When you’re a kid, Halloween is easy. Costume choices are limited to the most popular children’s movie hero that year, or the old favorites like witches, princesses, pirates and ghosts. You could spend an entire childhood of Halloweens simply rotating Disney characters or cute animals.
But once you grow up, the holiday becomes more complex. Suddenly, you have to worry about Halloween parties, witty and topical costumes, or the varied challenges of dressing up as a group. Even if you try to avoid the hassle and buy a costume from a party store, it can come with a hefty price tag, leaving you with an expensive pile of uncomfortable fabric you’ll never need again.
Luckily, for those of us who love books and are over the whole idea of freezing to death as a sexy nurse or sailor, literature provides an endless list of costume ideas. If you still haven’t decided what to go as this Halloween, the bookworm in you will love these clever (not to mention low-cost and low-maintenance) literary costumes.
1. The Raven
No other author brings Halloween to mind like Edgar Allan Poe. His perfectly creepy short stories and macabre poems bring life to even the dullest of English classes. To dress as the namesake of Poe’s most famous poem, all you need is an all-black ensemble (feathers optional), a plastic or cardboard bird beak, and a “Nevermore“ paper quote bubble to carry or tape to your shirt. Bonus points for refusing to say anything but “Nevermore” all night.
Who doesn’t love that silly old bear? These books are a childhood staple, and Winnie is a great last-minute costume idea. All you need is a red shirt and some yellow bottoms. And if you spend the night embracing a makeshift “hunny” pot, there’s zero chance anybody will ask you who you’re supposed to be. Bonus points if you carry a red balloon.
3. The Grady Twins from The Shining
This costume has been a Halloween favorite ever since Stanley Kubrick’s interpretation of the Stephen King novel hit theaters, and it’s a quick fix if you and a bookish friend are both looking for an idea. You just need to secure matching blue dresses, pink bows, and some red paint for bloodstains. Bonus points for nailing “Come play with us…” and genuinely creeping out your friends.
Another childhood classic, Where’s Waldo? had us all scouring pages enthusiastically while our parents and teachers enjoyed some quiet time. A Waldo costume consists of jeans, glasses, a red and white striped sweater and a matching hat. Bonus points for spending the whole party in Waldo’s friendly waving pose.
5. Nancy Drew
Every fan’s heart sank the day they realized Nancy Drew author Carolyn Keene was just a pseudonym for several writers contributing to the series, but Nancy still makes a great costume. All you need is a dress or skirt-sweater combo reminiscent of the sixties, a magnifying glass, and a curling iron to achieve Nancy’s signature hairdo. Bonus points if you wear a puzzled expression all evening and investigate potential mysteries concerning your friends.
This Moby Dick costume is for the incurably Halloween-lazy who wants to go out and have a good time without being scolded for not dressing up. Write Ishmael on a nametag and slap it on (Get it? Call me Ishmael!), but prepare for some eye-rolls at your lack of effort. Bonus points for bringing a white whale stuffed animal and pretending to pursue it.
7. Elphaba Thropp from Wicked
The typical witch costume is pretty tired, but Gregory Maguire’s take on Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West is much more accessible, (and you don’t have to wear an itchy polyester cape or hat all night). If you already wear glasses and own anything resembling schoolgirl clothes, you only need to braid your hair and invest in some green makeup to become Elphaba. Bonus points if someone asks, “Like from the musical?!” and you haughtily reply, “Actually, from the book. Sigh.”
Use these literary costumes to stand out from the crowd and impress your shabbily costumed friends this year. Happy Halloween, book lovers!
YouTube Channel: Brianna Renee
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