It’s no surprise to anyone acquainted with me, but my black heart adores Halloween. This spooktacular holiday is one of those days where everyone seemingly likes all the same dark + weird shit I do. Basically, my shadow self* feels strangely validated.

Blame the decision to get a literature degree on my persistent creepiness; no one can read that much “canonical” literature & not come out adoring morbidity. Like, literally every story I read from the 19th century features at least 2 characters dying from CONSUMPTION!

But still, I’ve always had a strong attachment to Halloween & books. Maybe that’s because of one my (probably now defunct) favorite Halloween traditions: dressing up as literary characters.

When I was elementary (PreK to Grade III), I attended private school. That meant uniforms & a very limited amount of times when you could wear non-school clothes. One of those times was Halloween + the Halloween Parade. I got to wear a costume, but for those early years, it had to fit one criteria: you could only dress up as a literary character.

And did my mother raise to the occasion of making me costumes that I were so awesome, I not only remember wearing them — but I also still own parts of them.

My mother let me pick whatever character I wanted, & then she began the work of bringing it to life. She never asked me to be something simple or popular; I got to be whatever book character had grabbed my attention that year. This is how I came to be 3 of favorite things:

  1. Angela Ballerina

  2. The Cat in the Hat

  3. Dorothy

Now, were there issues with these costumes? Like my mother getting in trouble because the rubber slippers were my tap shoes that she’d dipped in red glitter & apparently dance studios disapprove of that sort of thing? Or that my Toto was a tan stuffed dog toy I already owned instead of a classic terrier? If course. BUT DID I CARE?!?!

Hell. No. All I cared about is that I got to be my favorite book character in real life.

I mean, I so vividly remember running around as the Cat in the Hat. It was - still is - by far my favorite Halloween costume ever. So much so that I still have the gloves, hat, bow, & the name badge from the school costume parade.

I mean, the Cat in the Hat might be an agent of chaos, but aren’t I an adorable rhyming monster?

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Check out more from Angela Ballerina author Katherine Holabird by clicking here. Plus, you can head over to the official site of Dr. Suess & The Cat in the Hat here & learn more about The Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum on Wikipedia.

Image credit: Unsplash + childhood photos taken my mother

*If you know this TV reference, I will give you a Halloween-themed treat