Every Halloween, I find myself in the same struggle. I want a cool, clever costume, but I don’t want to spend a lot (or any) money on something I would have no other occasion to wear. Because of that, I’ve become something of an expert at building costumes out of what I have lying around the house (or can borrow from friends).
If you too struggle with creativity on a budget, here are some ideas that will help get the ball rolling and get you high-fives from any book lovers handing out candy.
1. Nancy Drew
Nancy Drew is the famous girl detective from the series by Carolyn Keene.
Three key pieces: Collared Blouse, Sweater, and Skirt.
Color and style are flexible, but I would recommend keeping it conservative if you can. Flamboyant colors and super short hems don’t exactly scream “Nancy Drew.” Wear your hair down with a headband and carry a magnifying glass to complete the look!
2. Holly Golightly
Truman Capote’s iconic commitment phobic free-spirit from Breakfast at Tiffany’s needs but two things for a complete costume: a little black dress and your best pearls. Put your hair up in a tidy up-do to complete the look. Optional accessories include dark sunglasses, cigarette holder, and orange cat.
3. Effie Trinket
For those of you who don’t know, Effie is the colorful chaperone to District 12 tributes in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series.
There are a couple different ways to do this one, but make-up is the key. Use powder and/or foundation to make your face paler (how pale depends on if you prefer Hunger Games Effie or Catching Fire Effie) and concentrate lip color to the center of your lips, almost creating a heart shape. For the eyes, block out your eyebrows (especially if you have dark ones like me), apply an eyeshadow that compliments your outfit, and stick-on some lashes.
Wear your most flamboyant dress and shoes, and accessorize as you’re able. Nothing is too bright, shiny, or avant-garde for Effie. If you’re okay spending a little, a wig would complete this look, but if not, tease your hair into a respectably Effie-like helmet. She’s constantly changing her hair color, so you have an argument if someone complains to you that “Effie’s not a brunette!” Just remember to accessorize with a fun bow or headband.
4. Linh Cinder
Linh Cinder is the cyborg Cinderella in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. There are two ways to do this costume: the simple way or the more dedicated way.
The Simple Way: Cargo Pants, Gray Tank Top, Work Gloves and Work Boots. Put your hair in a messy ponytail, and use make-up to create a “grease” smudge on your forehead, and some smaller traces on the rest of your face. Carry a wrench to complete the look.
The Dedicated Way: Gray Tank Top, Work Boots, and Cargo Shorts. Messy ponytail, “grease” smudges, & wrench details stay the same. Now, Cinder is a cyborg, with a mechanical left hand and left leg, so if you wear shorts and opt out of the work gloves, use make-up (you might have to spend a little money here, depending on what you have) to transform your real limbs into cybernetic ones, like these Pinterest gems.
1. Hardy Boy
Much like Nancy Drew, Frank and Joe Hardy, from the Hardy Boy series by Franklin W. Dixon, are pretty straight-forward costumes: Khakis/Dress Pants, Collared Shirt, and a Sweater (red for Joe, blue for Frank).
2. Arthur Dent
From The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglass Adams, Arthur Dent might be the most comfortable of all costumes. Simply slip on a pair of pajamas, a bathrobe, and slippers, accessorize with a towel, and you’re good to go. You don’t even have to change to go to bed once you’re done trick-or-treating!
3. Ponyboy Curtis
From The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Ponyboy Curtis is another easy look to pull out of your closet. Worn Jeans, Muscle Shirt, and tennis shoes (preferably Converse) are all you need, just don’t forget the signature Greaser hair. This would be an easy group costume too, as the other Greasers dress with similar simplicity.
4. Bilbo Baggins
There are two looks you can go for if you want to resemble the protagonist of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, depending on what pieces you have in your closet.
Look 1: White button-down shirt with stripes, suspenders, dark pants/capris
Look 2: White button-down shirt, green vest, red jacket, brown pants/capris