What Are You Going To Be For Halloween?


Ah, Halloween, that magical day when you can dress however you want and no one  looks at you like you’re crazy. A geisha? Sure! Get in line. You get to lead the school costume parade. An angel? Awww, how sweet. A scarecrow? Very seasonal.

By the time freshman year in college rolled around, Halloween took a more, shall I say interesting, route with great memories of being dressed like a little girl, with pigtails and teddy bear, dancing with a friend who was Dr. Frank N. Furter, the Transylvanian transvestite from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Must have made an interesting tableau. Or the basketball team roaming the halls, tied together as a six pack of beer, oh, I mean soda.

My finest Halloween came after raiding the theater department’s costume room (I was taking a children’s theater class that semester) for my Mozart’s mistress dress, real corset and all. People were still talking about that costume at my 25-year reunion this past June, along with my 18th-century up-do, achieved with an entire can of hairspray and baby powder.

In Until My Soul Gets It Right (The Bibliophiles: Book Two), the Bibliophiles classics book club members go on a field trip to All Hallow’s Eve at Naper Settlement, a local living history museum. They see Edgar Allan Poe and the three witches from MacBeth, plus Dracula and a Puritan witch trial, all good, frightening, classic literary festivity .

Wouldn’t it be fun to dress as a literary character or author this Halloween? Here are some of my favorite ideas.

William Shakespeare. Donning the Bard’s costume is as easy as wearing a blousy white shirt and tucking slim-cut pants into the top of white knee socks. To create the Elizabethan ruff (collar), simply fold a piece of paper into an accordion pleat, punch a whole in the top and thread string through the holes. Tie it around your neck, and fluff it out as you see fit. Draw a small mustache on with black eye pencil, and carry a quill. Huzzah!

Photo courtesy of Urban Outfitters.

Carrie. Have an old prom or bridesmaids dress you are never going to wear,? Poor red paint on it, part your hair down the center, and pour fake blood all over yourself. You’re Carrie from the Stephen King novel of the same name! Works best with a slinky, 1970s-style dress.

Tom Sawyer. Wear frayed, worn jeans, a plaid shirt and a straw hat. Tie a bandana at the end of a long stick. Bingo! Easy as pie.

Nancy Drew. Assemble a preppy ensemble of a plaid skirt, oxford shirt, blazer and a cloche hat. Carry a magnifying glass. Friends with a clue will know who you are immediately.

Edgar Allan Poe. What’s Halloween without an hommage to the creepiest of all 19th-century writers? With a white dress shirt, black suit (with vest), and a mustache drawn on with black eye pencil, you will be Poe in no time. Don’t forget the raven for your shoulder or to carry.

These are just a few of the many possible options. What would your favorite literary Halloween costume be?

This post originally appeared as a guest blog on CMash Reads.


Kelly Hashway said…
A Poe costume would be amazing!
angel011 said…
I'm just a Poe boy, from a Poe family... Err, sorry. Halloween costume? Hard to think of one, since we don't celebrate Halloween here. A black cat, perhaps?
Kelly, I think so, too.

Ivana, lol, but no Halloween in Serbia? What about All Hallow's Eve or Samhain? Just curious.
Libby said…
I support dressing up like Poe!
angel011 said…
Karen, there's nothing official, although some people might organize themselves to celebrate Halloween, or Samhain if they're pagans, and there are also those who celebrate St. Luke's day if it's their "slava" (the Serbian custom of celebrating a family patron saint).
Great choice, Libby. Thanks for stopping by. Love the cover for your new book, by the way. Best of luck with it.

@Ivana: Thanks for the info!
Nickie said…
The Carrie costume is very cool. I don't think I'm going anywhere for Halloween this year, but I've been wanting to dress up as Cher for a long time :)
That's a good costume. Nickie. Thanks for your comments.

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