Last-Minute Literary-Inspired Halloween Costumes

by Julia Seales

I love to plan ahead, but once in a while, I can’t help procrastinating, especially when it comes to the holidays and especially when it comes to Halloween costumes. We've all been there — it's October 30, and the need for a last-minute Halloween costume is real.

I usually start thinking about my Halloween costume at the end of August, but somehow I always end up actually choosing one 30 minutes before going to a Halloween party. I have no idea how this happens, but I’m now an expert at creating memorable last-minute costumes. At this point, even my friends will come to me for costume advice, because they know I can put something clever together in just a few minutes.

Naturally, these costumes are always book-themed because my world revolves around books. As you know from the movie Mean Girls, it’s easy to grab a pair of ears and suddenly become a mouse… duh. But if you love to read, you probably want your Halloween costume to reference your favorites in some way. So, book-lovers, put down the mouse ears: here are some last-minute literary Halloween costumes that will reflect your love of all things literary:

1. Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series

Costume Necessities:

Luna Lovegood Custume, $50, Amazon | Spectrespecs (DIY instructions can be found here), $16, Amazon | A magazine to read upside-down (you can find a Quibbler printout here)

Harry Potter costumes are always my go-to when I'm in a time crunch. After all, they're easily recognizable, fun, and you can usually find plenty of DIY instructions online. Luna Lovegood is so wonderfully unique, and you only need three easily obtained items to pull off this costume. Take five minutes to make the spectrespecs, and you've got a full costume.

2. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series

Costume Necessities:

Black Long Sleeve Shirt, $9, Amazon | Black yoga pants, $18, Amazon

You could craft an extremely elaborate Katniss Everdeen costume involving a bow and arrow, or even one with a girl-on-fire-inspired dress. But let's be real: all you really need in order to be Katniss is a black long-sleeved shirt, black yoga pants, and braided hair (here's a great tutorial for an authentic Katniss-style braid).

3. Tris Prior from The Divergent series

Costume Necessities:

Black Tank Top, $8, Amazon | Black yoga pants, $18, Amazon | A black permanent marker

Speaking of easy YA heroine costumes, Tris Prior from Divergent is another go-to if you need a last minute idea. Simply dress in a black tank top and black pants, and draw on Tris's iconic tattoo (if you're not much of an artist, here's a step-by-step guide on how to draw the tattoo).

4. Violet Baudelaire from The A Series Of Unfortunate Events series

Costume Necessities:

A dress | A ribbon

If you have a gothic-looking dress, that would be perfect for Violet, but really any dress will do — the key to this costume is to tie your hair up with a ribbon, like Violet always does when she's thinking up new inventions. Not only is this costume easy and literary, it's also from a series creepy enough to be worthy of Halloween.

5. Charlotte from Charlotte's Web

Costume Necessities:

Black Tank Top, $8, Amazon | Black yoga pants, $18, Amazon | Eyeliner, eyeshadow, and lipstick

If you're not too frightened by spiders to become one, this is the perfect go-to quick costume. As long as you have black clothing and some basic makeup supplies, you can create the Charlotte costume. Here's an easy YouTube tutorial for a spiderweb makeup look — I recommend writing "some pig" in the web, and you'll be good to go.

6. Arthur Dent From The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

Costume Necessities:

Bathrobe, $33, Amazon | A towel

So you're in a MAJOR time crunch — don't panic. You can become Arthur Dent from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with only two items, a bathrobe and a towel. After all, a towel is the most massively useful thing an insterstellar hitchhiker — and a last-minute costume seeker — can own.

7. Hester Prynne from A Scarlet Letter

Costume Necessities:

A red letter "A", $6, Amazon | A safety pin

Print out a letter "A," pin it to any outfit, and voila — you're Hester Prynne.

8. Kissin' Kate Barlow From Holes

Costume Necessities:

Cowboy hat, $33, Amazon | Red Lipstick, $3, Amazon

Having troubles deciding on a last-minute costume? I can fix that. Kissin' Kate Barlow from Holes is an iconic character with a tragic backstory (Kate and Sam = OTP, am I right?) — all you need is a cowboy hat and some lipstick to become this femme fatale.

Images: Lionsgate (1), Buena Vista Pictures (3), Screen Gems (1), Paramount Pictures (1), Warner Bros (1), Lionsgate (2)