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Literary Halloween costumes

October 29, 2008 |  5:18 pm

Notleonardmaltin_1029Literary Halloween costumes are soooo much cooler than dressing up as Sarah Palin -- as if everyone and her sister hasn't already thought of her. Bookish costumes are almost endless -- you can go as a character, an author or even an idea.

I'm not sure how you might dress as, say, semiotics, but if you could do it, you would be welcome at the Brooklyn Bookstore McNally Jackson on Friday night. That's when the store is having its second annual literary costume contest.

Inspired by the bookstore's Halloween festivities (or maybe just hoping for a few costume ideas), the New Yorker's Book Bench blog has created a Flickr group for photos of literary Halloween costumes, and the blog would love for you to submit your pics.

Mine -- only one of which has been added -- include my friend Terry, left, dressed as Leonard Maltin. Soon to come is me as Nancy Drew. Too bad no photos survive of the year I dressed in a trashed wedding gown and wore only one shoe -- yes, I was Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations."

See, you knew that, because you're literary, but I did spend an awful lot of time that year explaining. "Creepy dead bride?" partygoers guessed, and the baby powder would fall from my "gray" hair as I shook my head no. The best way to avoid this conundrum is to do as Terry did and bring a book with you as kind of a literary visual aid.

--Carolyn Kellogg

Photo of Terry as Leonard Maltin by Carolyn Kellogg