I must confess I don't have a creative bone in my body so my heart always sinks when my son brings home the details about World Book Day each year and the inevitable dressing up that it entails. This year my son, now seven years old, refused point blank to wear anything that we had lovingly (but badly) thrown together and begged to be allowed to buy a 'proper' costume instead. To be fair, my husband and I did think this showed a discerning amount of taste - after all, we wouldn't want to be seen out in public in one of our homemade monstrosities either!
The only problem was that, as usual, we had left things to the last minute and googling for 'book day costumes' late on the Sunday evening with Book Day on Thursday, had us thinking we were going to end up paying over the odds for next day delivery. Indeed, some of the sites we found were charging over £12 for a next day service - almost the same cost as the outfits in some instances!
Thankfully, our googling led us to www.charliecrow.co.uk a site that I hadn't heard of before. Here, the costumes were all very reasonably priced and the choice was amazing. Even our increasingly picky son managed to find a selection of costumes that he would be willing to wear and the site seemed to have every possible occasion where fancy dress may be required well and truly covered. The site is logically laid out and split into categories including Girls, Boys, Adults, Halloween, Christmas, Dinosaurs, Animals... The list goes on!
The outfits are all made in the UK by Charlie Crow themselves and, consequently, are more traditionally themed than the usual Disney or spin-off film merchandise that is available elsewhere. Thankfully, for a site with such a wide range of stock, the search function was easy to use and very intuitive, bringing up not only the specific item requested but also alternative, logical suggestions as well as possible accessories. Each costume was featured in a clear photograph and included washing instructions and details about the materials used which should give some idea as to the suitability for any specific occasion.
I think the only costume that was noticeably absent was one for an 'alien' - which was rather unfortunate as we had thought that an 'Aliens love Underpants' theme would have been a great idea! (Perhaps that's an option that the site owners might want to bear in mind for the future!) Despite this, we certainly weren't short of possibilities and finally decided on a knight theme and selected an appropriate outfit.
Our chosen outfit cost £19.99 and comprised of trousers, tunic and balaclava so not unreasonably priced. There were cheaper (as well as more expensive) options on site. I have noticed that Charlie Crow costumes can be bought from Amazon but I'd recommend comparing prices on their own site as many of the costumes on Amazon were more expensive than buying direct from the company. Standard delivery from the site is £3.99 and guaranteed next day delivery is £7.99 which, whilst expensive, compares favourably to similar sites. Fortunately for us, Charlie Crow's happened to be based locally and I was able to order by telephone and collect the costume the same day (and avoid the delivery charges!) so, for once, fate was on our side. The company is family run and located in an industrial estate in Stoke on Trent and the staff couldn't have been more approachable and helpful, an experience which is born out by the various testimonials featured on the site.
My son is delighted with his costume and it certainly appears to be well-made and good value for the price paid. I do have every admiration for those parents currently struggling with a sewing machine, safety pins and back issues of Good Housekeeping magazines but I, for one, will be going back to Charlie Crow's for the next few World Book Days to follow!
Telephone: 01782 417133
B4 St Modwen Trade Park Fenton
Off Dewsbury Road
Stoke on Trent