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Earlier this week, I received a party-store costume catalog in the mail and I was excited because I still love playing dress up.
Yes. I did say I still love playing dress up.


(Sometimes I’m Luna, and sometimes I’m Katniss.)

Dress up was one of my favorite activities as a kid because it was a time when my imagination became more real! Dressing up like characters and playing with props just made those imaginary worlds come alive. (Which is exactly why I’m still pushing for our first vacation to be at Harry Potter World.) I had so many awesome Halloween costumes as a kid mostly because my Mom was crafty. I was an Indian Princess one year (ahem, Tiger Lily,) Belle, a green M&M, a dead prom queen, a jester, and my favorite of all, a rain cloud complete with sparkly wig and raindrops.

Even though I rarely dress up for Halloween or make it to a costume party these days, I was still excited to see what the trend was this year.
As per the last couple of years, I was highly disappointed because our society just can’t seem to understand how not all women want to dress skimpy and sexy. In was after opening the catalog and turning page after page of terrible costumes that I proceeded to rant to my husband about how discouraging it is to find only skimpy, sex-driven costumes.
I mean, I want to be a nerdy Hermione, complete with frizzy hair and tights or a regularly dressed Alice (from Wonderland) because those are heroines who inspire me. But shortening the skirts and showing off my lady parts is not my idea of a representation of a strong heroine.

Nerdy is sexy. Intellect is sexy.

And it frustrates me when  the adult costume versions of some of my favorite literary characters are represented in a not so flattering way. I would much rather dress like my character idol and be bookish and nerdy than represent her in a bad way and share the wrong message with girls.
Otherwise, how long will it be before our 8 year old daughters, and sisters, and nieces, and neighbors, start thinking the only way to be a strong Hermione or Alice or Tinkerbell is to wear a short skirt?

We need to NOT be ok with how our society imagines and portrays our literary heroines. Otherwise, the Halloween catalogs and costume shelves will never change.

I was extremely happy, then,  to stumble upon Harper Teen’s A Bookish Halloween pinboard this week in light of my rant on costumes. They have some wonderful ideas for costumes from today’s YA genre, and if I were attending a costume party, I’d probably be a different character every hour. Here’s some of Harper Teen’s ideas:

Dauntless anyone?? (Tris from Divergent)

I think I’m more Erudite (Divergent)

Now this is princess style with class

Proof one can be a sultry siren and still look classy

My idea of a grown up (and classy) Tink

Perhaps paranormal is more your style?

My pick for this year: a flapper

If a literary character is your pick this year for Halloween, then show society nerdy is in!

Book Talk: What are your thoughts on the costume trend these last couple of years for heroines? How do you avoid or approach the topic with the young ladies in your life? If you were dressing as a character, who would you choose?  Any websites/costume ideas for other literary characters?