There is a “hashtag” for #literarycostumes going around on Twitter. (Are you on Twitter? We are and would love to have you follow us @wellesleybooks. We try to be interesting and bookish- yes, just like we are in person.) Hashtags are basically flags or key words for topics that are being discussed on Twitter. A simple # in front of a word or words makes it easy to follow the thread of a discussion and anyone using the hashtag can contribute. #literarycostumes is basically people wanting to hear about other people’s ideas for great Halloween costumes based on book characters. This and the hashtag #allhallowsread really have me thinking ghoulish.
So because Halloween is almost upon us I’ve just changed the display of Fall books on the table at the front of the store to have a little more creepy-scary on it. Neil Gaiman, husband of Amanda Palmer and fabulous author of such bestsellers as Coraline and The Graveyard Book (one of my favorites) for kids and American Gods and Anansi Boys for adults, is promoting the #allhallowsread hash tag. He would like to see people give books for Halloween because there aren’t enough holidays to give books. We couldn’t agree more - it’s a wonderful idea, or, as he puts it, a modest proposal. If you want to see his blog post or a great video of him in a cemetery with some zombies follow this link http://www.allhallowsread.com/. That’s why I have an All Hallows Read sign on my display.
I started thinking about my favorite literary costumes. I have always looked toward books to help me at this time of year (oh, let’s face it, all year) and I have worn a string of literary costumes over the years. They are fun, show my BOOK PRIDE and let’s face it - can be pretty easy. And if Halloween falls on a day of the week that I am at work at the bookstore these are some of the costumes I have worn.
My first go-to costume - one I’ve used to work in the store on Halloween because it’s ever so comfortable and easy to move around in - is good old Nancy Drew. I of course loved Nancy Drew and read all of her adventures as a kid. Nancy is pretty easy- if you don’t believe me check out any of her book covers. Sweater sets, skirts, pearls and for props a magnifying glass or flashlight.
Another year, Julia Child! Simple! A blouse, skirt and apron - dust a little flour over yourself, carry a whisk or a rolling pin and yell "Bon Appetite!" every once in awhile.
My favorite costume and one that most people (okay, mostly kids) are impressed with is Captain Underpants. I admit I’ve worn it quite a lot. But it is a crowd pleaser. I am lucky enough to own a Captain Underpants t-shirt. I forget how many years ago - Scholastic, Dav Pilkey’s publisher produced a great t-shirt and I have made it the linchpin of my costume. I bought a big pair of men’s briefs and I was almost done. The cape was tricky, I wanted to be authentic - in the book Mr. Krupp, the principal, is hypnotized into thinking he is Captain Underpants - he tears down the red curtain from his office window and ties it around his neck. In the pictures it looks red with little black dots. I wanted to buy a curtain but I have never found a curtain that fits that description. In fact if anyone out there has a curtain like that in the attic and are willing to give it up, I would love to buy it. I made a cape with a piece of red fabric instead. The great thing about this costume is how easily I am recognized, and how impressed most kids are.
OHHH and I almost forgot! The year I was BUNNICULA the vampire rabbit! I had a Bunnicula t-shirt of course, wore a set of Bunny Ears, a set of vampire teeth and pinned a big bunny tail to the back of my jeans. I thought I was hot stuff! I even carried a copy of Bunnicula around for anyone who didn’t get it. I bent over at one point to reach for a book and I felt a tug on my bunny tail, turning around – in a bit of a shock (who was grabbing my tail!?) I looked down at the cutest dog that must have thought it was a toy and tried to grab it.
So what are your literary inspired costumes?
Photos and comments welcome
(Oh and Halloween is on a Monday this year, and I work on Mondays. Stop by the store and find out what I’m wearing this year)
Lorna Ruby, book buyer