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Halloween Costume Ideas for Book Lovers

For book lovers everywhere, Halloween is an excuse to dress up as your favorite character and—even if just for a night—bask in the fictional world an author has created (while perhaps enjoying some "trick or treat" chocolate in the process). That's why we've compiled a list of some of the most recognizable literary characters, along with advice and links to help you put the costume together.

Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler

Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, from Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, are one of the most widely recognized literary couples. From Rhett's infamous Frankly my dear line to Scarlett's irresistible Southern belle charm, their love will go down in history as being as volatile as the war-torn lands burning down around them.

You can get as detailed and creative with this one as you want, and for the lady, Scarlett's infamous "curtain dress" is obviously a great choice. For the bookworms who have read Gone With the Wind, you'll remember that Scarlett wore a very special green dress to visit Rhett in jail. What made it special, of course, was that she made it from the moss-green curtains that were an O'Hara family heirloom.

Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler Costume Ideas
Here are our Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler costume ideas. Sources: Fun World Women's Gone with The Wind-Scarlet O'Hara Costume, 1920's Movie Star Moustache

Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale

The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Hester Prynne is the highly recognizable protagonist of Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, The Scarlet Letter, and is a woman facing social condemnation at the hands of her Puritan neighbors. After believing her husband to be dead, Hester finds comfort in the arms of the local minister Arthur Dimmesdale and bears his daughter, Pearl. Because Hester has no husband with her, she is imprisoned, convicted of the crime of adultery, and sentenced to be forced to wear a prominent scarlet letter "A" for the rest of her life.

To make Hester Prynne come alive for Halloween haunts, all you need is a puritan costume and a way to put the letter "A" on it—just like Hester Prynne was forced to do. Of course, a sewn red letter would look most realistic, but if you're in a rush, a letter made of red paper or tape can work, as well. For the minister's costume, any black robe with a cross hanging from it will get the idea across.

Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale Costume Ideas
Check out these costume ideas for Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale. Sources: California Costumes Pilgrim Woman Settler, Priest Shirt Costume

Lisbeth Salander

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Created by Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson, Lisbeth Salander—the punk protagonist of the Millennium Series—is one of literature's most captivating tattooed women. As a lead character, alongside journalist Mikael Blomkvist, Lisbeth fights, blackmails and researches her way into capturing several sexual predators, and does so while being described as a pale, skinny young woman with short hair and a pierced nose and eyebrow. She also rides a motorcycle and doesn't forget any injustices done to her.

Among several other tattoos, her most famous is the dragon tattoo that runs across her entire back, so for costume—this detail will need to be improvised. While short wigs are available to make her punk hairstyle doable, you can find a collection of magnetized or stick-on jewelry to make the facial piercings (except obviously without the pain). A spiked collar and leather jacket will complete the Lisbeth Salander look, and of course, any shirt or dress with a dragon on it. For anyone wanting a truly detailed costume, temporary tattoos of dragons are a good idea.

Lisbeth Salander Costume Ideas
To dress up like Lisbeth Salander, check out these ideas. Sources: Large Dragon Temporary Tattoos, Choker Collar Necklace

Katniss Everdeen

The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

When Suzanne Collins created Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, she not only created a memorable image of the young rebel archer—she also created a great look for a Halloween costume for any young bookwork flying solo on Halloween. As the leader of the rebellion against the Capitol, Katniss is a great literary character to commemorate and would be widely recognized by readers of all ages, particularly if you incorporate the three-finger salute throughout your night of haunting.

Katniss stands apart with her practical braided ponytail and archery set. Her costume varies throughout the books and movies but remains mostly leather jackets and knee-high boots over various apocalyptic basic T-shirts and cargo pants. Her signature Mockingjay pin also completes the look and can be purchased online.

Katniss Everdeen Costume Ideas
Here are some costume ideas for Katniss Everdeen. Sources: The Hunger Games Deluxe Katniss Costume, The Hunger Games Movie Mockingjay Prop Rep Pin
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