Still looking for a unique Halloween costume that your friends definitely haven’t already thought of? Look no further.

Finding a unique-yet-recognizable and simple-yet-sexy costume (or multiple costumes) for Halloweekend every year can make this holiday one of the most stressful for the average college student. If you’re still scrambling for a way to impress your friends and be the talk of every party on campus, why not dress as one of Columbia’s most famous staples: its libraries. You may have to do some explaining, but isn’t that part of the fun of Halloween anyway? Read below to find out how to channel your favorite Columbia library with some basic pieces you might already have in your closet!


Columbia’s most distinctive library deserves a distinctive costume that makes a splash at your Halloween parties. Bring Butler to life with some of these pieces.

  • Black and white checkered skirt or pants, to match that iconic reading room floor
  • White tube top, bonus points if you draw vertical lines on it (you know, like the columns)
  • Brown scarf, because if there’s one color Butler has a lot of, it’s brown
  • Accessorize with the name of your favorite famous old white man writer written across your forehead to match the front of the library


Channel your inner Barnard baddie this Halloween with your Milstein Library costume. Stick to some sleek and modern pieces to really match the vibe of the best library on campus (completely unbiased opinion).

  • Black pantsuit or romper, to really give girlboss
  • A sleek beige or brown trench coat
  • Dr. Martens, of course (preferably black Chelsea boots, but any will do)
  • Accessorize with a New Yorker tote bag and a green beret to represent those gorgeous green chairs

East Asian Library

The East Asian library is one of the prettiest libraries on campus, so go full out with your costume for this library.

  • A maroon or dark red dress, to match the outside of Kent
  • Shawl or sweater with white floral pattern, like the library’s ceiling
  • Accessorize with colorful, bejeweled jewelry to add that pop of color from the stained glass window inside
  • Bonus points if you occasionally squat into a Thinker pose throughout the night, to really seal the deal

Business & Economics Library

The Business & Economics Library in Uris, on the other hand, might be one of the ugliest libraries on campus. Apologies in advance to all Business majors who might be offended by the suggestions for this costume.

  • Channel that lovely carpeting with a plain gray sweater
  • Khakis, obviously 
  • Finish off the look with those one-inch heels or dress shoes in the back of your closet that you bought for an internship you had one summer and haven’t worn since
  • Accessorize with a bluetooth earpiece, if people even still have those
  • If you’re feeling creative and want to spice up to look, make a headpiece with a headband and some copper wire in the pattern of the lights on the ceiling

Science & Engineering Library

Sleek, simple, and angular are the key words for this library costume.

  • A brown blazer or peacoat
  • Matching brown pencil skirt or slacks, pressed to perfection
  • I’m trying to think of a creative way to implement those round lamps… maybe as something that goes over the skirt or another headpiece, like a halo?
  • Heelys as the final touch, so you can roll around all night like you roll around on those rolly chairs

Milstein costume drawing via Bwog Illustrator Kavika Krishnan