Transform Yourself Into a YA Character for Halloween!

Wishing my American readers a safe and fun Halloween!  My thoughts are with anyone affected by Hurricane Sandy. Photos of the damage and rescue efforts are just heartbreaking. Though we were right in the path of the storm, we kept power and are safe and dry.

If you are celebrating and need a last minute costume, I'm here to help! I always made my own Halloween costumes when I was growing up. That way, you don't show up at a party as Slutty Witch Number Three.

Here's how to make four quick, easy and cheap YA book character costumes. Most of the stuff you need is probably sitting around your house right now!

Costume One: Sydney Sage from the Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead (Razorbill)

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

What you'll need -- total cost: $5-10

1. Drab clothes -- throw on khaki pants or skirt with a plain white blouse. Sydney's known for being an understated dresser.
2. Gold face paint and a brush. 

You'll use that to paint this design on your cheek:

Golden lily tattoo
Tattoo pattern from VA Wikia

3. A can of Diet Coke or a Starbucks coffee cup to carry around

4. Optional: blond wig and a hot, dark-haired guy with green eyes to follow you around and make snarky comments.

Costume Two: Anna from Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (Tor Teen)

What you'll need -- total cost: free to $15

1. Long white (or light colored) dress that you don't mind splattering with red paint or fake blood (see below.)

2. Makeup: use purple eyeliner to make "purply veins" all over your face, neck and arms. Then put on some black lipstick. 

3. Buy fake blood to splatter the dress with or make your own here with corn syrup, food coloring, and chocolate syrup. Yum!

4. Don't forget those crazy eyes!

Costume Three: Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Little, Brown BYR)

What you'll need -- total cost: $5-10

1. Blue wig or temporary blue hair paint. Once your hair's all blue, you can twist it up and stick a paintbrush into it. Or make a braid. 

2. Tie a wishbone on a cord around your neck. Eat the chicken first, or make your own wishbone out of Model Magic.

3. Make yourself some hamsa tattoos. You can find a temporary tattoo tutorial here.

5. Carry around a sketchpad and pencil. You can also tote around a little bag of teeth. Raid your kids' tooth fairy pillow, or get out that Model Magic!

Costume Four: Sexy Steampunk

pic name pic name

What you'll need -- cost: free to $20

1. Victorian-inspired clothing -- think high heeled lace-up boots paired with a black skirt, plus a corset or a lacy blouse or cami. Don't sweat the outfit, because we'll dazzle them with gadgetry!

2. Metallic spray paint and superglue

3. Now for the fun part. Raid your junk drawer, craft drawer, jewelry box, toolbox, and garage. (Or just hit the hardware store.) Here's what you're looking for: gears, washers, brooches and pins -- any old costume jewelry you can take apart, fake gems, metallic buttons -- any interesting little bits of shiny stuff. Think like a magpie!

Superglue all your finds into a fabulous necklace and spray the whole thing with gold or silver spray paint.  You'll get something like this:

Or this:

There are some great tutorials at, which is where I got the photo above.

Warning: it is entirely possible that people won't "get" who you're dressed as.  Just see it as a chance to talk up your favorite book.

Have fun, don't take candy from strangers and don't forget to email me a picture!


  1. I always want to dress up as a literary figure, but I hate that I'll have to spend all night explaining who I am because none of my real-life friends read the same books as me. And they think all YA is like Twilight, so it wouldn't be easy to convince them to give DoSaB a try, even though it's, like, one of the best books ever. :P Great ideas, though! (My mom actually makes steampunk jewelry for fun. :D)

  2. How fun is all this? I haven't dressed up in so very long. I used to love to. I think it's partly because I am never creative enough to think of fun ideas like this and partly because I am lazy. :)

    I hope you have a great Halloween!

  3. Great ideas! I'm just going as a witch-no one in particular but I'm excited to see what other people come up with.

    1. Witch or cat are my go-to costumes. Can't go wrong with those!

  4. Awesome post!! Love it. I am dressed as a fairy today. I liked my 80's zombie costume better, but for taking the kiddo out I don't want to be too scary!

  5. Great post! I love the Sydney idea! I usually go as a YA book character for Halloween. :)

  6. Haha! Great costume ideas. And if definitely be Sydney Sage for Halloween if a hot green eyed guy would follow me around all day :D

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

  7. Fun post! I actually wore that blue wig on Saturday. Haha! Me & a couple of my friends were rocker chicks :-)

  8. Awesome post! I think going as Karou would be a GREAT idea. I really should just pick up a blue wig. Just for fun. :)

  9. Such an fun and awesome post Jen!! Love your ideas so much! Happy Reading and hope Sandy doesn't ruin any fun in NYC! :))

  10. Awesome! This would be so fun! But sadly, I don't think people would recognize Anna or Karou or Sydney... But really, those ideas are way better- I lost count of how many witches I saw! :P

  11. I am so going as Anna or Karou next year... or maybe both!

  12. I love this SO FREAKING MUCH. Also, I'm going as Sydney, but I'm only doing number 4.

  13. Total coincidence but I have been looking at Hamsa tattoos and loved looking through all photos on your link! What great ideas and gorgeous pictures. Thank you!


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