I’m sure by now everyone has seen the little kid who dressed as the A470 road-map for World Book Day. I felt an intense sense of déjà vu when I saw said costume as if it had been done before. I’m pretty sure it has but I’m not all that bothered. Either way, you don’t want your kid showing up to school, unable to find his mates amongst the droves of bespectacled young wizards with red marker pen on their foreheads, you want them to have a real costume, one that sets them apart from their peers and announces their literary prowess to the school.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Prepare your young child for their later, moody teenage phase by dressing them up as classic Byronic anti-hero/anti-villain Heathcliff. He always looks a bit like Professor Snape in my head, so if you did that last year and want to switch it up, it would be pretty easy. If you would like your child to go one step beyond merely looking like the character, you could instruct them to fall in love with one of their classmates only for them to be turned away in favour of a peer. After this, your child would have to disappear at lunchtime before returning for the final hour of the day as the school’s new sombre but vicious headmaster. Or not.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
If you want to take a subtle dig at the current zeitgeist via an allegorical novella criticising Stalinism and dictatorships in general then look no further than Orwell’s Animal Farm. In my opinion, this is the better of Orwell’s two political allegories. You could disguise your child as a mere pig when in actuality they are Napoleon, the swine dictator of the farm based on Joseph Stalin, this could fool even the most well-read teacher upon first glance. If this is a bit extreme, then, by all means, go for the book’s porky martyr, Old Major.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Before being somewhat tarnished by the recent Go Set a Watchman, Atticus Finch was perhaps the finest fictional character of the 20th Century. However, the novel’s focaliser, Scout is on par with her father. If you lean towards the more conservative, ‘normal’ parent, then Scout is a great idea to set your child apart from the crowd. She is an adventurous tomboy who could quite easily be played by a girl or boy.
Other candidates who didn’t make the list include King Mob from Grant Morrison’s Invisibles which would require your child be bald or close to. A close alternative would be Jerry Cornelius from Michael Moorcock’s Final Programme which, while possibly unisex, would see your child dress like an Edwardian Dandy.