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8 Literary Costume Ideas for Halloween

October 30, 2014 by Nora Nagy

If you are running a Book Club or you simply plan to have some Halloween fun with your classes, organise a fancy dress party in your classes. It's always a hard decision to choose the right costume so help your students by telling them to dress up as a scary character from a novel. Here are some ideas with descriptions.

Captaion Hook in Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie. Illustrated by Manuela Santini. © Helbling Languages

Captain Hook from Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

It's easy to dress up as Captain Hook, you just need a long coat, preferably a colourful one, a big hat with some feathers (the same colour as your coat if you want to be really stylish), a hook on your hand (plastic for safety reasons), and some pointy boots.

 The Sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

If you want to look like the Sheriff of Nottingham, wear a leather or PVC jacket and leather (PCV) trousers with some boots. Sleak your hair back with some hair gel, and put on a fake beard. You can also wear a fake sword and some long gloves.


The Queen of Hearts. Illlustration from Alice's Advenures in Wonderland by Roberto Tomei. © Helbling Languages

The Queen of Hearts from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

You will need a big skirt and a white shirt. Decorate it with playing cards and make a collar from the Queen playing card. Use red lipstick and dark eye shadow to create an angry-looking face.

Pirates from Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Illusrated by Giuseppe Palumbo. © Helbling Languages


A pirate from Treasure Island by R. L. Stevenson

Wear knee-length trousers, a big shabby shirt, an eye-patch and a big hat. Paint a skull and crossbones on your hat. You can also make fake tattoos on your arms. You can also wear some pirate accessories: a bandana, a belt, and a toy parrot on your shoulder.

Dracula in the reader Dracula by Bram Stoker. Illustrated by Agilulfo Russo. © Helbling Languages

Dracula or a vampire from Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula is the classic Halloween character, and probably the easiest the create. Put on a big black cape or coat, make sure that the collar is turned up. You will need some plastic vampire fangs, and paint some blood on your face.

The Headless Horseman in the reader The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. © Helbling Languages

The Headless Horseman from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

The Headless Horseman costume will probably be a tricky one, but it is also great fun Two friends can do this together: one is the Headless Horseman, the other one the horse. Just wear a long coat and cover your head to make it invisible. Make sure you have enough space to breathe! You can also carry a carved pumpkin head around in case they ask where your head is.

The ghost from The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

Don't be any old ghost when you can be the Canterville Ghost. Here is a description from the reader:

"His eyes were as red as burning coals; his long grey hair fell over his shoulders in greasy curls; his clothes, which were of an ancient style, were dirty and ragged, and from his wrists and ankles hung heavy manacles and rusty chains."

So you will a grey wig (or lots of wool), a white blanket or white T-shirt, and don't forget to wear some old chains to be a noisy ghost.

Jekyll and Hyde from The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by R. L. Stevenson

This is a double costume. You can simply create a mask with a really angry and ugly look. Wear a classic jacket and a top hat. When you are Dr Jekyll, you are friendly. When you are Mr Hyde, you can act strangely and be angry. Or you can stick one of the masks to the back of your bead, so one half is Dr Jekyll and the other Mr Hyde.

Miss Havisham.  Illustration by Valentina Russello in the Helbling Reading Great Expectations. © Helbling Languages

Miss Havisham from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Miss Havisham is the old lady from Great Expectations who still wears her wedding gown. Put on a classic wedding dress, an old-fashioned white nightdress or a white skirt with a white blouse. Make it look dirty with some dust. You can also wear a veil, but make sure your hair looks messy under it. Remember, you have been wearing this dress for decades!

Frankenstein's Creation/Monster from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Creation is the probably one of the most classic Halloween characters. He looks ugly with exaggerated body parts and dirty clothes.

Do you have any other literary costumes ideas for Halloween?

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