Tips to help you have an eco-friendly Book Week

In case you missed the memo, Book Week is next week (Week 5, 21-25 Aug) and that means it's costume time again. We've listed some cheap, eco-friendly ways to do Book Week 2023.

Book Week is that wonderful time where kindergarten and primary school aged children all over Australia get to delve into the wonderful world of make believe and dress up as one of their favourite book characters. Book Week 2023’s theme is ‘Read, Grow, Inspire’ and last week we shared 23 costume ideas for Book Week 2023 to help you take the stress out of thinking of a costume.

Now we want to help you save some dollars whilst also aiming to not buy new to avoid contributing to landfill. With the cost of living through the roof, and more and more examples of how textiles are contributing negatively to the environment Book Week 2023 is agreat opportunity to save on both. Mel Wegener from Money Savvy Mamma shared some excellent eco-friendly tips on How to do Book Week on a budget that we thought were worth sharing.

We hope Mel’s tips inspire you to save some money on costumes and help you have a low waste, eco-friendly Book Week.

1. Utilise the toy library

Mel says, “Consider borrowing a costume for Book Week from your local toy library. Toy libraries are amazing, and many have costumes available to borrow. Sign up for a membership if you haven’t already. They range in price depending on location but we pay around $35 a year for virtually unlimited borrowing. Try to have a look soon before everyone has the same idea! I love that you can borrow, use and return it once you’re done. This makes the process of sourcing a Book Week costume pain-free, doesn’t cost out of pocket, reduces the impact on the environment and you don’t need to store or manage another item.”

2. Ask your Buy Nothing group

Buy Nothing groups are Facebook groups with the goal to help group members to simply buy nothing. Mel says, “Ask those in your local Buy Nothing group for a suitable costume for Book Week. The Buy Nothing Project is amazing. Simply search for your local group, apply to join and once accepted, you can give things away you no longer need or take ones that you do. It is a brilliant initiative to keep items out of landfill and help each other out.”

Another great option could be to check out your local Buy, Swap, Sell groups or similar on Facebook. As well as sourcing costumes on these groups, you could also source other items like craft supplies, face paint and other bits and bobs to pull together a cheap, low waste DIY costume.

3. Reach out to friends and family

Another great suggestion from Mel is to ask your friends or family for help. She writes, “Put a shout-out on your social media page. Ask your mum’s group. Message some contacts. This can be an easy way to source what you are looking for. People like to feel useful and share things around so this can be worth trying. Many parents will have collected costumes over the years that their children have now grown out of. They would be happy to lend or give to you.”

This is true again for extra craft supplies people might have laying around, or could even be a way to source cardboard boxes, egg cartons or toilet rolls needed for crafty costumes.

4. Search Facebook Marketplace

“People want to get rid of stuff, often at low prices. Have a look and put an alert on for the costume you are searching for. Put a wanted post up. Try Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, or any other site that you use. You can resell it afterwards and not be out of pocket. If you are a bit savvy, you might even make some money on reselling it too!”

You also never know what other goodies people are trying to sell or give away on Facebook, so if you’re inspired to DIY your kiddo’s costume, don’t forget to look here before running out the the craft store.

5. Get your craft on

I don’t know if you can tell but we are clearly very into DIY Book Week costumes so we love this tip the most! “Get crafty and creative. If this is your thing, go for it! Get inspiration from Pinterest and have some fun. Utilise the bits and pieces in your home or have a look in your local op shop, craft or cheap shop. Think hot glue guns, fabric and recyclables,” says Mel.

We think the best crafts use what you have at home, and then try and source other materials from your community whether via Facebook Marketplace or groups, or from friends and family who might have excess or forgotten craft supplies. Nothing beats a cardboard box turned into a loved character with the aid of paint, recyclables, and some masking tape!

6. Thrift like you mean it

Last but not least Mel writes, “Look in thrift shops. Check out your local op shop (charity shop / thrift store). Dress-ups and costumes are often pretty cheap. Think ahead if you can and buy during the year. Op shops like Savers are bigger and will have them more readily organised for you. Good for saving you time, especially if you are not able to visit multiple places. They will be more expensive than smaller, church-run op shops.”


Photo credit: Mini Mad Things

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