Costume Inspiration for World Book Day

Every year at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, we hold a Schools Gala Day for which the whole site is closed to the public and given over to primary school groups. Alongside a whole host of wonderful author events, pupils can enjoy wandering entertainment, meet costume characters, browse the Baillie Gifford Children’s Bookshop and enjoy a picnic or ice cream.

Each year, we have a different theme and all of our staff (plus lots of pupils) dress up! We thought we would dig out some pictures of Gala Days gone by to help inspire you when thinking about your World Book Day costumes…

Where’s Wally?

In 2017, we had the whole Book Festival site searching for the ‘real’ Wally when we all dressed up as Where’s Wally.

We were delighted that some mini Wallys joined us too!


Roald Dahl characters

In 2016, we celebrated one of the greatest children’s storytellers, Roald Dahl.

We had several Willy Wonkas…

A Fantastic Mr Fox…

And some Front of House Oompa Loompas were hard at work…


Alice in Wonderland

In 2015, we turned Charlotte Square Gardens into Wonderland.

We had a couple of White Rabbits…

A grinning Cheshire Cat…

And some of our authors even joined in the dressing-up fun. Thanks Mad Hatters Vivian French and Nick Sharratt!


Bedtime Stories

In 2014, our Hush project with the wonderful Lyra Theatre in Craigmillar explored bedtime stories. What better excuse to come to work in pyjamas?

(Bed) hats off to the Front of House team member (below right) who came to the Book Festival in his bed!

We hope we’ve given you some inspiration for your own costumes on World Book Day. Have fun dressing up and getting excited about all of your favourite books!

And what will our Baillie Gifford Schools Gala Day theme be this year? You’ll have to wait until our 2018 Schools Programme is launched on 19 April to find out!

This year’s Gala Day will take place on Tuesday 28 August 2018. Don’t forget to sign up to receive a copy of the Schools Programme if you don’t already – simply send your details to

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