Literary Halloween Costumes You Can Make On a Budget

Come take a look at the list of Halloween costumes we’ve put together that you can buy on a budget!

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An orange ghost background with ghosts and a dog and cat. Wednesday Addams and Annabeth Chase are in front next to a stack of books.

During the fall season, it’s always a hectic time to think about Halloween costumes and what you’re going to be. It’s like the equivalent of buying Christmas presents, but for October. What do I wear? What do I get? Well, we’ve put together a list of some Halloween costumes inspired by literature that you can make/find while budgeting. All these choices are relatively cheap and simple, and you can put your own twist on each of these. Come read our list!

Coraline

Coraline from the movie Coraline crawling through a blue and purple tunnel while wearing red pajamas.
IMAGE VIA UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

With a wig and a raincoat, this costume is relatively easy to make. You could even opt for a yellow T-shirt if you don’t want to buy a raincoat.

Wednesday Addams

Wednesday Addams from the TV show Wednesday, with a girl in black braids. There is a dismembered hand on her shoulder.
IMAGE VIA NETFLIX

A popular character due to the Netflix TV show, Wednesday Addams is a relatively easy and cheap Halloween costume. With some braids and some dark clothing, this look is pretty much made.

Pride and Prejudice Characters

Elizabeth and Darcy dressed in brown and dull clothes as they embrace on the moor landscape.
IMAGE VIA UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are easy to replicate. They both wear simple clothes and have simple hairstyles, so with some wardrobe adjustments, these characters could be easy to portray for Halloween.

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe with a gray background and a mustache.
IMAGE VIA POETRY FOUNDATION

A famous author, Edgar Allan Poe, is a significant literary figure. With some dark clothing and a fake mustache (if you need it, of course), you could be set for Halloween.

Big Brother

1984 cover with a red background and a big eye in the center.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

For this one, we propose that you could just go as a pair of giant eyes. Always watching, right?

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby cover with two eyes and New York.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

This one as well; you could go as a pair of giant eyes. If you know, you know.

Ms. Frizzle

Ms. Frizzle on the school bus in a purple dress with her orange hair pulled up into a bun.
IMAGE VIA PBS

With a dress and some curly red hair, this costume is ready to go out on the town for Halloween.

Where’s Waldo

Where's Waldo cover with Waldo in a red and white hat surrounded by other people.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

A striped shirt and some jeans are all you need for this costume.

Rainbow Fish

The Rainbow Fish cover with a blue fish covered in rainbow scales swimming in the ocean.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

With some construction paper or even paint swatches from your local hardware store, you could make rainbow scales to turn yourself into the rainbow fish.

Madeline

Madeline cover with a group of girls in yellow walking toward the Eiffel Tower.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

A blue dress and a yellow hat are all you need for this classic children’s character.

Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat cover with a cat in a red and white hat, with a red bowtie.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

With a specific hat, this outfit might be the easiest one yet. You don’t even need to look like a cat, though a quick swipe of some eyeliner for whispers, and you’ve got that covered too.

Willy Wonka

Willy Wonka in a pair of glasses and a hat.
IMAGE VIA WARNER BROS.

Eccentricity is all the rage for Willy Wonka. Deep purples, a bit of a crazy smile, and maybe a top hat from your local thrift store to cinch this costume together.

Cruella De Vil

Cruella De Vil in a cream and red coat with a black dress underneath next to a maid.
IMAGE VIA DISNEY

A black and white wig, a faux fur coat from the thrift store, and perhaps a dress make this costume ready to go.

Mouse and a Cookie

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie cover with a little mouse in overalls and a chocolate chip cookie in his hand.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

With some mouse ears and a cookie, this might be one of the cutest costumes on this list.

Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar cover with a green and red caterpillar on the front.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

With some antennas and a green shirt, this costume is also incredibly cute.

Dorothy

Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz in a blue and white dress with braids and a basket on her arm.
IMAGE VIA WARNER BROS.

What you need for this one is some red shoes, a blue dress (or a blue shirt), and some braids. You could even incorporate your dog!

Alice in Wonderland

The Mad Hatter in a blue suit next to Alice in a suit of armor from Disney's Alice in Wonderland with Tim Burton.
IMAGE VIA DISNEY

A blue dress and a blonde wig is all you need for this one. Or you could go as the Mad Hatter. Or the White Rabbit. Or the Cheshire Cat. Nevermind, gather your friends and party together as the whole cast!

Book

A book with many pages.
IMAGE VIA PIXABAY

For this one, you could just dress up as your favorite book. You could do this by getting a posterboard and writing the title on it, or however you’re feeling.

Nerdy Birdy

Nerdy Birdy cover with a bird wearing glasses that is sitting on a tree branch.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

For this one, you mostly just need a big pair of glasses.

Corduroy

Corduroy cover with a brown teddy bear in green overalls missing one button.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

For this cute little bear, all you need might just be a pair of green overalls.

Pippi Longstocking

Pippi Longstocking cover with a little girl with red pigtails surrounded by a horse, monkey, and two other little kids.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

A funky hairstyle might be all you need for this cute little character.

Shadowhunter

Shadowhunters cast wearing black and walking toward the camera. Left to right is Magnus, Alec, Jace, Clary, Simon, Isabelle, and Luke.
IMAGE VIA FREEFORM

Some black clothing and some eyeliner to write a few runes on yourself are all that’s needed for this costume. Or you could go for a switch and dress up as Magnus.

Demigod

Annabeth Chase with her blonde hair in a ponytail. She's wearing an orange t-shirt and has a knife in her hand.
IMAGE VIA VIKTORIA RIDZEL

Inspired by Percy Jackson, an orange t-shirt could be all you need for this beloved character. You could also add a necklace if you’re feeling funky.

These costumes are just suggestions, and you can put your own twist on each of these ideas. Or you could do something else entirely if this list inspires you to think of another costume. Did you like any of these ideas?


If you need more inspiration, click here for another article on Bookish Halloween costumes.

FEATURED IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR / ALEXANDRA MELLOTT