Halloween– from the Archives

As part of our Halloween countdown, here’s one of my favorite posts from the archives, on the topic of Halloween costumes.

I wrote this post– eek– seven years ago, back when I was still juggling writing and lawyering. At the time, I was also participating in a group blog called the Access Romance All-A-Blog. On blog days, I’d get up extra early, put on my lawyer uniform of pin stripes and pearls, dash off a post– or, at least, intend to dash off a post. Forty-five minutes later, I’d look at the time, make alarmed noises, go on a mad search for my keys/wallet/office ID, and then scurry off to the office.

The other funny thing about this post? Looking at that date stamp reminds me that, at one point, Eloise was contemporary, or at least pretty close to contemporary. And that I’ve been writing these books for a very long time now….

It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago, does it?

Without further ado, Halloween, 2007 style:

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 embarrassed? Any plans for this year’s costume?

It may have been seven years, but some things never change: the Tired Author Halloween costume is definitely my pick for this year. (Laptop in one hand, toddler in the other.)

What will you be for Halloween 2014?

We’ve had something old… and tomorrow we’ll have something new! Tune back in tomorrow for a brand new, Halloween-themed installment of Pink Carnation cookery.


  1. Sheila on October 29, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Somehow I missed that one. Thanks for re-posting. Because of my old job, I missed out a lot of Halloweens, so this year I am just going to be Retired Old Lady Giving Out Treats and Oohing at Little Kids.

  2. Jocelyn Wang on October 29, 2014 at 11:58 am

    a flapper, if there’s an era I idolize more than regency or Victorian, its the 1920s.

  3. Diana P on October 29, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    We took the kids Trick or Treating at Disneyland, so my husband and I dressed up as Lilo and Stitch. And yesterday I had to dress up alone, so I was Lilo with Stitch chewing on my head.

  4. Pam on October 29, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    My standard joke is that I can go either as Sexy Grad Student or Scary Grad Student. The difference is showering.

  5. DJ La Haie on October 29, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    Missed this post the first time around, but I love Evelina! It’s my favorite Fanny Burney novel–why haven’t they made a movie/TV miniseries of that one yet??

  6. Paige on October 30, 2014 at 12:59 am

    A frog.
    No, I will be Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series.

  7. HJ on October 31, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    I would have understood all your costumes!! What an illiterate lot you used to hang out with …

    Did you put “an author” as an alternative to “a Princess”? or would that have been too revealing?

  8. Winter on November 2, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    OMG Karen just pointed out that I missed this post and I’m glad she made me read it because I am the only person I know who’s read Evelina! That costume I’m sure rocked. Second up is the ink blot lol

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