20 Photos of Famous Authors in Awesome Costumes

Halloween is fast approaching, and if you’re the writerly (read: introverted, inside-cat) type, you may be experiencing some anxiety about dressing up in a costume and walking the streets. But take heart: some of your very favorite authors have been known to don a costume from time to time, too. So it must be cool, right? This slideshow is also appropriate for those itching to wear a literary costume this year but who have already worn out their Poe ravens and DFW bandannas: go meta and dress as one of your favorite authors in one of their costumes. After the jump, check out some amazing writers dressed to the nines, and add any missing here in the comments.


Mark Twain and his daughter Susy as Hero and Leander (irrespectively). Twain loved to improvise plays with his daughters — here, at a New York State artists’ retreat, he sports a hot-water bag and a bonnet in his interpretation of the lovestruck Leander. [Image via]


Here’s F. Scott Fitzgerald in full costume for Princeton’s Triangle Club musical, “The Evil Eye!” The leftmost shot appeared in the New York Times, where Fitzgerald was described as “the most beautiful” showgirl in the production. [Image via]


And not to be outdone: Zelda Fitzgerald as Polly for a 1919 production of the ballet “Les Mysterieuses.” [Image via]


Anaïs Nin and handsome friend at a “Come as Your Madness” party. She described her costume as follows: “I wore a skin-colored leotard, leopard-fur earrings glued to my naked breasts, and a leopard-fur belt around my waist. Gil Henderson painted on my bare back a vivid jungle scene. I wore eyelashes two inches long. My hair was dusted with gold powder. My head was inside of a birdcage. From within the cage, through the open gate, I pulled out an endless roll of paper on which I had written lines from my books. The ticker tape of the unconscious. I unwound this and handed everyone a strip with a message.” [Image via]


Susan Sontag in a teddy bear suit. Photo by Annie Leibovitz. [Image via]


Colette in her costume for “La Chatte Amoureuse,” a nightclub mime show in which she portrayed her favorite animal.


Virginia Woolf (far left) and her friends dressed up as Abyssinian royalty for the famous Dreadnought hoax. (Warning: this costume — and specifically the makeup — is totally not OK in 2013.) [Image via]


Truman Capote as a youthful Santa Claus, or perhaps some kind of holiday spirit. Photo by John Dornés. [Image via]



Evelyn Waugh played two roles in The Scarlet Woman, a silent film he wrote and made with his friend Terence Greenidge: firstly, the Dean of Balliol College, who was sexually attracted to dogs (in the film — in real life, he stole Waugh’s first boyfriend), and secondly, Lord Borrowington, “a penniless peer.” Both hilarious. [Images via]

In this video, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and Andrew Sean Greer sing a song about fairies — in fairy costume. You’re welcome.



Oh yes. In Vogue‘s recent Edith Wharton spread, we have: Junot Díaz as diplomat Walter Berry, Jonathan Safran Foer as architect Ogden Codman, Jr., and, most excellently, Jeffrey Eugenides as Henry James. This second shot of Eugenides in action is included for extra giggles. [Images via]


Queen Ursula K. Le Guin. Photo by Denise Rehse Watson. [Image via]


Anne Rice wearing lord-knows-what at a book signing for Memnoch the Devil in 1995. [Image via]


Norman Mailer as Stanford White in Ragtime. That mustache! [Image via]



Maya Angelou as “Miss Calypso.” [Images via]

there could be championship

Yukio Mishima posing as one of his obsessions, St. Sebastian. [Image via]


Deborah Eisenberg looking quite badass as Judy in a recent production of Wallace Shawn’s 1996 play, The Designated Mourner. [Image via]


A 21-year-old Mary Gaitskill in some kind of gorgeous costume. [Image via]


S.E. Hinton’s cameo in The Outsiders. [Image via]


Irish-born Oscar Wilde in traditional Greek costume. [Image via]