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!
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?