Hack Your Halloween: Costumes for Library Students

Halloween is Monday! Do you know who (or what) you’ll be?

Halloween costumes (or costumes for any event) can go a long way toward expressing enthusiasm in a school, public, or academic library. Depending on the workplace culture, costumes may even be encouraged in other settings, too. HLS has addressed wardrobe before, but navigating costume choice can be its own challenge.  In a world of costumes designed to shock and titillate, it’s easy to be left stumped when browsing for a work-friendly Halloween costume. Here are four costume categories that are both fun and appropriate (plus a bonus character!) for your at-work Halloween celebration.

Fictional Teachers


A great Ms. Frizzle cosplay Source: Dragon Con 2014 Ms. Frizzle Costume by Jamie under CC BY-SA 2.0

Who among us hasn’t read a book and thought, “Man, I wish I had a teacher like that!” Bring those characters to life this Halloween. A personal favorite of mine is Ms. Frizzle of the Magic School Bus series. To create this costume just make or buy a science-patterned dress, get a red wig (or not, if you’re already a redhead!), and attach a toy iguana to your shoulder. For bonus points, top it off with some quirky earrings. An even easier costume is Mrs. Jeepers of the first Bailey School Kids novel, Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots. All you need for this look is a polka-dotted dress and a vibe that says, “I might be a vampire.”

If you’re looking for something a little less cartoonish, The Harry Potter novels have a number of admirable teachers, but consider forgoing the revered Dumbledore and McGonagall for a Quirell, Mad-Eye Moody, or Umbridge. (I mean, really, who in that series is more terrifying and recognizable than the universally reviled Dolores Umbridge?) Wall Street Insanity highlights this Quirrell as #19 of one of the “21 Cleverest Halloween Costumes Ever.” Professor Trelawney is a great option if you’re on a budget and feel comfortable raiding a thrift store. If you want to play into some classic Halloween themes, consider a mid-transformation Werewolf Lupin. Pair him with a pink-haired Tonks for a couples costume

Literary Sleuths


1977 Hardy Boys Adaptation Source: Public Domain

Instead of being a villain this Halloween, why not be the one who unmasks the bad guys? The most famous and recognizable option is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. In a vintage mood? Give Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys a try. The blog Nancy Drew Sleuth has several suggestions based on different book covers. Harriet M. Welsch of Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy is another fun and inexpensive option. Check out this version on Audio Helkuik’s blog

Iconic Authors

Fictional characters make great Halloween costumes, but some of


I think we all need an excuse to buy the hat Zora Neale Hurston is wearing. Source: Public Domain

their creators have equally iconic styles. Mark Twain is hard not to recognize. For added authenticity, memorize some of his quotes to use throughout the day. If you prefer something you can wear again, Their Eyes Were Watching God author Zora Neale Hurston had some fabulous accessories that can be integrated into your regular wardrobe. Looking for something a little spookier? Look no further than Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Dickinson. Coolest Homemade Costumes has a great Poe tutorial that works for men and women. This concept also works with artists, like Frida Kahlo or Salvador Dali!

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus

A perennial Halloween favorite, this classic has its 200th Anniversary this year. This milestone makes it a perfect choice for


Done well, a classic Frankenstein’s monster is always a hit, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Source: Public Domain

inspiring your library Halloween costume. Go for historical accuracy and match the 18th century setting in perfect detail or run wild with one of the myriad re-imaginings of the story. Don’t feel limited to portraying the Monster, either. MAC Cosmetics has a great makeup tutorial for creating the Bride of Frankenstein’s look. You can also channel Dr. Frankenstein or Mary Shelley.

If you’ve been undecided about what to wear this Halloween, I hope this list has given you some inspiration. Now get to the thrift store, start sewing, and make it happen!

And if all else fails, you could always be my personal favorite library icon, Conan the Librarian.


Source: TRF_Mr_Hyde under CC by 2.0

Will you be wearing a costume to school or work this Monday? What will you wear and what have you worn in the past? Tell us in the comments!

Categories: Professional Life

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