10 DIY Literary Costumes for Halloween

#1 Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne


Buy a small piece of red fabric, cut it into the shape of the letter “A,” and sew the letter onto your dress (preferably old and colonial looking). Wear a white apron and bonnet to complete the look. Oh, and make sure to look scorned. That’s important. If you’re pressed for time, you could just wear a giant letter “A” and skip the dress.

…like this lady.


#2 Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


To dress up like the Girl on Fire, make sure to braid your hair into a long, single braid. If you don’t have long, dark hair, then you might have to buy a wig to do this. Find a bow, a mocking jay pin (they’re online everywhere), and some boots. Make sure to look like a complete bad ass the whole night.


#3 Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson


Find some temporary tattoos (at least one being a dragon, obviously) and place them all over your body. Throw in a leather jacket, combat boots, and a ton of piercings. Buy a black wig, and, well, just go crazy with the scissors. I don’t think you can really make Lisbeth’s hair any crazier than it already is.


#4 Tom Sawyer from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain


To look like Tom Sawyer, buy a straw hat, a worn pair of leather shoes (or just go barefoot), and some overalls. Look through your garage for some leftover white paint (or buy some, if you’re that dedicated). Carry a bucket and a paint brush around with you. Make sure to pour some of the paint onto the bucket and paintbrush. Oh, and also trick all of your friends into doing your chores.


#5 Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger


Holden is easy. All you need is a red hunting hat, a houndstooth jacket, and a pack of cigarettes. Walk around the entire night calling everyone a phony.


#6 Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote


Holly is another relatively simple costume. Steal Hepburn’s look from the 1961 film. Find a long black dress, some costume jewelry, and a long cigarette holder. Wear your hair in a top knot.


#7 Patrick Bateman from American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis


Find an old business suit and splatter fake blood from your local Halloween store all over it. Find a kitchen knife (preferably not a real one), and create some business cards to pass out to your friends.


#8 Ishmael from Moby Dick by Herman Melville


This is the laziest costume ever, but it gets the job done. Get a name tag and write the name Ishmael on it in sharpie. If you don’t quite understand how to pull off this complicated costume, check out the picture below.



#9 Max from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurcie Sendak


If you have a little boy, you absolutely must dress him as Max. The costume can be found in some Halloween stores, but it can also be easily made if you’re good at crafting. You’ll need some white footie pajamas, black pipe cleaners for whiskers, large buttons, a piece of black felt for a tail, and a gold crown. You’ll also need to make some white ears.

This guy has some great parents.


#10 Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Enough said.

The list could go on and on. What are your favorite literary halloween costumes? Please share them below.

– Melanie Figueroa


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