How is Halloween like writing fiction?

To my mind, dressing up for Halloween is a little like writing fiction—we get to make up our own characters and take on a new persona, at least for one night.

I don’t have my costume for this year yet. I want something easy to move around in because I’ll be hosting the drop-in Drop-Dead Eulogy Writing Workshop at the E.A. Poe Memorial Benefit and Wake for San Diego Writers, Ink on October 21.

Working on the committee for the Poe event brought back memories of the years in the mid-nineties when we staged the benefit at The Writing Center.

In 1995, I went as The Queen of Everything. And a haughty bitch I was, too. The next year, I clothed myself completely in black, including hands, face, hair, and wore a sign that said, “A Shadow of My Former Self.”

One Halloween I went to a party as a flower, wearing a green turtleneck and green tights with plastic vines wrapped around my legs and a huge painted cardboard cutout of a daisy around my face. I kept bumping into people with my “petals” and the thing blocked virtually all sound when I was face-to-face with anyone. I had to read lips. And never mind trying to dance in that get-up.


(Note: this isn’t me; it wasn’t that long ago.)

Oh, and the year I went as the Statue of Liberty. I had to keep that one arm raised all night, hoisting my “torch,” which was actually a cheap cut-glass bud vase that looked vaguely torch-like. Meanwhile  the other arm was clasping some book to my breast. I don’t remember the book I chose, but it was sweat-drenched by the end of the night and I had a bitch of a shoulder cramp the next day.

Carmen Miranda was fun—plastic fruit from the Salvation Army balanced on my head and speaking with a goofy accent all night. And those big hoop earrings. My bananas kept sliding off and catching in them. But something about adopting that persona let me dance like I’d never danced before.

carmen-miranda-stampThe Biker Nun in leathers with “Born to Raise Heck” fake-tattooed on my arm was about as scary as I ever got, if you can call a biker nun scary and I suppose some people would. I’m not one for blood and knives and vampire teeth or mummy anything and zombies scare the hell out of me. Still, there is something about a satin-lined velvet cape that a Dracula might wear that I find deliciously seductive.

What was your favorite Halloween costume? Have you designed this year’s yet or are you keeping it a secret?

PS: The E.A. Poe Memorial Benefit and Wake will take place on Friday, Oct. 21, Barracks 16, Liberty Station, 7-10 pm. I can’t wait for the Scary-oke performances or WRITE OUT LOUD’s reading of some Poe stories! Hope you can join us.


2 thoughts on “How is Halloween like writing fiction?

  1. My costume? I just show up with my face. Scares the hell outta everyone.

    One day that munchkin will see their picture with the flowers around their head. Hehhehe oh oh. Hahahahaha!

    • Aw, come on now, Leenda.
      That pix of the little munchkin was from a Good Housekeeping mag or something. I found it on Pinterest along with some really beautiful flower costumes, none of which my costume resembled.

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