spend the most.

The day is a bizarre competitive sport for parents to show off their costume making skills.

Parents use World Book Day to claim bragging rights on Instagram and TikTok.

One look on social media made me, up to my ears in Sellotape, feel like a failure. 

The stress World Book Day entailed was overwhelming and I knew it wasn’t what it was meant to be about. 

It had become some weird costume competition and we’d missed the point of the day.

So instead of sending my sons to school in some fancy costume I waved them off in their usual uniforms with a pile of books. 

Walking up to the school gate I admit I did feel a wave of guilt wash over me.

But then two other mums who also had their kids in uniforms joined me and said they were grateful I was bucking the trend too.

I want my kids to value reading and to actually learn to read, not dress up in an outfit not even linked to a book

The school was also supportive, especially when I pointed out not every parent could afford a costume, had the time to make one or even the skills to do so.

Since then my boys wear their uniforms and adore doing a special World Book Day report and donating books they have finished reading to charity.

My mini-costume rebellion has also led to arguments being avoided. 

Previously my kids fought over what they could wear.

One fancied a movie hero outfit and when I said that wasn't a book they disagreed strongly, unable to comprehend the difference. 

I see kids wearing their favourite football kit or even computer game outfit on World Book Day and struggle to explain to my kids how that’s literature.

So I am not ashamed of my decision and I won't be made to feel guilty nor will I be labelled selfish or lazy for ignoring it.

I want my kids to value reading and to actually learn to read, not dress up in an outfit not even linked to a book.

Stay-at-home-mums might have time – but for us working mothers it’s simply too much effort! 

Sarah also recommended to donate to Book Aid International, a charity dedicated t changing lives through books.

Elsewhere, a savvy parenting expert has figured out the simple steps to follow if you want to get your toddler to do what's needed.

Also, nursery workers share the annoying things all parents do & empty bags is one of the worst.

Plus, this expert reveals the trick to disciplining your toddler WITHOUT telling them off.

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