Halloween and the Writing Animal

Annette the Undertaker

Halloween has always been special to me.  It combines two of my favorite things:  pretending to be someone else and candy.

There’s something about recreating myself as something totally different that’s just plain fun. As an adult (maybe even especially as an adult), I love to think about how to build a costume and character.  Something as simple as a Teddy bear can get the wheels in my head turning and my eyes scanning the house, the yard, and the thrift store for supplies.

I’ve been some cool characters in my time. A grey* sheet from a discount store turned me into Gandalf the Grey in college. (My roommate dressed up as a dwarf and a friend as an elf. It was a good year.)

I actually hand-sewed a Teddy bear costume from a furry blanket once. (I avoid sewing machines since my mishaps with them are legendary.) I’ve dressed up as an undertaker, a fly, and Morticia Addams. Last year I even dressed up as a vacationing witch (complete with broom and Hawaiian shirt) for one of my classes.

At my age, is this normal?

Who cares?!

As a writer, it is essential for me to step outside myself and become something else. I must put on the guise of the client or the reader to make my writing communicate more effectively.  I need to be able to gather the resources around me to create something that may be different from my norm.

Any type of writing involves creating something great from the raw materials that encircle us.

Fiction writers use the same skills to create characters as I do when I create costumes. They take the resources that surround them (situations, landscapes, personalities, politics) and remold them into something new.

Like a Halloween costume, it’s familiar enough to be believable while fantastic enough to be exciting.

That’s the fun part about being a writer. Is it any wonder I love a masquerade?

*Before you guys get on your high horses to tell me I’ve spelled “grey” wrong, I looked it up, and this version is interchangeable with “gray” although the “a” spelling is preferred in the United States. Hey, I like “grey” better. So there! (Insert Bronx cheer here.)


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