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Gettin’ spooky: 11 frightful, literature-inspired Halloween costumes

in Potpourri by

With only a week or so left before Halloween, it’s time to finally decide what you’re going to wear. Need a little more book-related inspiration? Here are 20 of our favorite literary costumes:

Effie from The Hunger Games


There are lots of Hunger Games costumes to choose from (like Katniss or Peeta, obviously), but Effie is definitely the most vibrant. And will probably involve the most face paint.

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies


Sure, you could just go as Elizabeth Bennett or Mr. Darcy, but where’s the fun in that? Spice up your regency-wear with a blood and guts twist.



Gregory Maguire’s re-imagined tale of Oz comes alive in these Elphaba and Galinda costumes.


Edward Gorey


All you’ll need is some dark, old-fashioned clothing and a great printer to be an infamous Gorey illustration.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Veruca Salt & Willy Wonka

Either of these costumes can stand alone—and who wouldn’t want to be the snotty Veruca Salt in her cute red dress?

The Shining

The Shining

You’ll need a friend of similar height and build to pull off the creepy twins from the Shining. And a lot of fake blood.

Sirius Black

Sirius Black

While all your friends go dressed as Harry or Hermione, up your Potter game by dressing as Sirius’ mug shot.

Tris from Divergent


We admit it: this look is all about her awesome chest tattoos.



Be the master of horror this Halloween in a dark suit, white ascot, and raven balanced on your shoulder.

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

Maybe the best couple’s costume of all time.

Miss Havisham from Great Expectations

Mrs. Havisham

Creepy, sad, and a great reason to buy an old wedding dress from the thrift store.

Not inspired yet? Check out our sweet Halloween ideas. Already planning a literary costume? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Rachel Carter grew up surrounded by trees and snow and mountains. She graduated from the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.

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