A Literary Halloween

It’s nearly Halloween, and instead of bemoaning how quickly the fall has gone and the imminence of winter, I’m going to celebrate instead: Halloween’s an excuse for literary costumes!

Me as Portia from A Merchant of Venice. Or as Hero from Much Ado About Nothing. Or as... I forgot.

Personally, my default costume is “Shakespearean Heroine of the moment.” I’ve been Juliet, Hero, Viola… all the fun females from the Bard. I’ve been villains, too, like Bellatrix Lestrange (from Harry Potter), and Miho from the webcomic Megatokyo. I know I’m not the only one; The Book Bench is collecting photos and GalleyCat is offering ideas.

Why do we dress up as favorite characters? When we read, we immerse ourselves in the world and its people, making them seem real—and dressing up as them lets us make them real for an extra day, extending the enchantment of the book. We also look up to characters: we want to have their bravery, or intelligence, or beauty. Being a villain goes the other way: it lets us indulge in our curiosity about the impulses we don’t want to give in to, the power we don’t want to have lest it corrupt us.

What literary characters have you been for Halloween, or would you like to dress up as? Why?



  1. Posted October 26, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    My son is going as Captain Underpants this year. It may not be high class but it is literature. LOL
    I don’t know how to put a pic on here or I would let you see his costume.

  2. Posted October 26, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Hmm…hottest literary Halloween costume this year would have to be Katniss from The Hunger Games. Any of her costumes would work, but I think that her dressed as the Mockingjay would be the coolest. 🙂

  3. Posted October 27, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    I wish these kinds of things happened more in Australia! I’d probaby try to go make a costume from Jonah Winter’s book, Frida, lifting one of those beautiful illustrations. Maybe even a red bird to float in on…mmmm 🙂

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