Literary Halloween Costumes
Halloween is here, you need a costume, and you’re looking for unique and easy. Then literary Halloween costumes are the way to go. Dressing up like your favorite character is the perfect way to meet others at Halloween parties who share your obsession or a great way to build something for your next cosplay opportunity.
Here are nine costume ideas, just for you. All are easy, but you can make them more complex if you have extra time. However, face paint and a black clock go a long way on Halloween.
Gideon The Ninth Costume
Of Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
If you want exclusivity on a costume at a party, this completely badass and totally easy 2019 book character is the way to go. Gideon the Ninth is a swordswoman of the Ninth House, ready to protect her Necromancer during a challenge set by the undead Emperor.
Needed: Black and white face paint, to paint a skull on your face. Aviator sunglasses. Black clothing.
Optional: Sword of any type. Short hair. Bonus if you’re a ginger.
Superhero costumes are a dime a dozen (or $49 each, whatev), but it’s much more fun to design your own based on what you have around your home, and what you imagine your super power is. It’s no fun arriving at a party and finding out Batman’s already there.
Claire Fraser Historical Costume
Of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Claire is a time-traveling doctor who doesn’t mess around. Because Claire wears so many different outfits in the TV show, this should be an easy one to pull together. There’s a lot more flexibility in character costumes like this, than with iconic one-outfiters like Where’s Waldo. The hardest part will be finding your Jamie.
Needed: Floor length skirt. Historical looking blouse or tartan patterned shirt.
Optional: Knitted wrap or full cloak. Basket full of herbs. Read up on Outlander in this blog post.
Children's Book Characters
Pick out a favorite from your childhood–the Cowardly Lion, Matilda, Peter Pan. There’s no need to go in-depth unless you want to as these are typically easily recognizable. A stylized hairdo and one or two accessories will hit home.
Of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.
It takes commitment to be green, but this costume idea is iconic on a number of levels–the book, the Broadway show, the other book this book is based on. It’s 100% recognizable and easy enough to pull off.
Needed: Green face paint for face, neck, and hands. Black, long-sleeved clothing. Black witch’s hat.
Optional: Neutral colored broom.
If you choose a classic character like Frankenstein’s Monster or Dracula there’s much less work to put into the costume because even a basic rendering gets the message across. Some of these ideas are pretty niche, but these classic literary Halloween costumes are sure to hit the mark with any audience.
The Harry Potter Gang
Of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter costumes will never not be acceptable and they’re ridiculously easy. If you haven’t already, take the sorting hat quiz on Pottermore to find out what house you belong in. You have to sign up, but this is the OFFICIAL quiz that will decide your house once and for all.
Needed: Preppy looking clothing including white collared shirt. Homemade wand (you can find a stick, can’t you?).
Optional: Dark cloak. Tie or accessories in house colors. Individual character props like glasses (Harry), books (Hermionie), or stuffed rat (Ron).
Inanimate Object Costumes
You don’t have to be a character at all to still be book-based. For example, a constellation of stars (black clothing wrapped with twinkling lights) means you don’t have to collect set, recognizable pieces to pull the costume together, but still hearkens back to your love of science fiction.
Prince Robot Costume
Of Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples.
Prince Robot is just that. A robot prince with a television head and humanoid body. This one is definitely a conversation starter but it’s relatively easy to make. An old television set would be impressive, but might be heavy, hard to acquire, and obstruct vision, breathing, and other important functions. A cardboard box painted black will make the same statement and then you get to choose what to paint on the screen.
Needed: Cardboard TV box for your head. Official looking blazer or coat.
Optional: Purple sash. Khaki pants. Boots.
Have fun making your literary Halloween costumes this year.
Here’s my family dressed as Star Wars characters with Princess Leia (me), Han Solo (my husband), Chewbacca (my son), and Rey (my daughter). The only things we bought were yarn for my hair, a vest for my husband, and the baby’s outfit. It’s terribly homemade and terribly fun.