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7 Literary Halloween Costumes for You & the Boo

Katarina KapetanakisComment

Halloween is here, and like everyone else on the internet, we’re super stoked. Like every year, we’re trying to decide what costumes to don before we venture out into the streets in pursuit of candy. (You’re absolutely never too old to beg for free candy). But even if you aren’t planning on going trick-or-treating, you’re going to want a killer costume. Don’t you want to be the guy that everybody talks about for the rest of the evening with awe? Of course you do. That’s what we’re here for.

So how do you show off your literary prowess while also showing off your costume skills? Leave that to us. (Note: In case you want to get into couple’s costumes with your significant other or bestest friend, each of these includes a “For You & The Boo” section, for some tips on what your costume could be paired with. I chose “boo” because it is both a term of endearment and a thing ghosts say. Get it? It’s festive.)

1. Captain Ahab

Two words: Peg leg!!! How great would it be to walk around your party dressed as a grungy, unkempt old sailor with a missing leg and a terrible attitude? Imagine the beard, the great old age makeup you could do, and the props! (One word: harpoon.) You could go around all night asking partygoers to help you find the Great White Whale, although this could go from entertaining to annoying very quickly if you overact.

For You & the Boo: Convince your best friend or significant other to dress as Moby Dick (literal or figurative), and then tie a rope to each other. Maintain the dead but horrified look on your face as your partner moves angrily through the waves of partygoers.

2. Julius Caesar

Take a bed sheet, wrap it around you like a toga, find some laurels to place on your head, and then go crazy with the fake blood. (Feel free to make your own, and let me know if it works; I’m still looking for some good fake blood recipes). Smear that all over your face, your toga, your arms, just go to town. If you’re really good with things like spirit gum and prosthetics, add some wounds. Then walk around the party all night, stumbling and wide-eyed, and clutch the person next to you and moan, “Et…tu…Brute?” Then collapse. That’s the fun.

For You & the Boo: Get your best friend or significant other to dress as Mark Antony and have them recite the “Friends! Romans! Countrymen!” speech after you die.

3. The Snow Queen

What’s cooler than being cool? Being ice cold.

Okay, okay…

The only problem with this costume is that you could be confused with Elsa from Frozen, but if you’ve got any anxiety about being mistaken for her, you should let it go. (I know what I did. Sorry I’m not sorry.) All you’ve got to do is go all out on this costume: White dress instead of blue, use a muff, wear one of those Russian fur hats, (you can definitely use faux fur, as long as it looks convincing. You think an ice queen cares about animal welfare? She does not.) Emphasize the ice aspect of the snow queen, and maybe carry around a mirror with the word “Eternity” on it. Then when people ask you to sing, you can bash them over the head with your prop. Everybody wins.

For You & the Boo: The Snow Queen has no boo. She is the Snow Queen; her heart is made of ice. So if you must use this for a couples costume, your boo must dress as an ice shard.

4. Jay Gatsby

Dress in a white suit and stare yearningly out of a window for the entire party. That’s it, that’s the costume.

For You & the Boo: Your partner can come dressed as the Green Light (use a morph suit or get really creative with cardboard), and you can follow it around all night.

5. Alternative Jay Gatsby

Dress in a stylish swimsuit. Apply fake blood to your head. Come to the party soaking wet, then play dead for the rest of the evening.

For You & the Boo: The only acceptable companion costume to this is a Nick Carraway, preferably one who cries a lot and monologues the pain of losing Gatsby to anybody who will listen. Only extremely self-confident boos can be trusted with this role.

6. Sherlock Holmes

Sure, he’s a literary character beaten to death by the costume industry, but nevertheless there have been some incredibly inventive variations of this costume done by cosplayers that range from Benedict Cumberbatch’s adaptation to steampunk Holmes! You don’t have to feel trapped with the old deerstalker cap and pipe, but if you feel like using them this Halloween, you do you. If you want to get a feel for how the actual Sherlock Holmes would act and dress, you could always purchase The Legend of Sherlock Holmes from Lanternfish Press, which is coincidentally on sale. (Subtle advertising, I know.)

For You & the Boo: I’ve found Watson makes a good costume companion to Holmes, wouldn’t you say? If not, Irene Adler is always an excellent choice.

7. Dracula

Yes, yes, we know. Dracula has become so overdone and his once-terrifying tale of bloodsucking monstrosities in the heart of sexually repressed Victorian London has been cheapened to a bad toupee and a cape. But never fear! You can easily bring back the terror that once was, by going back to the original book’s descriptions. I’m talking hairy palms, red eyes, receding hairline, creepy fangs. That kind of stuff. Carry jars of dirt with you, as a vampire needs soil from its homeland to survive in another part of the world. Eat some spiders in front of people. If you’ve got a large dog, take him along for a bonus prop as a child of the night. When he howls, say “The children of the night! What music they make!” in your best Transylvanian accent.

For You & the Boo: This could go either way. You could convince your boo to dress as Mina Murray, Victorian dress and bite marks to match, or you could convince them to dress as Renfield, the bug-eater minion. I’d personally rather have my boo dressed as a helpless minion, but it’s up to you.