miss nelson is missing November 01


Top Ten Characters I Wish I Would’ve Been for Halloween by Cindy Minnich

I’m going to start out by saying that I did dress up this year. And not unlike the year that I dressed up like Death from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic book series, most students didn’t know who I was. I wore loose mismatched clothes and my thick-lensed glasses, carried around a teacup and a wand and pretended to be Professor Trelawney. I guess I could have worn a wig and sported some more bangles – maybe it would have helped. Unlike the year that I dressed up like Death, I picked this one because I had those things handy and didn’t have to actually plan anything.

But, like every single year before, I feel as much regret about not going all out for Halloween costumes as I do for eating far too much candy. So here are the characters that make my shoulda list over and over.

going bovine

Dulcie from Going Bovine

From the first time I read the description of Dulcie (she’s described on Goodreads as “a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit”), I knew that she would be awesome. Once I read the book, I knew she’d be the most awesome character to dress up as. Broad angel wings that she paints differently nearly every time she sees the main character Cameron, combat boots, bright hair, and tons of attitude – she would take some planning to get together. Sure, it would be easier to celebrate this book on Halloween by making a CESSNAB t-shirt and carrying around a bowling ball, but Dulcie would be so much more fun.

harry potter azkaban

Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter

Halloween is about embracing what you are not. And Bellatrix would have to be the most extreme form of that. But dressing up like my favorite Death Eater for the day would be a walk on the wild side.

magic school bus

Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus books

I have always loved Miss Frizzle’s style – whether it be her taste in fashion or the way she gets her kids to learn and appreciate the world around them. I’d probably have to commission a dress to be Miss Frizzle, but I’d just have to dream about having a magic school bus.

miss nelson is missing

Miss Viola Swamp from Miss Nelson Is Missing!

No question about it. We teachers who have read Miss Nelson Is Missing! have all dreamt about having our evil twin take over for a while to get our kids to appreciate us. I’d settle for getting to be Miss Viola Swamp for the day.

pippi longstocking

Pippi Longstocking

I read these books over and over and over again when I was a kid. I loved her spunk and bright red hair and the fact that she didn’t have to answer to anyone. A jumper, a red wig that I could put into pigtails, a monkey to carry around and call Mr. Nilsson, and the chance to stick my tongue out at people would be all I’d need.


The Queen of Hearts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

When she’s not busy ordering executions (which never actually happen), she’s busy playing croquet and ordering people about. But the potential for a fancy costume here is huge. I always loved ball gowns – and who wouldn’t want to be queen for the day?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Professor Minerva McGonagall from Harry Potter

I genuinely love this character in the books. And I love how Maggie Smith played her in the movies. But this would be an easy costume – a witch’s hat, an academic robe, a wand…and a tabby cat to sit on the desk to grade papers while I’m out of the room for lunch.

click clack moo

Cow from Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type

This book never ceases to make me laugh. I think I’d just wear a cow costume and bring in my electric blanket. And maybe unearth my typewriter for the day.

hunger games

Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games

Let the kids be Katniss. I have a fondness for bright and flashy costumes – someone or something that would be easily recognizable. Her make-up would require some help and I would definitely need to go shopping. She’s not a last-minute character. But I think I could handle saying, “May the odds be ever in your favor” over and over.

the hidden staircase

Nancy Drew

I owe my love of mysteries to Nancy Drew, the Bobbsy Twins, and the Hardy Boys. I always saw her as bold and confident and ready to take on any challenge – and that left more of a mark on me than the other mystery series. A smart skirt, sensible shoes, and a flashlight would be a must for this costume – but so would standing up straight and looking ready for anything.

Share with us your favorite bookish costumes – whether you’ve done them or not!

Cindy Minnich is a high school English teacher at Upper Dauphin Area High School. She lives among piles of books at home and at school and lives for the opportunity to talk books with anyone. She blogs at Charting by the Stars