7 Easy Last-Minute Bookish Halloween Costumes

October 26, 2017
Casey Nugent
Riveted Editorial Board

Confession time: I’m bad at Halloween. I never plan ahead and it always sneaks up on me. I’m the girl who wears jeans and a t-shirt to the Halloween party and then tries to make up a costume around it — oh, yeah, I’m totally Jessica Jones, haven’t you watched it yet?

If you’re like me, you’re probably a little concerned about the upcoming holiday. What are you going to wear? How are you going to stand out next to your friends and their super elaborate Justice League get up? Well, no worries friends, because I have a solution for you! Super-easy, super-cheap, super-last-minute bookish Halloween costumes. All of these involve things you either already own, or that you can make in an hour or less.

Because this is Riveted, where YA fiction is our addiction, I pulled my inspiration from YA literature. This is great because obviously, we all love YA, but also because these characters are mostly regular, every day teens. Easy! Check out my list for some inspiration, and let me know your go-to YA costumes in the comments! And if you wind up using one of these ideas, definitely post it, and definitely tag Riveted in it! We love to see you guys in costume. Happy Halloween!

Andie — The Unexpected Everything


The Unexpected Everything is one of my All-Time Favorite Books, and it’s super simple to put together a classic Andie look. If you’re trying to be more like the cover, white denim shorts and a patterned tank-top are the way to go. That said, you can probably get away with any shorts, any tanks, and a pair of sunglasses (if you’re in a place where it gets chilly on Halloween, throw a pair of tights on under your shorts!) The key to this look (to many of these looks, actually) is props! Grab a few stuffed dogs — you can fashion fake leashes out of rope or construction paper — to really get Andie in her dog-walking element. If you’re feeling crafty, make yourself a Representative Walker campaign sign or pin, or create a fake CB Mcallister book jacket to wrap around a book you own (plus, then you have an excuse to bring a book and sneak some reading in!)

Lara Jean — To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before


Lara Jean is also a person with Halloween anxiety, so I find her immensely relatable. She’s very chic and pastel — a cute sweater, a black circle skirt, knee-high socks, and some boots should do the trick. Bring some cookies to the party (real or fake!), or make your own “To All The Boys” letters — you can even pass them around the party if you’re feeling quirky. Bonus points if you get your own Peter K to come with!

Dimple — When Dimple Met Rishi


Dimple wears a lot of well-described, traditional Indian clothing, like kurtas, in the book. If you own that, fantastic! If you don’t own that, grab some jeans and a t-shirt. If you’re trying to match the cover, you can’t go wrong with a bright splash of orange. If you’re more trying to channel Dimple’s character, I’d go with something tech-y, or maybe a Stanford t-shirt. If you’re feeling fun, grab a plain t-shirt you’re not in love with and create your own InsomniaCon swag! Grab and iced coffee to complete the look (which, as Dimple proved, can double as a weapon against anyone trying to sneak some of your candy.)

Tash — Tash Hearts Tolstoy

Tash Hearts Tolstoy

Tash’s outfits aren’t described a lot in Tash Hearts Tolstoy, but this is a great chance to make your own Unhappy Families swag. You truly can’t go wrong with a little fabric paint or permanent markers and a plain t-shirt. I recommend aiming for an old-timey font for the title, and maybe a little drawing of something — maybe a Scrabble board in honor of Unhappy Families most famous scene? If you’re not feeling super crafty, print out a fake Anna Karenina jacket to wrap around a book you own (or bring Anna Karenina if you’re a Tolstoy nut like Tash), wear a bookish t-shirt, and sling a camera bag around your shoulder. Done!

Any of the Shadowhunters — The Mortal Instruments

city of ashes

The key to this costume? Black. Lots of black. Black jeans, black t-shirt, black leather jacket (if you have one). If you’ve got some body paint and a steady hand (or an artistic friend or parent) try drawing a couple runes on your arm to really get it down. Or if you’re like me and have no artistic talent, print some out from the internet and pin them to a long-sleeved undershirt. This is also a great go-to group costume if you have a few friends who are last-minute kids too.

Any Scythe — Scythe
Scythe Cover

Do you have a big, solid colored blanket? The type of blanket you could tie creatively enough for it to look like a cloak? Yes? Well congratulations, you just passed your Scythe training! Bonus points if you give yourself a cool Scythe name.


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