9 Literary Halloween Costumes That'll Get You A Bunch of Treats

The nights are drawing in. The leaves are turning. People are starting to spookify their Twitter handles.
Halloween's a-coming, folks.

And what's that? You HAVEN'T got the perfect literary costume to show off your bookishness and originality all at the same time? Don't worry, I've got you covered.

What follows should hopefully be a list of costume ideas that you can put together in pretty much any way you want - if you're one of those uber-creative, artsy people who love nothing more than making brilliance out of cardboard, chicken wire and glue, then there's plenty of opportunity for you to go to town. And if, like me, you stick your fingers together every time you go anywhere near a craft table, there should be a lot of scope for you to make a killer costume without needing to spend hours crying over a sewing machine.

(By the way, I've linked to example costumes rather than including photos, just because I'm not sure about copyright. Any time you need to see some picture references to make a costume, don't forget to check those links!

#1 - Matilda Wormwood (Roald Dahl's Matilda)

To make the classic, 90s film version of Matilda, all you really need is a red ribbon, a cute print dress, and some hairspray. And ... who wouldn't want to dress up as one of the bookwormist bookworms ever to be in a book? It gives you the perfect opportunity to spout lines like "oh yes, I like to read" and "make sure everything you do is so crazy it's unbelievable".

And, if you want to take the character in a different direction entirely (and are willing to do a whole lot of backcombing), have a look at the stage show costume. It channels the more out-there, stuck-in-your-imagination side of being a bookworm amazingly, without making a mockery of it - and it's definitely enough on the crazy side to fit with Halloween and its spookiness.

#2 - Luna Lovegood - (J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series)

Yes, you could go as Hermione. She's a beautiful character and brilliantly bookish ... but everyone goes as Hermione.

The great thing about dressing up as Luna is that her long, blonde hair is really all a lot of people need to identify her. So as long as you've got that (either naturally or with an awesome wig - checking cosplay forums is a great way to find good-quality brands that you can afford), you can go in a billion different directions with the clothes. For something ridiculously easy, you could just wear knitted clothes and say you're on a Hogsmeade weekend; if you want the more traditional look, there's about a billion different people offering Ravenclaw robes online, most of them for under twenty pounds. And for those of you who really do want to stretch your creative muscles, how about making a full lion's head and radish earrings?

Yeah ... maybe that is too much work for three weeks. But it'd be a pretty darn cool costume, right?

#3 - Violet Beauregarde (Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

One has two choices when making a Violet Beauregarde costume. You either go full blueberry, or no blueberry. If you've got a way to make yourself a massive round thing, then it would make a pretty impressive thing to wear - but if not, then you can just go with a blue tracksuit, gum, and maybe some blue face paint across the nose. It's hopefully inventive without being difficult (that was my intention, anyway).

By the way, if anyone reading this knows me IRL and is going trick-or-treating with me ... THIS COSTUME'S MINE. HANDS OFF.

#4 - Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle's Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

You thought this would be all girl characters, didn't you? Well don't panic, fellas - if, for whatever reason, you don't fancy embodying Matilda, Luna, or Violet - I've still got your back! (And FemSherlocks are awesome too. I feel I absolutely must add that you do not need to have ANYTHING in common with the character you're costuming. BE WHOEVER YOU DARN WELL WANT TO BE.)

Anyway, what I love about Sherlock as a costume is that there are almost as many film and TV versions of the character as there are decades since he was written. You could do anything from traditional Basil Rathbone to modern-day Benedict Cumberbatch, and there's certainly no question about whether your character will be recognised.

Here's a gallery of Holmes adaptations through the ages, if you need some inspiration. And here are some costumes.

#5 - Eleanor and Park (Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park)

Rainbow Rowell is heralded by an awful lot of people as the queen of contemporary YA romance. That she may be, but she's definitely the queen of contemporary YA couples costumes. If you fancy an 80's vibe, you could go as Eleanor and Park - or, although I can't find many image references, Levi and Cath from Fangirl would make such a cute costume too. And if you're a Star Wars fan, how about painting Yodas on your cheeks and going as Elena from Attachments?

There are SO MANY Rainbow Rowell options, you guys. Let your imaginations run wild.

#6 - The Cat and His Things (Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat)

You certainly needn't be worried about a lack of inspiration or reference for these costumes. Pinterest is absolutely teeming with various takes on the costume - there are an awful lot of super-cute family ideas, with cat-parents and thing-kids, out there, but I've also seen some more ... sophisticated ones, with net skirts and whiskers drawn on with eyeliner.

It's also a really, really easy costume if you're running out of time, because LOOK AT HOW EASILY YOU CAN BUY IT! There's no shame in shop-bought, y'know.

#7 - Elmer (David McKee's Elmer the Patchwork Elephant)

This one's a cuteness overload, guys. I'm just going to warn you.

Every little kid should wear an Elmer costume at some point in their lives. (I mean, I didn't, but since when have I led by example?) Even if it's just a patchwork apron and a rolled-up tube of patchwork paper for a trunk, it makes for the cutest thing you've ever ever seen. One boy in my nursery school had a full cardboard Elmer head for world book day once, and he was the talk of the playground for weeks.

If you're an adult who wants to join in all the picture-book fun, how about being a grown-up gruffalo? You could even dress up any small people in the vicinity as mice.

#8 - Alice (Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland)

Thanks in part to the amazing Tim Burton adaptation of Alice, you can go super-creepy or super-cute with this costume. Are you going to be the Alice who cried so much she literally made a river, or the Alice who slayed the Jabberwoccy?

I know what I would choose, but I'm not going to suggest that traditional Alice is weak, because ... a) she's not, and b) I think I'd be in the crosshairs of classic lit fans everywhere.

(Also, I've no real clue what the caption means by "classy girls", but LOOK AT THAT CHESHIRE CAT MAKE-UP!  If you or someone you know is capable of doing something as gorgeous as that, you've got to make use of the skill somehow.)

#9 - Effie Trinket (Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games)

Effie is simply fabulous, darling. Why wouldn't you want to dress up as her? 

Ok, FINE. Maybe making a costume like this would be a little difficult. BUT IT'S TOO AWESOME FOR ME NOT TO GET EXCITED REGARDLESS.

*takes deep breath*

In the comments: Do you guys celebrate Halloween? If not, where are you going to wear your glorious costume? If so ... how many sweets do you reckon you can score?

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  1. Ha, I've gone as Hermione and Luna! :) They were both super fun and appeased both my bookish side and my quirky side.

    1. Oh, I can imagine you dressing up as both of those girls - it would be a brilliant, bookish, quirky wonder of a costume, I bet. SEND ME PICTURES!

      (Also, I hope you don't mind that I removed your other comment, seeing as it was a duplicate.)

    2. I'll have to dig them out of my mom's pictures and show you. xD

      No problem! I was having internet problems, so that was probably my bad.

    3. Oh, please please please do!

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