I’ve written about Fictional Hangover Podcast before–I just had cohost Claire as a guest on the podcast, and I’m following their reading challenge this year–but I don’t think I’ve discussed host Amanda’s incredible bookish cosplays. She’s dressed as a character from the book discussed for almost every episode, which is pretty impressive. This has inspired me to combine my love of costumes and books to create some of my own bookish cosplays. Here are a few of my favorites.
Little Red Riding Hood
A great thing about Little Red Riding Hood is that she’s such an iconic character that you can do a lot of different things with the costuming. As long as you have the red cape, pretty much anything else goes.
I’ve dressed as Little Red a few times, actually. My favorite version was probably Hipster Red Riding Hood, which I described in this post.
I also really loved this more classic take I put together for Storybook Day of Spirit Week when I worked for the Children’s Museum. I put together items from my closet; a bohemian blouse under a structured sundress with an a-line skirt gave a vaguely Bavarian impression, I thought. And of course I carried around a basket and asked kids who had come to the museum to play if they had seen a wolf. A few kids got really into it and wanted to help me hide from the wolf. It was really cute.
This was my look for Geek Girl Con back in November, which I attended with my podcast partner Erin to get interviews for our Captain Marvel episode. Scarlet Witch, or Wanda Maximoff, is a superhero from Marvel comics, but I based my look on her character as played by Elizabeth Olsen in the MCU films, and particularly her first appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
This was pretty fun to put together. I already owned a basic black dress–it wasn’t exactly like the one she wears but close enough–and some chunky-heeled motorcycle-ish boots (hers are kind of a dusty black and mine are dark brown, so I dusted them with some water-based paint!). I also already owned necklaces similar to the ones she wears, though I did some tweaking to them, linking two chains together to make one longer, and using pliers to remove some dangling pieces from the pendant seen here. All I had to buy was the dark red faux leather jacket and some black knee high stockings.
For makeup I did dark, smoky eyes and red lipstick. Throughout the rest of the Avengers movies Wanda’s hair goes through shades of auburn and strawberry blonde, but in her first MCU appearance, it’s dark brown. I didn’t want to go that dark, so I struck a compromise between my normal light auburn and the dark brown with this deep chestnut/auburn shade. It looked really pretty, if I do say so myself!
This look was so fun to wear, too. A lot of people recognized who I was supposed to be, which tells me the look was successful, There were also several other Scarlet Witch/Wanda cosplayers in various iterations who attended this con, and when we would spot each other we’d give a little nod.
Here’s me and Erin, who was Jessica Jones.
Cosplay doesn’t have to be expensive or involve highly-skilled sewing. I created a lot of these looks from items I already had, clothing or otherwise, or that I was able to find inexpensively. But none of them were so hastily thrown together as my two versions of Persephone, the Greek Goddess of Spring and Queen of the Underworld. I call it Persephone: Before and After.
For the “before” look, when she’s the Goddess of Spring, I made a chiton (sort of the Grecian version of a toga) out of a pale pink bed sheet and a couple safety pins, then used some white and gold ribbon left over from Christmas as a belt/sash. My hair was on day 3 of foam roller curls, so I fluffed them out for a kind of wild, untamed look and put on a flower crown that went perfectly with the color of the sheet. (I have a collection of flower crowns–are you saying you don’t?) For makeup I basically just put on a ton of blush for that sun-kissed look and kept the rest minimal. Then I took a selfie.
When I was satisfied with the photo of the “before” look, I smoothed down my hair and put on a black shirt with this cool neckline detail that I have. I actually did not put on lighter makeup than normal for this–that’s how pale I actually am! But with black winged eyeliner and dark red lips, plus some light contouring, my natural paleness is emphasized here. The finishing touch is a necklace that I just draped over my forehead to mimic the look of a circlet. I tried to look really goth/emo for this selfie.
Moving from Greek to Celtic mythology, I’ve always been fascinated with the Morrigan. And when Erin and I decided to cosplay as our favorite mythological figures for Pop DNA’s Thor Livestream back in April, I figured this was the perfect choice.
I already vaguely dress like a medieval gentlewoman or a lady pirate, so the clothes weren’t difficult to figure out. A red peasant-y shirt with a drawstring neckline and a black corset that I have because reasons seemed to do the trick.
The Morrigan is said to be accompanied by crows when she is administering death on the battlefield, so I wanted to incorporate crows in some way. I found this black feather collar thing online and it was reasonably priced, so I jumped on it. Best $14 I ever spent.
For makeup I really went for it with the smokey eyes. I’d expect no less from a goddess of battle and death. Dark red lips, wavy hair, and a death-like stare completed the look.
We live in a different world now, and many of us probably won’t be going out this Halloween. But I think we should still dress up in costumes and post them on social media so we can see everyone else’s looks. Who’s with me??
Have you ever worn a costume or cosplayed as a literary character? Which one(s)? Or if you haven’t, which character(s) do you want to cosplay as? Let m know in the comments!