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Posts Tagged ‘literary’

Book-Inspired Halloween Costumes

Halloween goes hand in hand with creativity. What better complement to creativity than making a Halloween costume inspired by your favorite books? In honor of all the wonderful works that have displayed in e-readers, sat atop nightstands and rested on bookshelves, I’m inviting you to get creative with a book-inspired Halloween costume this year.

So many of our favorite stories became our favorites because of memorable characters like the Mad Hatter in “Alice and Wonderland” or Mr. “Cat in the Hat” himself. Even comic book superheroes have become popular choices, keeping up with the classic nostalgia. Novels also pose great options, allowing you to think boldly and unconventionally. I know from watching my mom create handmade Halloween costumes for herself and my sister and I growing up that it doesn’t take much to make something that stands out. I’ve seen her transform into Pinocchio, the Mad Hatter, the Bride of Frankenstein, Thing 1 and countless others. All you need is an idea and an eye for replicating from your very own closet. If you don’t want to make your own, there are plenty of low-cost character costumes at your local shop waiting to be worn too. Dressing up in a Halloween costume isn’t just for kids and teens. It’s the perfect opportunity to express enthusiasm for beloved book villains and heroes. Here are a few book-inspired costume ideas that can be made easily and quickly. Happy Halloween!

Mad Hatter (Alice in Wonderland)

Photo of my mom as the Mad Hatter. (Credit: Jaclyn Rosansky)

Photo of my mom as the Mad Hatter. (Credit: Jaclyn Rosansky)

While you may think this costume is difficult and time-consuming to make, I can tell you this is not so. Last Halloween (2014), I helped my mom create this costume using only pieces from her closet. We used layering techniques in her clothing to get her the Mad Hatter look. She wore a bright blue pair of tube socks, a black top hat from a previous Halloween costume. And I did her makeup complete with orange eyebrows. How did I give her orange eyebrows, you ask? Eyelash glue, cotton balls, and temporary orange hair spray. I pulled apart cotton balls to create an eyebrow shape, sprayed them in the hair spray and after drying, glued them to her own eyebrows with the eyelash glue. The final result? A Mad Hatter costume that was both cheap and simple to make.

Cat Woman (Based off of the comic book)

Photo Credit: "Cat Woman 4" by Joe Colburn. nodomain1 / Foter / CC BY

Photo Credit: “Cat Woman 4” by Joe Colburn. nodomain1 / Foter / CC BY

Cat-inspired costumes are great because they don’t take much to make. Whether it’s Cat Woman or Cat in the Hat, all you need is some makeup, black clothing and possibly a few accessories. For this costume, a pair of black leggings, a black shirt and black heels or boots can give the look of this superhero. To make cat ears, an old wire hanger bent into the correct shape and a way to attach them could be a clever option. Even a headband with cardboard cat ear cut-outs attached could work. As for the black mask, you can find one at the local craft store or paint one directly on your face with makeup.

Pinocchio

Photo of my mom as Pinocchio. (Credit: Jaclyn Rosansky)

Photo of my mom as Pinocchio. (Credit: Jaclyn Rosansky)

The main character of this childhood story was a puppet with a knack for lying. This is another costume my mom made one year, and I was impressed with how well she captured Pinocchio’s essence without spending much or devoting a ton of effort. Once again, my mom raided her closet and found red shorts, an appropriate shirt, and she made her own suspenders. Buttons and felt cut to size gave the right look. A piece of scrap fabric was used for her collar and eyeliner was used to draw on her puppet lines. For her nose? She attached two rubber finger protectors together and wore them on her nose. It still surprises me how well it stayed on!

What book-inspired Halloween costume will you make or wear this year? Share in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

Where Writing Can Take You This Summer

"Tell Your Story." Photo Credit: Damian Gadal / Foter / CC BY

“Tell Your Story.” Photo Credit: Damian Gadal / Foter / CC BY

Creative writing, poetry, fiction, short stories and so many other types of expressive writing are sometimes taken for granted in school when rigid educational standards and testing are prioritized. Writing, however, is a skill that goes hand in hand with reading and literacy and should be practiced in all forms including creative ones. Crafting a story from the imagination is a talent that cultivates creative thinking and should be encouraged. Whether you’re just starting to write, college-bound, working or interested in taking a writing class, opportunities are endless. You may be surprised at how many doors will open when you know how to craft stories and poetry. This summer, challenge yourself to start writing and see where it can take you. As Dr. Seuss wrote, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Here are five wonderful places where writing can take you this summer:

1. Writing poetry can lead you to compete:

If you have an interest in writing poetry, there are contests and competitions you may want to check out. Blue Mountain Arts Poetry Card Contest is one in particular that awards you and doesn’t require an entry fee. The contest is held bi-annually and you can enter as many times as you wish. Non-rhyming verse is preferred.

2. Writing can encourage you to craft your talent:

Sometimes writing camps are good options for young writers who want to attend a program over the summer. You meet other like-minded writers and get to have your work critiqued. One such program offered by the Emerging Writers Institute allows 10th-12th graders to craft works of poetry, fiction, plays and more under the guidance of talented instructors. This particular program is housed in residence at top universities and dates are available in 2-week time-frames throughout the summer.

3. Writing can inspire you to visit the local library:

Believe it or not, your library does offer writing workshops and classes over the summer. Chances are it also offers these services year-round. Check with your local librarian to find out what writing classes and events are being offered in your hometown. Once you start writing, you may visit the library more often to find new books to inform your writing. Also check out National Novel Writing Month in November and see what you can do to prepare for it this summer.

4. Writing can take you on a travel adventure:

Sometime in the course of your education, you may get an opportunity to study abroad. Writers have many options available to them to do this. One program to consider is the Prague Summer Program for Writers which now operates as an independent entity. Being able to apply directly removes the obstacle of being enrolled at a specific university. If this program isn’t right for you, there are lots of others. Beginning a writing journey this summer can prepare you for a study abroad adventure next summer!

5. Writing can teach you about yourself:

The terms “writer” and “introvert” are often associated together. This does not mean every writer is an introvert or every introverted person is automatically a writer. The association comes from society’s idea that if you write, you are more attuned with your inner self and thus able to channel that better with words. I have learned that writing can teach you a lot about yourself and your inner voice. The more you write, the better you become at listening to what it’s trying to tell you. Let your words be your guide and you will always find your way. The New York Times op-ed “Writing My Way to a New Self” by Hana Schank provides a firsthand account of how this sentiment is illustrated by writing.

Where is writing leading you? Let us know in the comments section or Tweet us at #ProQuest!