Friday, August 30, 2013

Ten Nerd Girl Costumes Inspired by TV and Movies

These are my top ten nerd girl costumes inspired by television shows and movies.

I figure there are two choices - the stereotype schoolgirl with taped glasses or a recognizable character from a popular TV show or movie.

The school girl is easy enough and everyone will immediately be able to identify your costume.

Those inspired from some of the geekiest girls on the screen might take a little more effort but they'll be much more unique and liable to earn you points for creativity.

There are many to choose from and I've listed my top ten below.  I think you'll find this list spans ideas for little girls, teens, and adults.  In no particular order:

#1 - Dr. Temperance Brennan from the TV show Bones

Dr Brennan from Bones Season 3
Bones is a nerd from head to toe and probably one of the hottest brainiacs on TV.  Her combination of sexy and geek works well enough to land David Boreanaz's character, Booth, as her life partner. 

It's not enough that she's a forensic anthropologist by day but her ideal vacation is to...wait for it...examine more bones!  So bring some with you when you go out for Halloween.  Just tuck them in your lab coat pocket.

 One of my favorite set of lines from the movie:

Special Agent Seeley Booth: When the FBI gets stuck, we call in the squints.
Dr. Temperance Brennan: Squints?
Special Agent Seeley Booth: You know, you squint at things.
Dr. Temperance Brennan: Oh, you mean people with high IQ's and basic reasoning skill?
Special Agent Seeley Booth: Yeah.
(Source:  IMDB

#2 - Penelope from Criminal Minds

I don't know what Penelope's title is as part of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis unit on the show Criminal Minds but she's a total tech nerd.  The one-time underground hacker now yanks outlandish amounts of information out of the web with lightning speed using her fingers and a keyboard.

She's not exactly quiet or shy but she's super bright, very sensitive, and likes to switch up her look by the episode.  No matter what, though, she's always got a pair of nerdy-chic glasses.

You can find a ton of different looks for her by searching through Google Images but if you want to go the easy route, use this Penelope T-shirt as part of your costume and dress like the picture on the front.  

#3 - Ally Sheedy's Character from The Breakfast Club

If you remember the 80s at all, The Breakfast Club might be on your list of top movies of all time.  A group of teenagers find themselves in detention, each struggling with their private version of teenage angst and each representing a different high school clique.

Ally Sheedy plays Allison Reynolds, the quiet, shy, loner girl who could be pretty if only she cared.  She's defined as the "basket case" in the group because of her oddball behavior such as demonstrated in the famous lunch scene below.

If you happen to be going to a Halloween costume party where there's going to be food, you really should mimic some of her behavior from this scene.   The more 40-50 year olds in the group, the better.  You might need a strong stomach and a pile of Pixie Stix. 

#4 - Scooby Doo Nerd Girl Velma Costume

Certainly one of the most recognizable cartoon nerds for all generations would be Velma from Scooby Doo.  Without her intelligence, vast amounts of stored knowledge, and the ability to decipher puzzles and clues just how effective would the gang be at solving mysteries?

#5 - Jess from New Girl

Jess New Girl TV Show
Dorky girl moves in with three supportive, lovable guys?  You can see why this might be a hit with the targeted demographic.  It stars Zooey Deschanel, real life sis to the woman who plays Bones (earlier on the list).  She plays Jess in a show called New Girls.

How could I leave her off?  She also played the thoughtful, quirky teacher in Bridge to Terabithia, one of my favorite movies.

I haven't actually watched more than an episode or two of the show but I think this actress is so charming and she can be so very funny.  She even made a guest appearance on her sister's show where her character quotes Benjamin Franklin lines as a way of communicating with those around her - hysterical to watch and her dry delivery was extremely memorable.

# 6 - Amy Farrah Fowler from The Big Bang Theory

To help me come up with this list I went to my three boys and asked them for names of nerdy type girls in their favorite shows and movies. 

My middle son (16) came up with Amy Fowler from The Big Bang Theory before I'd finished my sentence.  He's a huge fan of the show which doesn't surprise me because he's extremely cerebral and literal.  (If I ask him what time it is, he asks me to which time zone I'm referring.)


There's so much material to work with in the above video that I'm still laughing.  Just pick a scene and copy her look and you'd be all set.  There's a pajama scene, there's the one with the hair remover on her lip, there's even one of her dressed up as Raggedy Ann and she even makes that look geeky.

Two things I find particularly relevant with this character.  First, the actress doesn't just play a scientist on the show - she's REALLY a scientist.  Mayim Bialik, who plays Amy, has her PhD in science.  She's no dummy.  Second, she used to star in a show called Blossom in the 90s (I know because I used to watch it all the time).  She wasn't exactly a nerd then but check out her outfits in the video below for the show's theme song...I'm thinking a couple of those are good costume ideas right there.

# 7 - Tyra Banks Librarian Nerd from Disney's Shake It Up Chicago

I mentioned in the post about my own nerd credentials that I still watch the Disney Channel. Good thing because there are quite a few inspiring costume ideas in a number of those shows.  (I don't watch the cartoons - just the good stuff...)

Tyra Banks guest starred in an episode of Shake It Up Chicago where she played a very geeky librarian.  The two girls who star in the show gave her a makeover so she'd look like a model (tough job there - I mean, it's Tyra Banks!).  As it turns out, the guy she liked preferred her librarian glasses and bright makeup.

You've got to check out her hair, if nothing else.  Stick some nice, clean, #2 pencils in your hair either to hold a bun in place or just haphazardly spread around your wild do and you've got instant nerd hair.

# 8 - Avery from Disney's Dog With A Blog

I think the actress who plays Avery in Disney's Dog With a Blog is so cute.  I liked her when she played a spoiled, scheming trouble maker on Sunny With A Chance, too, but her character is much sweeter on this newer show.   


She's all cute nerd.  She's artsy, smart, loves school, loves her school work, and dreams about being President of the United States.

Now, she doesn't look like your typical geek because her clothes are really pretty trendy but they still have an element of dorkiness to them at times.  She has her own collection of ties and likes to pair them with her skirts.  Sometimes she looks as if she's wearing a school uniform but her school doesn't require one.

If you're a blond (or wear a blond wig), wear a cool outfit with a tie and just happen to have a dog that looks like Stan from the show every girl between the ages of 7 and 10 will probably know who you are.

#9 - Mia from Princess Diaries

She sure doesn't look like a nerd by the end of the movie but check out Mia from The Princess Diaries before her makeover.

At the beginning of the movie she's the most unassuming, haven't-quite-figured-out-how-pretty-I-am shy girl with out of control hair and glasses.  This is a very easy look to do for Halloween if you've got long hair or a long wig because it's the hair and glasses that do all the hard work here.

#10 - Josie Gellar from Never Been Kissed

Drew Barrymore can be f-u-n-n-y and I think she's dorky cute as Josie Gellar in Never Been Kissed.  She plays a budding journalist who has always been part of the geek clique and never really had a boyfriend.  In fact, she's never been kissed - not really kissed, anyway.

In the movie she goes undercover as a student at a local high school in order to find a story.  In a bit of a twist she doesn't see coming, she turns out to be the center of her article.

The most embarrassing moment in the movie is her flash back to her own prom.  She didn't realize that the hunky jock who asked her to go with him was just setting her up.   

It's hard to watch but you have to admit her getup is quite the potential Halloween Prom Nerd costume.

If you're looking for couple ideas for nerd costumes, many of these TV and movie characters have co-characters that would work for your spouse, friend or significant other so you can go as a pair.

If you've got favorites I didn't list, share them below!  The more to choose from, the better.

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