CANDY SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR CANDY!!!!
Okay, now that’s out of my system*, I’ll get to the real reason I’ve always loved Halloween: Costumes!
While extorting free sugar from my neighbors is great**, my favorite part of Halloween was always dreaming up a costume, putting it together, and transforming myself into somebody else. As a little tyke, I loved the compliments (and candy) I got while wearing a home-sewn costume crafted by my mom. Teenage me loved coming up with weird ideas and assembling them myself. The slot-machine costume with a “JACKPOT” sign, flashing lights, and a cup filled with poker chips. The banana costume that combined a Chiquita sign and a hat with bright-yellow footed PJs. The Medusa costume that required only a white sheet for a toga and putting rubber snakes in my uncombed hair.
I’ve never gotten over my love of playing dress-up. For years I played in a community band that performed a Halloween concert every year. Most years I’d pull out my sewing machine, head out to the craft store, and start working. A princess gown of burgundy brocade with floor-length sleeves. A bright-green Cleopatra costume, complete with cape, belt, and headpiece. And then there’s the Cat-in-the-Hat costume I made that I even wore for a 5K that raised funds for the local Humane Society (see above). In case you’re interested: faux fur is a pain in the butt to sew—it sheds everywhere, worse than a real cat. And yes, it was damn hot to run in. Two years later, planning for my first (and last) half-marathon—a Monster Dash to be run in costume—I ordered a bunch of dri-fit athletic fabric so that my genie outfit wouldn’t kill me.
So you can imagine my delight when I started the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and learned that a feature of each residency is … a costume ball in honor of the graduating class! I quickly dug into my reservoir of costumes and turned my burgundy princess gown into a Queen of Hearts costume for the Assassins’ ball. Later, I took my moon fairy princess costume and lit it up for the “Midsummer Night’s Steam” ball. I’m an introvert, like many writers, but ask me to your costume party and I’m likely to be there with bells on. Or electric lights. Or a funny hat.
My Halloween story in 13 Candles doesn’t involve any costumes, but it does involve a Cat-without-a-Hat. Click here for ordering info.
*I lie: sugar is almost never out of my system.
**Sugar is an essential food group, hence the footnote above.