How to Have a Slatebreaking Halloween

It’s Halloween season everybody! That means it’s time for the annual cringe fest that is this year’s crop of inappropriately sexy Halloween costumes! Basically, as anyone who has ever been at a bar on Halloween (or looked at the internet) can attest, there are some really horrible costumes out there, ranging from uncomfortable

Sesame Street? Really? It’s a show for toddlers. And seriously, did the creators of this costume ever actually watch Shrek? It’s not even that great, but you’d think they realize the point is something about inner beauty.

to the ridiculous

I know it’s obvious, but you should probably wear some more protective clothing if you’re going to be CUTTING DOWN TREES.

to the incredibly offensive

I can’t even find anything snarky to say about this.

With this out there, it would be easy to get so depressed, celebrating Halloween seems almost impossible. So to counteract that, we’ve created a list of fabulous literary and totally Slatebreaking Halloween costumes. Add other ideas (and post photos of your own literary & Slatebreaking Halloween endeavors) in the comments!


Jessica Darling from Sloppy Firsts (and others)

This is Brianna’s choice for a Halloween costume this year because a) she loves Jessica Darling and Megan McCafferty and b) she’s lazy. Jessica Darling is the quintessential snarky YA heroine, and it’s a simple equation to achieve Jessica’s signature look: red T-shirt + iron-on letters spelling out “Me, Yes, Me” + jeans + composition notebook. Bam! Ready to go. This costume gets bonus points for being super comfortable.

Amelia Earhart from Amelia Lost (and also, you know, real life)

Candace Fleming’s Amelia Lost renewed our love for Ms. Earhart. This costume takes a little more commitment. You’ll need to make an appointment with your stylist to cut your hair into her signature bob, top it off with an aviator cap, and don a leather jacket. Then, in the middle of the Halloween party, slip away quietly so that you will have “disappeared.”

Nancy Drew

Instantly recognizable, classic costume. Wear a simple skirt and blouse, perhaps with a cardigan and cloche hat. Carry a magnifying glass. Leave your boyfriend at home, since Ned Nickerson rarely had anything useful to contribute.


Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield from Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley Confidential, etc.

Ok – so these girls might not actually be Slatebreakers. Well definitely not. But with the release of the new (and terrible) Sweet Valley Confidential, dressing up as the Wakefield twins provides that perfect blend of topical and nostalgic. All you need is two blonde wigs. For Elizabeth, an oxford shirt and a superior expression. For Jessica, something sparkly and a vapid look in your eyes. And if you have a third wig handy, you could have someone play evil triplet Margo! Or, if the Baby-Sitters Club was more your thing, check out this post on how to craft an impeccable Claudia Kishi costume:


The Beauty Queens from Beauty Queens

Best Slatebreaking book of the summer, and your best bet for a Slatebreaking group costume come Halloween. Make a pile of sashes and label them with your favorite characters’ states. Then head to the local thrift store and pick up the most tattered, beat up, dismal looking gowns you can find. Take them outside and roll around in the mud to achieve the desired “stranded on an island” look. This can also work for an individual, but, as we learned from the book, beauty queens can be very impressive when they travel in packs.

Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Though you might not be recognized by everyone, this book is big right now and anyone whose read it will be totally excited to see you. Plus, it’s pretty easy to create. All you need is a bright blue wig, a sketchbook and a bunch of temporary tattoos (including Hamsas on the palms of your hands). If you want to make it a pair, get a friend to don a pair of wings and dress as Akiva or turn herself into a human marionette and be Zuzana

Katniss from The Hunger Games

Sure, it’s really popular, and there are bound to be a fair number of Katnisses on the streets this Halloween. But popular or not, Katniss’s awesomeness is undeniable. I’d be super impressed if you could manage a Girl on Fire costume, but if you’re less artistically minded or working last minute, you can go with pre-arena Katniss. Dark clothes, smudged face, bow and arrow – you’re good to go.

Bink and Gollie from Bink and Gollie

Perfect costume for a pair. Bink wears a brown skirt, purple t-shirt and awesome socks. Gollie wears blue capris and a polka-dotted tank top. Both wear roller skates if possible. These girls long for speed. Particularly perfect costume if you’re seeking something non-princess like for a couple of actual young people.


The Cover of Tina Fey’s Bossypants

Do you have a hairy or beefy guy friend who’s kind of shy? Don a loose white button-up shirt, tuck your hands behind your back, and have him stand behind you with his arms through the sleeves. Don’t forget the derby hat and striped tie. And good luck eating and drinking all night.


The Cover of OK For Now

Will you be attending a Halloween get-together populated with kidlit enthusiasts and librarians? Make a clever reference to the most buzz-worthy book of 2011 and go as the cover of OK for Now. Put a smiling paper bag on your head, wear a white t-shirt with jeans, and carry a baseball mitt. Your footwear should be Converse All Stars, because we all know that high top sneakers = historical fiction. You might as well slap a shiny Newbery Medal sticker on your chest while you’re at it.

P.S. We aren’t the only ones writing about Halloween costume alternatives. Some of our favorite blogs have been doing some hilarious and spot on commentary. Check out these posts on The Hairpin (Sexy Inflammatory Email!) and Forever Young Adult (Hester Prynne! My Name is Asher Lev!) and some great commentary over at Feministing.

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2 Responses to How to Have a Slatebreaking Halloween

  1. Deb V. says:

    I can’t even think of a literary costume idea because I am still so appalled by the real-life costumes you managed to dig up. I know Halloween has become all about adding “sexy” in front of whatever it is you are dressing as, but Sesame Street? Anorexia? Seriously?

    OK, but now I have an idea. After loving Divergent so very very much, a Tris costume wouldn’t be too hard. Some temporary tatoos and all black . . . or all grey, if you went for her Abnigation outfit.

    • Sarah says:

      Yeah, it’s pretty grim. And once you start searching through them it just gets more depressing. There are a lot of really, really terrible costumes available for purchase. HOWEVER, a Tris costume would be great. The bird tattoos would be a nice clear signifier too.

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