8 Last-Minute Literary Costumes You Can Create for $0

It’s October 31, you’ve completely forgotten that brilliant costume idea you had back in July, and your friend’s Halloween party starts in an hour.

Luckily, you don’t have to look too far or break the bank for a clever costume, especially if you’re a book lover. Here are eight literary ensembles you can pull together using items you already own so you can head to that party with all of the confidence of this guy:


A from <em>Every Day</em> by David Levithan

A from Every Day by David Levithan

Every day, A wakes up in a new body. This Halloween, A is waking up in yours! Affix a name tag to any outfit with your age in days (for example, if you’re seventeen, write “Day 6,205”), and you’re good to go.

Wizards trying to blend in with muggles from Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

Wizards trying to blend in with muggles from Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

The magical community has spells for everything from unlocking doors to animating statues, but they’ve never quite mastered the art of muggle fashion. Get dressed as you usually would, then get creative with your accessories. That furry vest you got on sale but never know when to wear? That necklace your grandmother gave you that goes with absolutely nothing? Don them proudly. Accio fashion police!

Lyra from His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

Lyra from His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

No matter his form, with Pantalaimon by her side, Lyra is instantly recognizable. Identify yourself as someone from Lyra’s world with a dæmon of your own. Pick your favorite stuffed animal and bring them along as your companion for the evening. Does your dæmon look like an old teddy bear? A stuffed Mickey Mouse? Only you can answer that. Just don’t let anyone else touch it.

Dimple from <em>When Dimple Met Rishi</em> by Sandhya Menon

Dimple from When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Dimple’s style is low-key—she’s got more important things to worry about than her clothes! Her signature accessory, though, is an iced coffee. Okay, so this costume might set you back $3.75, but it also doubles as a defense if, like Dimple, you need to fend off a creeper by throwing your beverage at him.

Eleanor from <em>Eleanor & Park</em> by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

This book takes place in the ’80s, but there are no Pretty in Pink–inspired gowns here. Eleanor’s look is as distinctive as she is: jeans, a button-down, and a blazer, with a tie around her hair or wrist. Bonus points for sharing a set of headphones with your sweetie.

Residents of the Glade from <em>The Maze Runner</em> by James Dashner

Residents of the Glade from The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Thomas and Teresa don’t have a lot of options when it comes to fashion (and they have, er, bigger problems). Take plain, unmarked clothing, roll it around in the backyard for a while, and voilà! You, too, have survived the Maze. To complete the ensemble, add a utility belt or a backpack with clasps in the front.

Matt from <em>A Short History of the Girl Next Door</em> by Jared Reck

Matt from A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck

One of the best scenes in this book takes place on Halloween, and it comes with both advanced- and beginner-level costume options. The advanced level is what Matt actually wears as a mama bald eagle (don’t ask): a white beanie, a brown sweater with feathers attached, and bright yellow skinny jeans. It’s . . . a lot. If that’s too much for you, just fill a trick-or-treat bag with Matt and Tabby’s favorite candy, Nerds.

Julia from <em>Julia Vanishes</em>and <em>Julia Defiant</em> (the Witch’s Child series) by Catherine Egan

Julia from Julia Vanishesand Julia Defiant (the Witch’s Child series) by Catherine Egan

All this costume assembling can be overwhelming, even if you’re just shopping in your closet. Don’t feel like going to the party after all? Then you’re “going” as Julia, who can—surprise!—vanish from her surroundings. You’re there in spirit, right?

What is your last-minute costume idea? Tell us @GetUnderlined!


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  1. sarinafield

    This page-turning fantasy thriller introduces Julia—a thief and spy for hire. Witchcraft may be illegal in her world, but magic still rules. sweet valentines day gifts for her 2020

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    Reply 0 Replies Feb 2, 2020