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Bookish Halloween Costume Ideas for Every Sign in the Zodiac

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Susie Dumond

Senior Contributor

Susie (she/her) is a queer writer originally from Little Rock, now living in Washington, DC. She is the author of QUEERLY BELOVED and the forthcoming LOOKING FOR A SIGN from Dial Press/Random House. You can find her on Instagram @susiedoom.

With Halloween right around the corner, you may be looking for the perfect costume idea. And since you’re here on Book Riot, I’m guessing you’re interested in the literary world. But with infinite bookish costume options, where to begin? Ask the stars! We’ve got bookish Halloween costume ideas for every sign below. And if you don’t like the costume for your sun sign, be sure to check rising and moon signs!

When it comes to bookish Halloween costumes, there are a couple rules of thumb I like to keep in mind. First, you want something recognizable. It doesn’t necessarily have to be recognized on sight; that “aha” moment when you give the name of your costume can also be a lot of fun. But you don’t want anything you have to explain too thoroughly. You also want your costume to be timely, clever, and/or not overdone. If you’re going with a costume that may be popular this year, you better be prepared to have the best version of it, or at least a fresh take.

It’s going to be tough to celebrate the best holiday of the year during a global pandemic. Trick-or-treating is complicated, and big Halloween parties or bar crawls are definitely a no-go. But losing out on some of the celebrations means that it’s even more important to have an excellent costume. Be sure to share your bookish Halloween costume with us on Twitter and Instagram by tagging @BookRiot! And if you need a new book to read while you celebrate at home, may I recommend our October 2020 Horoscopes and Book Recommendations?

Bookish Halloween Costume Ideas for Every Sign

Little Fires Everywhere cover

Aries (March 21-April 19): Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng made literary waves as a #1 New York Times fiction bestseller, and now it’s gained even more attention as a Hulu miniseries starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon. But as a costume, I’m going for the pun aspect. Dress however you want, and cover yourself with little flames. A little obscure? Sure, but the people who get it will love it! And as the most fiery of the fire signs, it’s perfect for Aries.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar cover

Taurus (April 20-May 20): The Very Hungry Caterpillar

No one appreciates life’s gustatory delights like a Taurus. That’s why you need a Halloween costume that celebrates the foods you love. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is the perfect pick. Wrap up in a green sleeping bag and a red beanie with some felt eyes. You can craft food out of felt or paper to tack to your costume. Stick with the classics (apples, pears, plums) or help the caterpillar try some new foods, like paella, cronuts, or bibimbap.

Penguin onesie

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Penguin Random House

Geminis are one of the biggest book lovers of the zodiac, and they also love a good pun. Embrace the op-pun-tunity (sorry) by dressing as one of the biggest publishing companies worldwide, Penguin Random House. All you need is a penguin suit and a small, random house to carry around with you. Not only is it clever; it’s warm and comfy.

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

Cancer (June 21-July 22): The Rainbow Fish

Cancers are known for being very emotional, sensitive, and attuned to others. That’s why the Rainbow Fish from the bestselling children’s book by Marcus Pfister is the perfect fit. He wants everyone to be happy and feel special (in a way that’s maybe not the most emotionally healthy for himself—sound familiar, Cancer?). This could be a really cool homemade costume using scales made from different colors of paper or fabric, with some sparkly scales interspersed. To make it even more authentic, make the sparkly scales easy to pull off and hand out to friends.

Leo (July 23-August 22): Black Panther

Black Panther movie poster

Black Panther has been a huge source of Halloween costume ideas since the film broke box office records in 2018. But as the country mourns Chadwick Boseman, this costume has even more meaning in 2020. Black Panther may not be a lion, but he’s still got big Leo energy as the star of the show and a beloved hero. With a good Black Panther costume, you’re sure to find yourself in the spotlight—Leo’s favorite place to be.

Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock cover

Virgo (August 23-September 22): Nancy Drew

Beloved girl detective Nancy Drew is a timeless Halloween choice. And Nancy’s got to be a Virgo, right? Detail oriented, determined, always helping others? It’s a super fun costume to wear, too. All you need is some 1930s glam and the mysterious object of your choice—an old clock, a mysterious letter, a broken locket, a hidden staircase—and obviously a vintage convertible would be a plus.

Libra (September 23-October 22): Zombie Librarian

Nobody loves the library like a Libra. I mean, look, it’s right there in the name! Libras value equality, justice, and accessibility, so they’re very at home at the library. Honor your favorite place by being a librarian for Halloween this year. And if a classic librarian isn’t exciting enough, spook it up with some zombie makeup and blood. Bonus points if you carry around a bunch of bloodied books about brains.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21): Inigo Montoya

Inigo Montoya (played by Mandy Patinkin) costume from the film The Princess Bride displayed at Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic, Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Seattle.
Roland Tanglao from Vancouver, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If there’s one thing a Scorpio loves, it’s revenge. Just like Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, you never forgive and you never forget. This costume is super easy to pull off. All you really need is the wig, the mustache, and the sword; the rest will fall into place. And of course, you’ll need to frequently repeat this most important line: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

The Color Purple book cover

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21): The Color Purple

Let’s be honest: you don’t really like being told what to do. And for that reason, you’re not the biggest Halloween costume fan. Wear some weird, embarrassing costume? Just because it’s what everyone does? No thank you. But instead of being a party pooper, why not go for something you may already have in your closet that will also get you credit for a good pun? Dress as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple by wearing, you guessed it, a bunch of purple clothes. Done!

Capricorn (December 22-January 19): Dolores

HBO Westworld Dolores action figure from Walmart
HBO Westworld Dolores action figure from Walmart

Honestly, pretty much any look from Westworld is a great Halloween costume choice, as lots of characters have one memorable outfit they wear for most of the series. But when it comes to powerful, charismatic robots who want to take over the world (hello, Capricorn!) it doesn’t get any better than Dolores. Recreate this Old West look and live your Westworld fantasies this Halloween—but not in, like, a murdery way.

The Hate U Give cover

Aquarius (January 20-February 18): The Hate U Give‘s Starr Carter

Aquarius hates injustice and truly believes they can make the world a better place. That’s why Starr Carter from Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give is the perfect fit for a Halloween costume. Starr is a teenage badass who puts herself at great personal risk to fight police violence and racism. And all you need to rock her look as a costume is a poster board, a red bandana, sneakers, and a voice to fight for what’s right.

Pisces (February 19-March 20): Nurse Ratched

Ratched Netflix promo poster
Ratched Netflix promo poster

A fiercely loyal caretaker with a high emotional IQ? Nurse Ratched is a Pisces if I’ve ever seen one! Well…maybe a Pisces with a severely damaged moral compass. This new Netflix series starring Sarah Paulson is a prequel to Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s timely, and Nurse Ratched’s iconic turquoise uniform makes it easy to recreate. Just don’t actually kill any patients, okay?

Looking for more bookish Halloween costume ideas? Try these:
31 Amazing Literary Halloween Costumes
50 Bookish Halloween Couples Costume Ideas
Easy Bookish Halloween Costumes for Kids