literary halloween costumes

Going trick or treating as Harry Potter, Madeline, or Gandalf? If your Halloween costume is inspired by the pages of a book this year, NYPL wants to see and share! Tweet or Instagram a photo of you or your child wearing a literary Halloween costume @nypl with the hashtag #nyplhalloween, and we’ll share some of our favorites with our followers! 

A Literary Halloween

I’m kicking off the Halloween weekend in a very nerdy way with a LIBRARY PARTY. It is every bit as exciting as you think (as long as you’re thinking “Super!”). And it involves a book swap. 

However, this means I need to somehow come up with a book-related costume by this evening. Because of my lack of funds, the costume needs to be something I can put together quickly, cheaply, and preferably with items I already own. Here are some ideas I have so far:

1.  Zombie Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen. This costume seems effectively literary and Halloweeny, and while I’m certain I could whip up a decent Zombie Face on a limited budget, I don’t have any empire-waisted gowns that need ruining. Plus, I’m short, chubby and blonde, and Keira Knightley is none of those things. 

2.  Mary Poppins from the children’s book series by P.L. Travers (but really, let’s face it, from the 1964 Walt Disney feature film). I do actually own a legitimate Mary Poppins umbrella that I, uh, found. It has a parrot on the end of it and I’m pretty sure it’s meant for children. I found it. 

3.  Goosebumps by R.L. Stine. Yes, I know there are LOTS of Goosebumps books and they’re not just called Goosebumps. I grew up in the nineties and I follow R.L. Stine on Twitter, okay? I know things. But I think it would be rad to make a costume depicting an ENTIRE SERIES OF BOOKS. Or maybe just the cover of a book, my personal choice being the Goosebumps classic, Say Cheese and Die. 

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For this, I’ll need a skeleton costume (don’t have one), an apron (nope), and a spatula (yes!). Or if I get desperate, I can just carry around a camera and stare ominously at people and randomly yell, “One picture is worth a thousand screeeeeeamssss muahhahaha!”

4.  Bess Marvin from the Nancy Drew series. Though often overlooked in favor of LITTLE MISS PERFECT MURDER-SOLVING NANCY FUCKING DREW, the famous girl detective actually has two very helpful BFFs, a lesbian, I mean, tomboy named George and a fat girl named Bess. (Reeeeeal imaginative, Carolyn Keene). Bess is blonde, chubby, obsessed with food, perpetually on a diet and kinda dumb. I’ve always related to her. I don’t know why. For this costume, I would stay in my regular clothes but I would write down the calorie count for everything I ate (a lot) and look confused when trying to add it all up. 

5. Running With Scissors by Augusten Borroughs. Carry around a pair of scissors. Run with them sometimes (carefully). 

6. AP Stylebook circa 2010. Walk around trying to convince people that website is actually two words and email should have a hyphen in it. “It’s Web site, you turds! Capitalize that ‘W’. Come on. Show a little respect. E-mail will always have a hyphen. It should be 'e’ HYPHEN mail. There we go. Isn’t it nice to think how some rules will never change? Hey! You! CELL PHONE IS TWO WORDS, YOU SON OF A BITCH.”

I’ll probably just bring scissors. If you have any more ideas, let me know. What would you be for a literary costume party?