clip art ghost costume halloween

What Would a Writer Costume Look Like?

What does a writer costume look like? If it was Halloween and you were going as a writer, what would you dress up as? I’m not even sure myself–probably a cross between a professor (like one with the argyle sweater vests and a pipe) and a nerd (the glasses, high pants). It’s a pain in the ass to bring a typewriter to a party so I’d want to minimize the props. Let’s do some image searching and see what Google thinks.

This is the first entry you get when you enter “writer costume” in the image search. I guess you could say this is a writer, but if you ask someone what you’re dressed as, they’d probably say “Shakespeare”. Who is a writer, I guess. But I’m not looking for a specific writer. I want the generic writer. The abstract idea of a writer turned tangible.

I guess this technically works, but I think it’s cheating.

I think this some sort of anime character, but I don’t know who or from what anime. He doesn’t look so much like a writer as an elaborate Victorian cad/rogue/spy.

Ah, here we go. If you can’t be a distinct occupation, be that occupation’s tool. Though this isn’t exactly what I’m looking for, it’s a clever alternative.

Ah, this is even more clever — go as a “ghost writer.” (Although this ghost is holding a book. Not exactly indicative of the occupation.) You might still have to explain what you are, but they will think it’s witty (as if you came up with this on your own).

This is a picture on the WikiHow article “How to Look Like a Writer”. I don’t know if this looks so much like a writer as it does a preppy spy or Hollywood elite.

Here’s another one from an anime. To me it looks like Roll from Mega Man as a Lolita. Again, no idea if this is a writer or not.

Now let’s see what the AI has to say about it. First, DALL-E.

It helps to have props. But what is Tiana from The Princess and the Frog jotting down in such tiny print? Is she trying to save paper by writing the entire novel on one page? (At least she’s got the right number of fingers.)

This wouldn’t be too bad if it weren’t for the guy’s face melting off. Did he accidentally look at the Covenant of the Ark? And why is every writer holding a quill? Is there something about pens being taboo?

Okay, Stable Diffusion, I swore I wrote “writer costume” in the prompt, not Jack Sparrow waiting tables at a flamboyant T.G.I. Fridays.

I told my doctor I was depressed and he said I should see the great writer Pagliacci. I told him “But doctor, I am Pagliacci! And can you read this latest draft?”

Finally I used Midjourney, which at least gave me legitimate-looking pictures. Not weird swirly hands and wonky eyes. I guess I could say “yeah, they’re writers”. Not just because of their they all have an implement in front of them, but the lost looks on their face, like they’re trying to make their word count. Also, what is up with the guy in Victorian drag/armor in the lower left?

So what have we learned? Props are everything if you’re going to pretend to be a writer. Wear something smart and snappy. And quills, not pens. Or a typewriter if you can handle the weight. I guess all writers are old school trying to imitate Dickens and Shakespeare over Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson.

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.

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