YA Literary Halloween Costumes I Want To See

A List of YA & Children’s Lit Characters I’d Love To See Brought To Life This Halloween!

Effie Trinket Claudia Kishi

by REBECCA, October 30, 2013

Happy almost-Halloween! There really is nothing quite as awesome as cruising a Halloween party and seeing recognizable characters from your favorite YA books. Since I feel this way, it will be no surprise that two of my favorite times dressing up have been YA characters. Let’s start with them.

1. Harriet, from Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet the Spy Louise Fitzhugh Harriet the Spy

I went as Harriet junior or senior year of college—Tessa, do you remember which? It’s such an easy costume: red hoodie, jeans, black sneaks, glasses, and the notebook and you’re set. Then all you need to do is wander around the party writing snarky and hilarious things about people in your notebook and hope nobody “accidentally” reads it and shuns you as a result. When I was Harriet, Tessa and I wrote drunken hilarious things back and forth to each other, such as haiku about how hungry we were. It’s a classic, but it’s never old.

2. Your greaser of choice, from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders S.E. Hinton the outsiders

Two years ago, my sister and I went as greasers, complete with an elaborate sororal backstory about our dead parents and our deadbeat third sister who wouldn’t come to the rumble—ahem, party. Another super easy, but very recognizable costume. All you need are some too-short jeans, any color t-shirt, a jean or leather jacket, and some hair product. Blondes who hate hair product, never fear: though Matt Dylan is decidedly brunet, in the book, Dally is “towheaded,” and his hair flies free. Mofo is so badass he doesn’t even need hair grease to be known as a greaser.

3. Claudia Kishi, from The Baby-sitters Club books by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club Ann M. Martin  Claudia Kishi

Claudia was always my favorite of the club. A junk food addict who loves fashion—what possible better costume? Eating ALL the candy will be totally in character for Claudia. This is a great one because there are so many amazing outfit descriptions to choose from throughout the series. As long as you rock a long, brown side-pony and graphic earrings, any YA fan worth their salt will recognize you in a hot second. And if they can’t, they’re not worth the newsprint their Baby-Sitters Club books are printed on. This heroic blogger celebrates all of Claudia’s amazing outfits, so take your pick and start crafting your clay animals for earrings now!

4. Effie Trinket, from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

katniss-effie-reaping Effie trinket

Why on earth would I want to dress as Katniss when I could go as Effie! No, obviously there will be a lot of Katnisses running around shooting stuff this year, and it’ll be awesome. But if I had planned ahead at all, I would totally be going as Effie this year. Really, all you’d need is a loud-color outfit, a bunch of fake flowers and a scarf you could make a collar with, and a dab hand with the ole maquillage. Love it.

5. Miss New Mexico, from Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty Queens Libba Bray

When the plane carrying 50 beauty queens crashes on an island, the contestants are all wearing their formal dresses. They end up in various stages of tatterdemalion from the crash, not to mention blood-stained and bedraggled. But the best is poor Miss New Mexico:

“‘My head kinda hurts,’ Miss New Mexico said. Several of the girls gasped. Half of an airline serving tray was lodged in her forehead, forming a small, blue canopy over her eyes.

‘What is it?’ Miss New Mexico checked to make sure her bra straps weren’t showing” (8).

So, you will have the delight of ripping and bloodying a dress, making yourself a New Mexico sash, and finding some way to seem like you’ve been impaled with an airline tray. I can’t think of a better way to spend Halloween!

6. Eloise, from Eloise by Kay Thompson and Hillary Knight

Eloise Kay Thompson Eloise Kay Thompson

A short, pleated black skirt, black suspenders, white knee socks, black Mary Janes, and a white short-sleeved shirt with puffed sleeves. Oh, and pink bloomers (don’t forget the bloomers). Messy blonde hair and a red bow. A willingness to make a mess and be adorable and spunky while doing it. Find those things, along with your “Inner Resources” and an encyclopedic knowledge of the Plaza hotel, and you can own Eloise this Halloween.

7. Weetzie Bat, from Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block

Weetzie Bat Francesca Lia Block

Weetzie has a “bleach-blonde flat-top,” “pink Harlequin sunglasses, strawberry lipstick, earrings dangling charms, and sugar-frosted eyeshadow.” She wears “old fifties taffeta dresses covered with poetry written in glitter,” “dresses made of kids’ sheets printed with pink piglets or Disney characters,” “sunglasses and leather, jewels and skeletons, rosaries and fur and silver.”

8. Nancy Drew, from Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew Carolyn Keene Nancy Drew Carolyn Keene

With delightfully high-waisted clothing in style right now, I feel sure that it wouldn’t be too hard to find some 1930s-ish Nancy Drew garb, especially if you can capture her penchant for acid greens. Now, just carry a flashlight and you’re good to go.

9. Max, from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak Max Where the Wild Things Are

I would lose my shit with delight if someone showed up as Max! I don’t think it’d be that hard, actually. You’d need long underwear and some of those wolf slippers. Then you could make the head piece with ears pretty easily. And you can make yourself a crown to put on halfway through the party when you get crowned king of the wild things!

10. Will Grayson & will grayson, from Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson John Green David Levithan Will Grayson, Will Grayson John Green David Levithan (get it?)

This is a costume à deux. It’s subtle, so you might need name tags, but if you meet anyone who recognizes you right away you know they’re a friend for life. Really, you could wear any combo of jeans, tee-shirt, and sneakers, so long as you have Will Grayson and will grayson, respectively, on you. If it helps, though, Will Grayson is tall, with short, messy hair, and in the play, the character based on him wears his uniform: khakis, and a short-sleeve plaid button-down, both of which are very wrinkled, and black Converse. will grayson is small and blond and wearing a tee-shirt with a picture of a robot made out of duct tape on it, which says robotboy when the twain meet. You could add a Tiny Cooper, if you’re a threesome.

HAPPIEST OF YA HALLOWEENS TO YOU, MY FRIENDS! If you’re dressing in any kind of YA-related costume, tell me about it in the comments!



  1. Margalit

     /  November 2, 2013

    Fantastic ideas! Will Grayson and will grayson would be amazing. And while I hate to admit it, I have a 1980s-vintage magenta silk suit that looks shockingly like Effie’s. Maybe next year…

  2. These are all such good ideas! You and J are so adorbs. I think your Harriet was junior year? But I am just guessing, honestly.

    I did a Marceline the Vampire Queen costume this year – the most creative part was making her bass out of cardboard, though.

  3. Omigosh, yes! These are the best costume ideas ever! And so outside-the-box compared to all the usual Harry Potter costumes (which are also great, just more… expected).

    • Thanks, ladies! Yeah, I love a good, easy round-specs-and-drawn-on-scar as much as the next person, but this year I WANT MORE!

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