Halloween is the perfect time to love up on your literary muses. You can make a sandwich board and go as a book, or pull together some clothes in a nod to your favorite character or a notorious author. Check out the super simple (but totally satisfying) costume ideas below or make up your own. If you’re trick-or-treating with a less literary crowd, bring along the book that inspired your costume to avoid a night of huhs. And if these costumes are still too much trouble, you can always hand out business cards that say “Call Me Ishmael.” We won’t judge. But we would love to see photos!
Frodo (Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkein)
The key to this costume is finding a nice tweedy vest. If you listen to Mumford and Sons, you know the kind I mean. Drape a cape over your shoulders, and go barefoot if you live where it’s still warm. A shiny—so shiny—gold ring finishes the look.
Eleanor and Park (Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell)
This one’s for all those YA-loving coupley couples out there. You can get as crazy as you want with Eleanor, but if you’re short on time, just go for the book-cover version. Find a long red wig, a yellow shirt for you, a blue shirt for him, and some old-school headphones and a Walkman. If you can get your husband to dress up like this, let me know. You’ve got a keeper.
Anastasia Steele (50 Shades of Grey, by EL James)
Sexy black dress + lots and lots of gray paint chips = meta crowd pleasing costume that’s three books in one. Dangle a pair of handcuffs suggestively and you’re done.
Hester Prynne (The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne)
On the other end of the spectrum from Anastasia and Christian, you’ll find Hester Prynne, who suffered a fate as scary as any horror-movie princess. All you need is a long black dress, an A pinned to your chest, and a tight bun that says Puritan, not ballerina.
Arthur Dent (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams)
This is the comfiest costume on the list. You just need some slippers, pajamas, and a robe. Plus, to show everyone in the galaxy you know what’s what, carry a towel.
Amy Poehler (Yes, Please, by Amy Poehler)
Celebrate Poehler’s long awaited first book with a super doable costume. Wear black pants, a white T-shirt, and a chunky bangle on your wrist. Extra points for thrusting your finger in the air all night long.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson)
Grab a psychedelic button-down, the kind of hat that makes you look like you should be fly fishing, and some big ol’ sunglasses. Be sure to dangle a candy cigarette from your mouth.
Offred (The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood)
If you carry a basket while wearing a bright red cape and a strange white hat made of paper, you will haunt your neighborhood the same way this early dystopian novel continues to haunt readers today.
Tomorrow we’ll be talking about the best costumes for kids! What’s the best literary costume you can think of?