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2023 The Haunted Library: Costume Contest and Scavenger Hunt: Costume Contest


The Johnson & Wales Library celebrates the power of characters and story.

Dress as your favorite character from a book, movie, show, or story, or create a costume that reflects the spirit of Halloween. Scary, funny, pun-ny, or simple costumes are encouraged. There are no limits to the imagination!

How to Participate

To participate in the costume contest, visit the Library between 4 - 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 29, Monday, Oct. 30 or Tuesday, Oct. 31, to have your picture taken by a Librarian.

Be sure to return to this page Nov. 6-8 to look at costume pictures and vote for the People's Choice Costume winner. A panel of judges will determine the winners in the following individual categories: 

  • Best Overall Costume
  • Scariest Costume
  • Funniest Costume
  • Most Creative Costume

There will also be an award for Best Group/Team Costume, which requires a minimum of two, maximum of four people, so you are welcome to collaborate with a few friends!

Entry Rules

  • Contest is open to all Johnson & Wales students, faculty, and staff.
  • In-person participation is required. Contestants must have their picture taken in the JWU Library between 4 and 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 29, Monday, Oct. 30 or Tuesday, Oct. 31.
  • Contestants are strongly encouraged to register ahead of time. At-the-door registration must be complete by 7 p.m. Oct. 31.

Costume Rules

  • ​​​​​​All costumes must adhere to Student Code of Conduct
  • Weapons, or items that resemble a weapon or firearm, are prohibited.
  • If your costume includes a mask, please remove the mask when entering the Library so we can verify your identity.
  • Nudity (or the illusion of nudity) is prohibited.
  • Costumes that are derogatory toward any ethnic, racial, gender or religious group, etc., will not be tolerated.
  • Disregard for the rules will result in immediate disqualification. 
  • Librarians reserve the right to make a judgment call on-the-spot to protect the safety and well-being of all participants. 


We encourage everyone to have fun, and we also expect you to use good judgment and common sense in creating your costume. If you're still not sure if your costume is appropriate, please ask us!


Email Librarian Laura McShane at with any questions. 

Vote for the People's Choice Award

Vote for the People's Choice Award! Click through the pictures to see all of the entries or view a larger PDF in the box below. Make your choice and vote here by 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8. One vote per person.

2023_Halloween Costume Contest Entries by Laura McShane

2023 Costume Contest Entries (Large Downloadable PDF)

The Haunted Library: Costume Contest and Scavenger Hunt

Vote Here

Judging and Prizes

Judging will take place Nov. 6-8.

A panel of judges will review contest photos to determine winners. Everyone will have the opportunity to vote on the People's Choice winner, until 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8.

Winners will be announced, and prizes will be awarded Nov. 9


First place winners in each category will receive a $25 Starbucks gift card, JWU swag and candy.

Second place winners will receive JWU swag and candy. 

Individual Categories:

Best Overall Costume

Scariest Costume

Funniest Costume

Most Creative Costume

People's Choice

Team Category:

Best Group/Team Costume (minimum of two, maximum of four people)

Judging Criteria

Costumes will be judged on how well they are crafted. This includes: creativity, originality, effort, execution of theme, attention to detail, and presentation. 


  1. Costumes may be homemade or store bought, but please tell us if any elements were handmade. We will consider it in the judging. This includes details such as wig styling and makeup.
  2. We consider how much effort you put into styling the costume, from conception to execution. Please tell us your process in creating your costume.
  3. Don't be deterred from a simple costume. A simple costume can still make a statement.

Creativity includes how you put the items together. If your costume was constructed from materials and things found around the house and elsewhere, we look at how you combined these items and how creative you were.