Confession time: I actually don’t enjoy dressing up for Halloween. I never really have. I have friends who can’t wait to try out their costumes, and who practice their makeup weeks and weeks in advance, but it’s never been my kind of thing. However … if I was given the chance to become a character from a book for Halloween due to some kind of magic, I could totally go there. So, here’s my list – non gendered, sometimes non-human, with no age restrictions, and perhaps a little out there.
* Jim Qwilleran’s Siamese cats, Kao K’o-Kung (Koko for short) and Yum-Yum from Lillian Jackson Braun’s “The Cat Who…” mystery series.
You may not be a fan of the cozy mystery, but for a while, I devoured every Lillian Jackson Braun book that I could find. Growing up in small town Ontario, I could relate to the bemusement of transplanted city newspaperman Qwilleran as he settled into life in Moose County. What I loved best, however, was the pair of Siamese he ‘adopts’ when their millionaire owner passes away. I adored Koko in particular. He’s a highly intelligent cat who expects to be adored (what cat doesn’t?), eats lobster and other fine foods, and who is read to by Quilleran on a nightly basis. He is also highly prescient, and is able to knock books off of the bookshelves to give his human clues to solve the mysteries in each book. Yum Yum doesn’t have Koko’s psychic powers, but is a charmer who often pilfers important items that also guide her human. Well loved, well fed and highly literate? Able to nap all day at will? Sign me up! I’ll be a cat anytime, not just for Halloween!
* Prudence “Tuppence” Beresford from Agatha Christie’s Tommy & Tuppence detective series
Tommy & Tuppence aren’t the most popular of Christie’s sleuths (Poirot and Marple seem to grab those crowns) but they are my absolute favourites. They are best friends who end up in love with each other, accidental blackmailers who decide that they like solving crime better than committing it, and generally delightful characters to read. Tuppence is impulsive and excitable, while Tommy is a bit more even keeled – some even think he’s a little slow – but they are, at the end of the day, the classic British ‘Bright Young Things” of the 20’s. They, like most of Christie’s characters, age over time, and eventually go on to have three children while continuing their sleuthing ways, rousting Nazis, working for British Intelligence and eventually becoming grandparents. Imagine the fashion! The excitement! What a great character she would be to portray!
* Moira from Kelley Armstrong’s Age of Legends series
Yes, I know that Ashyn is supposed to be the “nicer” of the siblings, but you can keep nice. I want the kick-butt attitude of Moira. Never mind Katniss and all her angst – I want to be a Keeper! In the first book, we learned that Moira is not as confident as she seems, and that she has a vulnerability to her that I’m sure will be explored in future books. However, she’s also strong, motivated, capable and, despite appearances to the contrary at times, she does love her sister and mourns the loss of her village. I’m excited to see what happens to her in future books, but would be more than happy to have her skills for Halloween.
* Alina from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy
I adore Alina. She is, at the heart of everything, true to who she needs to be – a simple girl from humble beginnings who was capable of tremendous things with a great gift. Alina sacrifices everything to keep others safe, and throughout it all, she remains herself – doubtful, honest, honourable and loved. Throw into that the tremendous world-building that Bardugo creates in her series, with vast Russian landscapes, quirky characters, incredible magic and power and deep-rooted evil. When you consider that Alina – the true Sun Summoner – is the light to the Darkling’s history of blackness, you begin to understand that she really is an incredible character. I have no idea how I would portray her at Halloween (shy orphan, Sun Summoner, Saint – flashlights at my wrists, maybe?), but I’d love to try.
* Reenie Starr from Vikki VanSickle’s “Summer Days, Starry Nights
It’s the balmy days of summer in 1962 for Reenie, and she’s on the cusp of a new beginning at the family resort of Sandy Shores. Throw in a mysterious new entertainer, an older brother who’s pulling away from his family and a growing awareness of the world around her, and Reenie is in for an interesting summer! Why would I want to be Reenie? Think of the music, and the hair and the clothes … I’d probably dance my way from party to party, crushing on boys all the way. Even though it would be work, she still has the best place in the world to be – a resort! – and I completely understand her devotion to the place.
* Rory from Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy
Okay, you’re going to have to work with me on this one. If you’ve read Lawson’s sophomore book, then you know that Rory is the manically-smiling raccoon on the front cover … and that he’s a stuffed, dead raccoon. I’m not saying that I want to be taxidermied for Halloween, but a crazy smiling raccoon that makes people feel better, simply be being there? Yep, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Rory is a favourite of Lawson, and to her, he is always positive and upbeat and congratulatory, and he gives her a feeling of “unconditional encouragement and praise.” C’mon, who doesn’t want to provide that to people? Besides, it’s Halloween. When else are you going to dress up as a dead raccoon?
* Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation from Erin Bow’s The Scorpion Rules
Let me very clear here: if you haven’t read Bow’s mind-bendingly amazing political/dystopian/adventure/hella good book yet, then you probably don’t realize that Greta is not your standard Crown Princess. As a Prisoner of Peace, she works on a farm with ornery goats, picks apples and squash (in scenes of vivid detail) and works the land, all the while wondering if each day may be her last. She’s tough and brave and frightened and a reluctant leader, but a leader all the same. The only trouble with this choice for Halloween is that I couldn’t do it without the goats, and they would either climb trees or eat my candy.
* Kaz from Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows
What’s this? Another Bardugo character on my list? Absolutely. Inej is amazing. She’s not as flashy as Nina, but her stealthy nature has rightly earned her the name “Wraith”. Her crazy parkour-like movements would best Stephen Amell, and when you consider that smouldering hint ‘o’ something between her and Kaz you realize that she a woman of deep passion and loyalty. While I might get into some trouble for carrying around all those knives, no one would be complaining when it came time to carve the pumpkin. Besides, who doesn’t look great in black? (Image credit to http://kevinwada.tumblr.com/)
* Mark Watney from Andy Weir’s The Martian
Okay, this may seem like I’m jumping on the pop culture bandwagon with this one, but think about it. The end of October is cold, people, and a full body suit would keep you warm. If it’s rainy, just put your helmet on – voila! Totally dry. The gloves may get a bit cumbersome, its’ true, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons for this one. If you’ve read the book, you know that Watney is funny as hell, and super clever. He grows potatoes on Mars, and figures out how to survive on a planet that can basically kill him in an instant – and seems to try to do so every few days. Pick up a few pebbles as “samples”, carry around a couple of potatoes as reference and you have an on-point up to the minute movie costume.
* Phryne Fisher from Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Fisher Mysteries
Phryne Fisher is pretty amazing. She’s an heiress, she’s smart and independent, she is sexually confident and professionally intuitive and she seems to have a multitude of hidden skills. This is the woman who was a circus performer, flew her own aeroplane, danced a suggestive fan dance and drove a (for the time) high speed racing car, all the while solving crime! She also has arguably the best wardrobe ever – full of silks and totally up to the minute in fashion. I like her because I appreciate her devotion to her friends, and that she is a fully independent woman who lives life on her own terms. What’s not to like – and imagine the fun you’d have dressing up!
Who would you be if you could be any character from fiction for Halloween? Question any of my choices? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!