Well, it’s happened. It’s 7:00 p.m. on All Hallows Eve and you, my friend, still don’t have a Halloween costume, let alone the literary Halloween costume you'd planned for and dreamed of weeks ago. What you do have are costume party invitations blowing up your smartphone and an Uber en route — definitely not the time to worry about how you let this happen (but seriously, what is it you’ve been doing all week?) After all, Halloween is usually a book-lover's dream. It’s basically the only day of the year you can dress up like Elizabeth Bennet or Hermione Granger and go out in public without everyone wondering if you’re suffering through some sort of existential crisis. What’s a book-loving, Halloween-celebrating gal to do?
Well, first, you better start heating up that glue gun, because there’s no time to waste — enter the last-minute literary Halloween costume. Then you’ll need to gather some staple items: I’m partial to the monochrome tee, nondescript pants, and whatever random junk you happen to have lying around; you’d be surprised what a well-read mind and a little DIY-inspiration can throw together in a mere 300 seconds.
Here are eight literary Halloween costumes that you can literally put together in five minutes or fewer. You definitely won’t make the best dressed list this year, but if you keep your expectations low and your head held high you might just have a really fun night, with minimal assembly required.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Dig out that old Catholic school uniform you've been saving all these years for absolutely no reason and eyeliner a quick little lightning bolt across your forehead. If you can find a wall that vaguely resembles Platform 9¾ to stand in front of all night, you'll really be in business.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
See what I did there? You've never had so much fun with the French Revolution. Although the double entendre of "tail" might be a bit overkill.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Part Halloween costume, part drinking game. Feel free to take a small sip every time a fellow party-goer makes a Pretty Little Liars reference — just remember to keep it classy, like Hester.
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Technically this would be "Catcher of the Rye" but a five minute Halloween costume is hardly the place to quibble over semantics.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Overalls? Check. Straw hat? Check. Now just find a fence to whitewash all night and you're set. Easy peasy.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
"Tell me about the rabbits George." In my house, you can basically glue anything to a shirt and call it a costume. Plus who doesn't have catnip mice and old Ken dolls lying around...? Pet rabbit optional.
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Just in case all this costume construction made you hungry, and you had to resort to eating the rye bread.
Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
Bonus points for not getting kicked out of Lowe's when they realized you were not, in fact, going to be purchasing paint based on all those samples you just snagged. Double bonus points for every time you turn a Valspar shade name into a dirty joke. Don't forget to bite your lip every once in awhile.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
If all else fails and you find yourself party-bound and costume-less on Halloween night, just make a brief appearance and then run away really quickly. Later you can tell everyone you were Gone Girl. Extra credit if you run away in the middle of a story your arch frenemy is telling.
Images: shirleyanayss/Instagram; E.Ce Miller (8); giphy