Happy Halloween!

To everyone who was pummeled by this weekend’s blizzard, I hope you’re staying warm and dry. A white Christmas is one thing; a white Halloween quite another!

In honor of Halloween, I’ve reproduced a blog post from the vault, from October of 2007: The Costume Less Traveled. Because, let’s face it, my costumes were always just a little bit… esoteric.

What was your best–or worst–Halloween costume?

The Costume Less Traveled
Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

The genius girls in the office next to mine have come up with a new way to wile away the hours: a Quiz of the Week. Every week, a new question appears on their dry-erase board. Last week, the question was “What Would You Be If You Weren’t a Lawyer?” The answer to that one is easy. A princess. Duh. Someone else put “a frog”, which struck me as going for the wrong end of the fairy tale. But I suppose frogs are always being tossed golden balls and other trinkets by princesses on the lookout for princes in disguise, so it can’t be all that bad, even if you are stuck croaking on a lily pad all day and have to deal with all those snide comments about warts.

But I digress, as usual. This week’s question, appropriately enough, was “What Was Your Weirdest Halloween Costume?” Someone put “a frog”. We seem to have an amphibian leitmotif running– or rather, hopping– through our office.

My Halloween costumes always tended towards the esoteric rather than the amphibian. In college, I belonged to a group which held a “Come as your favorite literary character” party every Halloween. As you can imagine, there was usually a plethora of Scarlett O’Haras in big, hooped skirts (it’s amazing what you can do with three hoola hoops and a roll of duct tape), a few Daisys from The Great Gatsby, and generally at least one Phantom of the Opera lurking in the general vicinity of the punch bowl, searching for a susceptible Christine Daae. The very best costume was that of my friend Evan, who borrowed a burka from a Middle Eastern friend and went as an ink blot.

As for me? Well, let’s just say my costumes were usually greeted with, “Who?” One year, I went as the Belle Dame Sans Merci, complete with a friend dressed in tin foil who was meant to be my “knight at arms, alone and palely loitering”. (There’s nothing like a human prop– among other things, they fetch you drinks.) I got a lot of “the Belle Dame sans WHAT?” Another year, I was Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey (yep, you guessed it, “Catherine WHO?”). For my crowning achievement, I made myself an elaborate eighteenth century gown with panniers so wide I had to sidle sideways through doorways and went as Evelina from Fanny Burney’s novel of that name. Find me someone else who has read Evelina and I will be their friend for life.

As for this year? I think I’m going as a Tired Author, complete with unfinished manuscript pages heavily scored with red ink.

What about you? Do you have Halloween costumes of which you’re particularly proud– or embarassed? Any plans for this year’s costume?

Only one more day until Mistletoe paperback….

Happy Pumpkin Day, all!


  1. Jessica S. on October 31, 2011 at 8:49 am

    One of my favorite costumes, in grad school, was a little girl playing dress-up. I found a too-large dress, wore silver shoes from a bridesmaid experience, striped long socks, and as much gaudy jewelry as I could pile on. Oh, and a hot pink feather boa.

    Last year’s was pretty lame, I was just a cowgirl. My cousin had suggested I be Jessie from Toy Story since I have the name and the red hair, but it was too hard to replicate her exact look at the Goodwill store — I like to find costume pieces at thrift stores.

  2. Ammy Belle on October 31, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Funnily enough, this year’s Halloween costume is from Anthony Burgess’ “A Clockwork Orange” – but mostly taken from the film of the same name … sans the white pants (white after labour day! Perish the thought!)

    Happy Halloween! 😀

  3. jeffrey on October 31, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I won the office Halloween costume contest several years back by dressing up as Merlin the Magician. The whole outfit was home-made and I modeled it after the wizard on Fantasia’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Pointed conical star-covered hat, long white beard, flowing robes, magic wand, etc.

  4. Michelle Springer on October 31, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I didn’t dress up this year, but I have the perfect costume for next year… I’m thinking Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! I have a whole year to get that one ready. I can’t wait. 🙂

  5. Emily on October 31, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Find me someone else who has read Evelina and I will be their friend for life.

    Me! Oh, I love that book! It was the first classic I ever read outside of school, even before Jane Austen.

