World Book Day: Parents spend more on outfits than they do on novels

Parents can spend up to £100 on costumes for their children so they can out-do their classmates

Parents spend more on fancy dress outfits for their children on World Book Day than they do on literature each year, a survey reveals.

They are happy to pay £100 for costumes so their offspring can out-do classmates.

Yet the average household’s bill for recreation and culture, including books, was just £74.60 last year, said the Office for National Statistics.

The priorities emerged as pupils today dress up as their favourite literary character at school to mark the annual event. The figures showed that 46% of parents buy them an outfit, with just 36% investing in a novel.

But with two-thirds of primary school pupils demanding a costume, mums and dads admit to feeling stressed by the occasion.

Six in 10 adults think it is now a fancy dress parade rather than a celebration of books.

Favourite literary character costumes range from Harry Potter to Gangsta Granny

Online auction site eBay, who commissioned the poll, said: “We want to inspire families to reconnect with World Book Day’s meaning so we’ve curated a list of new and used books

Royal Mail has unveiled four decorative postboxes that honour authors of children’s literature for World Book Day.

CS Lewis has one in Belfast, Frances Hodgson Burnett in Manchester and Judith Kerr in Barnes, south-west London.

Gangsta Granny writer David Walliams, whose yellow one is in central London, hoped children will be inspired to post more letters.