Oct 31 2012 9:30am

Halloween Costuming: Dress Like an Urban Fantasy Chick for Halloween

Missy image courtesy of Robert Bejil Photography via FlickrThis blog was supposed to be about how all our favorite kick-ass urban fantasy heroines wear skintight black leather while still managing to wield heavy weaponry, outrun demons, and avoid unsightly leather-sweats. It was supposed to offer a few options on quick urban fantasy heroines you could emulate for Halloween costumes that didn’t involve leather. It was supposed to poke a little gentle fun at what is a huge genre cliché.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the leather shop. I discovered that while tight leather clothing is very popular among urban fantasy cover artists, the heroines of those novels don’t wear the stuff all that often. In fact, the heroines of today’s most popular UF series can be firmly divided into the jeans crowd, the leather crowd, and Sookie.

Still looking for that Halloween costume and want to avoid leather or (worse) pleather? Try these sartorial seductresses:

Sookie Stackhouse. Never mind that it’s late October. To dress like Sookie, slather on the spray tan and pull out a nice cotton sundress and some strappy sandals. Be sure to throw a tasteful scarf in your bag to cover any unsightly fang marks, and carry a casserole to your Halloween party.

Anita Blake. Sure, crack the jokes. You could go naked as Anita if you wanted, trailing male shapeshifters behind you. But while Anita might don a leather jacket, she’s most often found in polo shirts, jeans, and her signature Nikes. Well, except for the ardeur-feeding bits.

Chasing Magic by Stacia KaneChess. Pick up some religious-looking temporary tats and a Ziploc bag full of pills (Benadryl capsules have an interesting look), throw on a tank top and some jeans and boots, and you’re good to go as the heroine of Stacia Kane’s Chess Putnam series. Find a kind of unsavory date to trick-or-treat with you.

Mercy Thompson. You’ll need a black wig to pull off the Native American angle, but ignore the (admittedly gorgeous) covers featuring Patricia Briggs’s heroine in leather sports bras. She’s is a mechanic, so dab a little motor oil behind your ears and under your nails, throw on some jeans and a t-shirt, and you’ll be good to go. Remember to pretend to cower and wag your tail a little if approached by an alpha werewolf Coyote paw midriff tattoo optional.

Kate Daniels. Ilona Andrews’s heroine can definitely kick some magical assets, but all you need for a Kate costume are a loose-fitting pair of jeans (you can fight better that way), a button-front shirt, and some athletic shoes. Easy-peasy. Carrying a bottle of Boone’s Farm is a nice touch.

Kitty Norville. Carrie Vaughn’s shapeshifting radio host might be dressing a little better these days, but she’s still not a leather girl. Ubiquitous jeans, a sweatshirt, and you’re good to go. To accessorize, try a microphone but avoid silver.

Never let it be said, however, that there are no leather-clad heroines left in urban fantasy. If you have some leather on hand, you can do your trick-or-treating as:

For a Few Demons More by Kim HarrisonRachel Morgan. Kim Harrison’s Hollows witch likes some leather when she’s fending off Algaliarept and scarier demons. Accessorize your red leather pants with a few spell pots, a couple of tomatoes, and a paintball/splat gun.

Jane Yellowrock. Leather for the heroine of Faith Hunter’s series is more for function than style. She rides a motorcycle; leather is protective. A leather jacket also hides a lot of clever weaponry. Off the bike, and Jane’s as likely to be in jeans and a tank, a slinky little nightclub dress, or Beast. And the big cat Beast would make a great Halloween costume.

Just to show a little parity, I offer you:

Harry Dresden. Jim Butcher’s iconic wizard hero is fond of jeans and not-so-stylish western-style shirts, but he tops it off with a very chic black leather duster, mantle and all. And he carries a big stick.

Who are your UF favorites, and do they wear leather? Who you like to dress like for Halloween? I’m stocking up on the motor oil myself.

“Missy” image courtesy of Robert Bejil Photography via Flickr


Suzanne Johnson, who writes urban fantasy with a heroine much too lazy to pour herself into a pair of leather pants, is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series. Book two, River Road, will be released November 13 from Tor Books. You can find Suzanne writing about speculative fiction, with and without romance, at her daily Preternatura blog, as well as hanging around on Twitter.

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Roger Simmons1
1. Roger Simmons1
A very impresive list of Urban Fantasy heroines, Sookie, Anita, Chess, Mercy, Kate, Kitty, Rachel, Jane & Harry. If I were to dress up for Halloween I think I would be Harry. LOL. Now if I could just find my staff...
Suzanne Johnson
2. suzannej3523
LOL, Roger...Does that mean you have the black leather trenchcoat?! Can't believe you're not digging out some red leather pants a la Rachel :-)
Jasmine Ray
3. JassyBaby
I'd totally dress as Anita--when Jean-Claude gets his hands on her, that is-- He picks out the most flattering outfits for her!
Roger Simmons1
4. Gina7
Cat and Bones might be kinda .....HMM.....
Suzanne Johnson
5. suzannej3523
@Jassy and Gina...Cat and Anita, left to their own devices, have no clue how to dress. Having Bones and Jean-Claude pick their wardrobes throws them into a whole 'nother category!
rachel sternberg
6. rae70
If I HAD the body, I would chose to copy Cat or Mac (Fever Series) otherwise I would just be Anita in a polo, jeans and gym shoes...
Roger Simmons1
7. miki
i would be more mercy or kate Daniels ( since i don't like oil)^^ jeans and t-shirt simple and depending on the t-shirt can be more than casual^^
Karin Anderson
8. AquarianDancer
Funny, I was Charley Davidson this year! Green tank, black skinny jeans, black leather boots, and a scythe. This is from the cover of Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (released yesterday). I added a Skull Scentportable to my back pocket for the detailing.
lori hayes
11. lorihayes
I can be Chess, I'm a jeans t-shirts ,boots girls tattoos already. Kate Daniels on my compy days baggy jeans button down shirts usually over tank top, and tennis shoes.or Mercy Thompson, I already dress like all of them and my husband's a,mechanic so motor oil no problem,.I get him when he's just getting home from work I'm good to go I can pull all those looks off. Just pick one I'll become her.
Suzanne Johnson
12. suzannej3523
@Lori529....I think Chess would be fun. Benadryl are pink and gray capsules...nice little baggie of pills...a cross...get the hubby to do a kind of scuzzy dealer look....lots of potential!
Roger Simmons1
13. filkferengi
So, is Charley Davidson's favorite flower for-scythe-ia?
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