Halloween Costumes From Young Adult Literature (That Aren’t Twilight or Harry Potter)

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 Gossip Girl, Psycho Killer    

Tired of the usual range of Halloween costumes? Looking for something that your friends may not be cool enough to identify? Want to show off your knowledge of and affection for contemporary young adult literature? Tired of another year dressing like Alice Cullen or Hermione Granger? Check out this list of costume ideas, based on contemporary bestselling YA titles.

Teen Carrie Bradshaw from Candace Bushnell's Sex and the City prequels (The Carrie Diaries, Summer and the City). Teenage Carrie lives in a small Midwestern town in the first book, but she doesn’t let that get in the way of her burgeoning style. Try an 80s look (with puffy, curled hair, colorful leggings and an oversized tee). Carrie makes a fashion statement by scrawling her name in nail polish on a vintage purse - DIY yourself, ideally in a bubbly pink 80s polish colour. In the sequel, she heads to New York for a writer’s workshop and spends way too much of the book wearing scrubs and/or Samantha’s too-big neon blue boots. I say combine scrubs with a pair of over-the-knee boots, and carry around a notebook to show she's a serious writer. When people look at you like you’re nuts, channel Carrie’s 17-year-old hubris, toss your hair, and think about how famous you’re going to be in 10 or so years.

Jane from Lauren Conrad’s LA Candy series. Jane is Conrad’s vaguely autobiographical doppelganger in this series of books that’s sort of about her time starring on The Hills, but slightly not. Jane has long blond hair she twists when she’s nervous, dresses in a modest-yet-stylish manner, and… yeah, basically is exactly like Hills-era Lauren Conrad. Wear a maxi dress, put your hair in long surfer waves, add some cat-eye eyeliner (learn to do both tricks on Conrad’s Beauty Department website), and then put on a mic pack. When people assume you’re dressed as Lauren Conrad, look offended and explain that you are a fictional character partly based on Conrad, but in no way autobiographical. Then start complaining about how Heidi and Spencer – I mean, Madison and Sophie – are out to ruin your life.

Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
Sure to be a popular costume this time next year, beat everyone to the punch and style yourself like the ultimate Hunger Games champion. Katniss has a variety of outfits to choose from. She spends most of the books with her hair in a single, long braid and wearing her issued Hunger Games fatigues. But she makes a splash as The Girl On Fire a few times in fabulous gowns designed by the fabulous Cinna. Cover yourself in red, yellow and orange streamers, do up your fiercest eye shadow (make it look like you’ve used charcoal instead of eyeliner) and carry around a small fan to make the “flames” dance around. Add a mockingjay pin, and you too can be the ultimate victor. (Optional accessory: a cute, devoted blond-haired guy carrying a loaf of bread to gaze at you adoringly).

Blair or Serena from Gossip Girl Psycho Killer by Cecily von Ziegesar.
B and S were popular costumes when the show started up, but their style has been harder to emulate after they stopped wearing school uniforms. Luckily, this new mash-up is here to save the day, re-imagining the Upper East Siders as competitive serial killers. Pull out your old GG schoolgirl costume (kilt, white blouse, necktie, over-the-knee socks, fabulous heels) and cover it with faux-blood. Carry around a blood-stained machete and make sure your makeup is impeccable to complete the costume.

Emma from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This popular new title features a number of great costume ideas, as it’s filled with creeptastic vintage pictures of children with superpowers. Our favourite character, flame-summoning Emma, is pretty easy to achieve. Follow along with any of the helpful YouTube tutorials to get a 1940s hair and makeup look, put on a cute vintage dress (and/or British schoolgirl uniform) and then style up two tennis balls as “balls of fire.” Cover them with gold glitter glue and images of flames. Alternately, grab a pile of glow sticks and wrap them around your wrists. Walk around with your hands together like you’re carrying flames. For added authenticity, make photocopies of the pictures in the book and carry them around in a box to show people your classmates. Pretend like invisible Millard is there with you, too.

Clay from 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This one is a bit macabre, but it’s Halloween, so why not? Teenage boy Clay is given a set of cassette tapes by Hannah, a girl in his class who’s recently committed suicide. Over the course of one night, he follows where the cassettes tell him to go, and comes to learn why she took her own life. Dress like an average teenage boy – Abercrombie or American Eagle oversized tee and jeans. Carry around a cassette deck (easy to find at any thrift stores) and, for extra authenticity, put in a book-on-tape version of the book so it’s like Hannah’s tapes are playing. Creep everybody out *and* make them all want to read the book.

Anna from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
This immediate classic (featuring the dreamiest boyfriend EVER) became a fan favourite by word of mouth. Anna should be pretty simple to capture in costume. One climactic scene takes place with her wearing “strawberry pajamas and an Atlanta Film Festival tee.” Any pair of sloppy PJ pants and an oversized tee would do – think how much comfier you’ll be than the girls dressed as “sexy nurses” or whatever. Add a beret and croissant for the French flair. Speaking of French, Anna’s French isn’t too great, so add a French-English dictionary to ensure you’re ready to be seduced by and English/American French students who happen by.

Please feel free to list other costume ideas in the comments... the more obscure, the better!

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