It’s October again, which means Halloween will be top of mind for millions over the next several weeks.  One of the primary aspects of the holiday – other than candy – is dressing up in costume.  And that’s where our writing exercise focuses today.

An Autobiographical Sketch

Pick a costume from your past or your child’s past.  It’s even better if you have a photo of the costume available to use as a reference.  Write a paragraph detailing why this costume was chosen, what you liked about it, and what the reception was from those who saw you in it.  Be descriptive as possible.  Make the reader feel like they are experiencing this Halloween costume and all its emotional connections with you as they read.

This can be either in the past or present tense.  

Details Count

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to do some detail digging.  We know from the initial paragraph how you chose the costume, but did you go into detail using the five senses?

Write a paragraph about how the costume felt, sounded when you walked, smelled – if it was store-bought, it might have had a plasticky smell from the bag it came in – and if you wore face paint or makeup, what that tasted like.  

Drawing a picture with words is a great way to practice showing and not telling in your writing. 

A Matter of Perspective

Finally, write a paragraph from your first-person perspective about your experience wearing the costume to school, work, or a party.  How did you feel?  How did others react?  How did the environment change how you acted while in your costume?

If it was your kid’s costume or someone else’s, write from the third-person perspective about your initial reactions to seeing the costume and how the person acted within their environment.

But What If I…

If you don’t celebrate Halloween or dress up, no worries.  You can do the same exercises, but imagine yourself in a costume you find and write a fictional account of your experiences.  

Final Thoughts

Using details, showing and not telling, and using different POVs to tell a story, you can find new ways to engage your readers and give them fresh perspectives on familiar things.

Happy Writing, and I’ll see you next time!

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