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How To Dress Up As Edgar Allan Poe

Updated on October 3, 2014

A Simple, Literary And Slightly Creepy Halloween Costume

Edgar Allan Poe is a famous writer, most particularly for his poem featuring the raven that quoth 'Nevermore'. He's also easy to dress up as, and a great excuse to intone "nevermore" at people and put out bowls of eyeballs (peeled onions or fakes) for your raven to eat!

A poor, yet distinguished, writer from early nineteenth century America, Poe is one of the famous names of history, that everyone knows about - and his costume can easily be put together from clothing you already own, or ordered with no difficulty online. For added versimilitude, you can carry a stuffed raven and quote his poetry, or pretend to sit around writing.

And for absolute proof of awesomeness - Richard Castle (played by Nathan Fillion) dressed up as Poe for a halloween costume during an episode of Castle! (Season 2, Episode 6 "Vampire Weekend")

Quoth the Raven...

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1848 "Ultima Thule" daguerreotype of Poe
1848 "Ultima Thule" daguerreotype of Poe

What Do You Need For An Edgar Allan Poe Costume?

An American Writer from the early nineteenth century

Edgar Allan Poe lived from 1809-1849 in America. He was also the first well-known writer in America to try and earn a living from his writing and was therefore poor and hungry for his entire life.

For his outfit you will need

Dishevelled hair, black wig or hairspray (if your hair isn't normally black, obviously)A black suit (preferably second-hand) or a velvet blazerA white shirt and cravat or bowtieA thin black moustacheAnd a bit of eye liner to put circles under your eyes (could also be used for the thin moustache!)

Optional but fun extras

A RAVENA copy of one of his books or a notebook to pretend to write inA 'Mini-Me' Edgar Allan Poe figure to carry around and have conversations withA pocket watch and a top hat are always in style for gentlemen of the era.

What do you think? Can you imagine anyone dressed up as Edgar Allan Poe? (...successfully?)

Edgar Allan Poe Party Invitations - Stay in theme for your creepy costume party!

Black Crow Gothic Party Invitations
Black Crow Gothic Party Invitations | Source

Edgar Allan Poe Action Figure - It even comes with a little tiny raven!

Edgar Allan Poe Action Figure
Edgar Allan Poe Action Figure

This 5-1/4" (13.3 cm) tall, hard vinyl Edgar Allan Poe Action Figure captures the father of the modern horror story in stark black and white with a hauntingly pale complexion and a removable plastic raven. Pose him on your bookshelf next to your volumes of his poetry and prose.


All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream.

Cravats and Bowties - Add that required gentlemanly touch

While black is the obvious choice for a respectable gothic poet, you can probably make do with dreary browns and greys, if necessary. He was poor, as well as writing dark and gloomy stories, so he couldn't have afforded brightly coloured clothing.

Find a black cravat on eBay

There aren't any good quality black cravats on Amazon (and the poor quality ones cost far too much for a costume!) so you may have to resort to eBay (or raid a thrift shop, or ask your grandfather).

Fake Poe Hair - For people who just aren't naturally dark-haired and dishevelled...

Obviously, you may already look the part, but if you're a natural blonde, or long-haired, you may want to shake that can of hairspray, or tie your hair up and settle a black wig onto your head. Or chop up an older wig and spray it black!

Fake Moustaches and Eyeliner! - Stick on a fake moustache or draw it with black eyeliner.

A moustache is always funny and now it's in character too! If you don't want to buy an actual moustache to stick on, you can just scribble on your face a bit with the eye liner you were going to use anyway, to create baggy eyes...

*Note: I don't know anything about using eyeliner, but it's basically a black pencil so it can't be that hard... right?

Some Black Jackets You Could Wear - If you don't own the right one already...

Obviously, you may own some kind of black jacket already, in which case you're all set! But remember - smart is not really a plus for Poe. It's not a deal-breaker, but something a bit threadbare is probably more realistic. It doesn't have to be black, either, shabby brown would work. But black is obviously more gothic and Halloween-ish!

Suit jackets are a bit pricey (just wear any old black trousers). But there a few out there that might work... otherwise you'll have to raid eBay or your local second-hand store (and hope everyone else in your area doesn't have the same idea!)

There are obviously women's versions of all these, but I figure females are smart enough to follow the links and find them themselves!

Read The Raven

One of the most famous poems ever written

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -

Only this, and nothing more."

[cut for space; you can read the rest of The Raven] here and learn more about it on Wikipedia]

I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.

Raven Puppets! - Quoth the Raven "Nevermore"

The one line that everyone knows from Poe's work is the Raven's "Nevermore" quote. For a more fun and recognisable costume, you should add a raven on your shoulder. A raven is also a good prop for future halloweens, for atmosphere, or witchy costumes!

Folkmanis Raven Hand Puppet
Folkmanis Raven Hand Puppet

With its movable beak, this Raven puppet will crow "Nevermore!" from the treetops until the dawn breaks or your fingers get tired. A prevalent figure in folktales, legends, stories and fairy tales, this bird makes a good storytelling companion.

Movable mouth and wings. Wing pockets for extra movement

This sixteen-inch plush raven is the most expensive (and the best looking) but there are a few slightly cheaper alternatives below.


Other Raven Puppet Toys - Find a bird to suit your hand!

Raven Figurines and Statues - Interesting ravens to place around the house - but not to carry!

If you want a slightly more impressive raven than a toy puppet, and don't actually have to carry it around with you, then a raven figurine placed on a wall or table would add to the atmosphere - and wouldn't look out of place in your house afterwards!

Edgar Allan Poe's Signature - Really Get In Character! Sign Things With EAP's Signature!

The signature of Edgar Allan Poe. For the cosplayer who takes it just a bit too far...
The signature of Edgar Allan Poe. For the cosplayer who takes it just a bit too far...

I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.

Books By Edgar Allan Poe - In case you like gothic writing, poetry, mysteries, detective stories, horror...

Woud you recognise Edgar Allan Poe on the Street? - Would the obscurity be part of the appeal?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This year I'm going to be Edgar Allan Poe, but instead of a suit , I'm going to wear trousers and a strait-jacket with a raven on my shoulder and never more painted on the jacket .

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 6 years ago

      I didn't do the Halloween quest, but am blessing this one. I like how you walk people through the different steps, discuss second hand suits etc. You're selling on these lenses, but not just selling, as you discuss the various ways to go about dressing like someone else. Poe is the obvious choice, but maybe a whole host of literary characters...

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      The raven would be the clincher. Blessed on the Squidoo angel Halloween quest.

    • chgreen profile image

      chgreen 6 years ago

      I love literary lenses. Would love to see some little Edgar A. Poes this Halloween!

    • cuteordeath profile image

      cuteordeath 6 years ago

      I love this idea! :)

    • CynzdaReveur profile image

      CynzdaReveur 7 years ago

      Hey, this is different.. Great idea..;)

    • emmaklarkins profile image

      emmaklarkins 7 years ago

      Never thought of this for a costume, but it's a good one!

    • Specialeetees profile image

      Specialeetees 7 years ago

      Definitely, although I must say I would have more of a problem if he was sitting having coffee with Groucho Marx, might have to do the eeenie meeenie mineee mo thing :)

      Brilliant lens BTW, my best selling Halloween Invitation was my crow this year, popular that Poe fellow :)