Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Top Ten Literary Halloween Costumes

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme started on the Broke and the Bookish blog.
They set the topic, we make the lists. Visit their site to see more on this topic

One would think that scouring the Internet for pictures of Halloween costumes inspired by literature would be a simple task.  Well, alright, that part was pretty easy.  Picking ten of them to highlight in a blog entry?  Not so much.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I began my “research” for this post. It became clear very early on that I would need to develop some kind of criteria to help me judge what costumes were and were not worthy of inclusion. In the end, I decided to make up categories and award the best homemade costume in each category with a spot on my Top Ten.

Best Costume Inspired by a Book Cover
Goodnight Moon

… like I even needed to say the title.  Show me one person who didn’t recognize this costume, and I will show you a liar.

I love the amount of detail in this costume.  I mean, just look at that mantle clock and the little socks hanging over the fire.

You know the best thing about it, though?  The best part is that the wearer had to get her arm involved to truly capture the essence of the book.  The costume wouldn’t work without the window.

It is “Goodnight Moon,” after all.  You gotta have the moon.

Best Costume Based on a Movie Based on a Book
Sauron from The Lord of the Rings

“One does not simply trick-or-treak down that block…” – Imaginary person from the next street over.

There is no shortage of LotR costumes out there.  Most people go for the hobbits, elves, or Istari (which is nerd for “wizard”). Not this guy. No, no, no. Why settle for those wimpy characters when you could be the Lord of the Rings himself?

And when it comes to dressing as someone so ubiquitous and powerful, you gotta do it right. Sure, you could probably figure out how to make a huge, fiery eye costume, but why do that when you can sport a set of armor and a gigantic mace? If I saw this guy on the sidewalk, I’d run screaming in the opposite direction.

Best Unintentionally Terrifying Children’s Costume
Sam I Am from Green Eggs and Ham

Not to get too sentimental here, but this costume reminds me of my childhood. Specifically, it reminds me of this one time I stared at the cover of The Cat in the Hat for so long that the Cat’s face began to creep me out. (It still does to this day, a little.)

A similar thing happens when I look at this picture.

Don’t get me wrong—I love this costume. It’s simple and colorful, and the use of props is inspired.

There is just something about it, though…

Best Pet Costume
The Headless Horseman from Sleepy Hollow

I usually have a question for people who dress their pets up for fun (Why?), but I’m going to look past that right now. It doesn’t make much sense to me, but it makes marginally more sense for Halloween. Right?

I was hesitant about including animal costumes on the list after viewing many, many pictures of them. Most I found to be mediocre and unimaginative. The Headless Dogman puts them all to shame.

If I had a dog, a desire to dress it up in human clothing, and the skills to MacGyver this costume together, I’d use it year round! Just replace that jack-o-lantern with an Easter Egg or a Christmas ornament, and you can add a hint of the macabre to any holiday!

Best Costume of a Pet
Fluffy, Hagrid’s three-headed dog from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Nothing is worse than running into someone else with the same costume on Halloween. Like LotR, there is an endless supply of Potter-inspired costumes out there. I would hazard a guess that, at one point or another, someone has dressed up as literally every character mentioned in all seven books. Go ahead and try to prove me wrong.

This kid saw all those costumes and said, “Mom, could you please cut the heads off of these two stuffed dogs? I have a plan.”

I bet the seven Hermiones that this kid passed while trick-or-treating are totally jealous. I am.

Best Use of Fabric from the Clearance Bin 
Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus

I think this space-themed fabric was made specifically with “The Friz” in mind. What else could you possibly use it for?

Everything about this costume is perfect. It’s not enough to just dress like a character on Halloween, you have to become the character. And this woman is Ms. Frizzle, no two ways about it.

It makes me want to jump on the first school bus I see and scream, “Come on, Bus!  Do your stuff!” at the top of my lungs. But then I’d probably be arrested.

Best Monochromatic Costume
Peter Pan’s shadow from Peter Pan

Again, I am awarding a costume for sheer originality. Who would have ever thought to dress as Peter Pan’s shadow, and not Peter Pan himself? Why am I not clever enough to think of these awesome ideas?!

In my imagination, this person has a twin who is dressed as Peter Pan and chases the shadow all over the neighborhood. How cool would that be?  (To watch, I mean. It sounds exhausting to actually do.)

Still, the shadow is pretty awesome on its own.

This twin definitely got the better part of the deal.

Best Use of That Cardboard Box That’s Been Sitting in Your Living Room for a Week but You Didn’t Know What to Do with until Now
Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

This is one of those costumes that makes me want to kick myself for not being clever enough to come up with it on my own. I mean, come on! Brilliant!

So stinking cute. I can’t handle it.

The best part? Even though the house takes the cake, the costume still works without it. The girl would still be recognizable as Alice and still be super adorable. It’s a win-win!

Best Supporting Costume
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries

I am the younger of two siblings, so I know from experience that Little Watson over here is fine with playing second banana to his big brother. Sure, he is practically being used as a walking, talking prop, but he’s thrilled just to be included!

Seriously though, I love seeing children dress like adults. What is more hilariously adorable than miniature bowler hats and suitcases?

Elementary, my dear Reader. Nothing.

Best Use of Visual Trickery
The Invisible Man from H. G. Wells’ The Invisible Man

This guy took the “trick” out of trick-or-treating and ran with it. And, oh, what treat his costume is! Zing!

You know, most of my DIY projects don’t come out the way I pictured them in my mind. Not so with this guy. He had vision and worked tirelessly to ensure that his wife made it come out just so! Zing?

You have to take two or three looks at this costume to figure out how it works. The picture doesn’t capture the full effect, either. The head lights up and moves! How cool is that?

So there you have it—Ariel’s Top Ten literary Halloween costumes. Did you have any odd, nostalgic moments when viewing any of them, or am I alone on that front? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in a comment below!


P.S.  The majority of the pictures included in this post were found at www.costume-works.com/literary_costumes.


  1. That is such a cool topic - I love the Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland costumes!

  2. Ms. Frizzle is my favorite --she really captured the whole look perfectly! Also Sauron and Sherlock are amazing! I have to say my favorite part of this was reading your commentary, Ariel --too funny!

    My TTT was something similar: <a href="http://theartistlibrarian.blogspot.com/2015/10/top-dream-bookish-cosplays-top-tuesday.html>top book characters I'd want to cosplay.</a>