There's a rush on at Hobbycraft, Facebook is filled with kids in cardboard, and A&E is experiencing higher than average craft-glue related injuries. Yes folks it's World Book Day, the date circled red on every parent's calendar.
For non-parents, World Book Day is when schools around the country require children to dress as their favourite character from a book. I have three kids and they have requested, Julius Caesar, Aslan and a hat depicting the dichotomy of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. In my opinion, I have got away lightly this year.
Here are a few tips from many years' experience of World Book Days in a suburban middle class area (basically, the front line of competitive parenting).
1) There are a couple of back up costumes everyone should have in their cupboard for fancy dress emergencies, for boys Pirate or Knight, for a girl, Princess or Princess. For those admirably trying to be as gender neutral as possible in a world of pink and blue, there's the Gruffalo.
2) Take the pins out.
3) It is good to be ambitious, but incorporating fireworks and/or flames into the outfit really is a no-no. Try to ignore how cool it would be.
4) Remember that they have to actually do a full school day dressed like that. Daleks are great for mass exterminating small children in the playground, not so good at sitting down in assembly.
5) Only the kids are supposed to be in fancy dress. If you turn up in full costume you will be asked to leave in a tone that implies that they don't even care how many times you watched Kate Bush videos to get your Cathy look spot on.
That's if you haven't forgotten about World Book Day all together. My heart goes out to the poor parents this week desperately stapling tin foil directly onto their kids' heads while muttering, 'You're a robot, there are loads of books about robots, get your coat on and stop crying.'
If the outfit is so rubbish that you have to actually put a sticker on the child saying who they are supposed to be, it's worth remembering that World Book Day is about injecting a bit of enthusiasm into learning, it's not an opportunity to prove parenting prowess. Parenting, is not so easily judged like a sport, it's more like eating spaghetti on a date or parallel parking with an audience. You do the best you can given the circumstances, and that is good enough. No one thinks you love your kids more because their outfit has tassels on.
For me, the one image that sums up World Book Day is the boy last year who spent the whole day dressed as a cowboy with a box on his head because he was Mike TV from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It warms my heart to think that a 10 year old was willing to give up peripheral vision for the day just to stay in character. It's for the kids see?