    My Halloween costumes always start out very ambitious in my head and quickly devolve into, “I guess I could wear all my jewelry and wrap a sheet around myself like a sari and go as an Indian princess.” The last time I had a costume I was really proud of was in first grade, when I went as an angel, with a tinsel halo and big fancy cardboard wings.

  6. Ginger Tsang on October 31, 2011 at 10:06 am

    All my costumes growing up had a type of theme – princess, indian princess, snow white, a queen, an angel (my Mother got a kick out of that one), but my best costume was to dress as the Queen of Hearts. This one was for a college party and I’d still like the cream the guy that came up with the phrase, “Hit the deck!”…because some party goers did. Just so we’re clear, even plastic axes hurt!

  7. Joanne M. on October 31, 2011 at 10:27 am

    “Come as your favorite literary character……” LOL – I think we hung out with very different crowds in college! In my day, a white sheet worn as a toga and a beer can was de rigeur for the guys!!!

    My best Halloween costume was many years ago when I dressed as….Dolly Parton, complete with teased platinum blond wig and padding! Lots and lots of padding!! And of course, I won the “Booby Prize” at the party!! 😉

    Happy Halloween!

  8. Nancy on October 31, 2011 at 11:52 am

    The best costume I have ever seen was a friend of mine dressed up as a Ninjineer (ninji-engineer). Te costume consisted of the traditional black ninji costume with a scale (ruler) as her sword, a pocket protector filled with paperclips for throwing stars, and a calculator for who know what.

    In the spirit of costumes with human props, my buddy was going to a party with me and my co-workers and he refused to wear a costume. Well 15 minutes later and three very determined females with makeup and hairbrushes, we had the wolf to my little red ridinghood costume. Let’s just say he was in full costume next year. 🙂

  9. Tracie on October 31, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Ha! My book buddy and I read Evelina just because Charlotte mentioned it in The Temptation of the Night Jasmine. Now we’re both prone to sighing and saying, “Lord Orville,” whenever we think a man (in real life or fiction) is behaving in a very romantic fashion. 🙂

    I think my favorite/best Halloween costume would have to be when I was 11 and dressed up like a wind-up doll – I even had a big key in my back! The make-up was fun (I had the rosy red circles on my cheeks and my freckles were enhanced) and the dress was sort of a Swiss Miss thing that was cute. It was all my mother’s idea, of course. She’s always been very clever and was good at sewing (a talent I did NOT inherit!)

  10. Katie S on October 31, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    When I was 11 my mom made me a prairie dress and bonnet and I went as Laura Ingalls. I was really into the books and American life in the nineteenth century at the time. Well nobody knew who I was and when I went trick-or-treating everyone thought I was a little old lady. I was so upset, I never went trick-or-treating again and did not dress up for Halloween till I was in college.

  11. Farin on October 31, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    My friends and I are pretty hardcore about Halloween, so we’ve had some great costumes, but my two favorites are Joan Crawford in the “No wire hangers” scene from Mommie Dearest and Samara from The Ring. I like being a pretty princess as much as the next girl, but I like scaring the daylights out of people even more!

  12. leslie on October 31, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    In 1989 after the October earthquake I dressed up as a beauty queen ala Doris Day. My sash said “Miss Earthquake 1989” I was very popular to say the least.
    Last year 3 of us dressed as the Kardasian sisters. It was alot of fun being Kim for the night.

  13. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on October 31, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    In recent years, the best costume ever was my friend Sara and I went as Edie and Patsy from Ab Fab. We got to be loud and obnoxious to everyone and harass priests while screaming La Croix at them.

    I have photo proof too: http://strange-and-random-happenstance.blogspot.com/2009/10/halloween-part-2.html

  14. Kristen A. on October 31, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    My favorite Halloween costume was from a few years ago when I was Lady MacBeth. I thought this was an awesome idea mainly because I’m in the SCA, so I did some research on 11th century Scottish women’s clothing, got a crown and some fake blood, and sewed myself some garb that I can wear year-round at events without those “accessories.”

  15. Gianna on October 31, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    One of my favorite costumes was from freshman year of High School when two of my friends and I dressed up as the Three Headed Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We even created our own dialogue that we based off of the movie and improved based on it the whole night.
    We went Trick or Treating and most people had no idea what we were supposed to be, but those who knew were so excited!

Leave a Comment