She should love it: the one night of the year she could really be herself.

She could wear the full uniform with pride. The black pointy hat, the black corset and flowing skirt, the striped stockings and uncomfortable clogs.

She could take the old broomstick, consigned to the indignity of sweeping floors for the rest of the year, and fly over the town in the crisp night sky.

There was no need for layers of make-up, the warts were on full display, deemed a nice touch and brilliantly realistic – no longer a gross skin flaw to be sneered at.

Penelope sat in her bedroom and sighed. She looked round at the decapitated doll heads, frogs legs and the eyes of newts collected on the shelves. She cleared a space and put the sad little trophy next to them.

Mother would be so disappointed with her. Third prize for ‘Best Costume’ at the school Halloween party. Beaten by a Stormtrooper (shop bought, no effort) and Melissa, painted yellow and wearing silly glasses – she didn’t even look like a Minion.

‘Wonderful costume, Penelope, very detailed,’ Mrs. Harburton had said, handing over the small plastic trophy. ‘A little traditional though, don’t you think?’

Copyright J Hardy Carroll

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Al Forbes. For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

18 responses to “DRESSING UP”

  1. Great story Ian. I really felt for Penelope. What a shame that mother would be disappointed with her rather than “the system”. It’s not long since schools were revamping sports days to avoid the damaging effects of competition; now there seem to be two or three fancy dress competitions a year. As your story hints, the real competitors are the parents, not the kids, with placings dependent on who spent the most money or which parent/grandparent had the best craft skills. Brilliant writing on your part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I’ll be honest, I intended it more as a light-hearted look at Halloween in the modern world, where an actual witch wouldn’t win a costume competition as all the kids dress up as the latest film or cartoon craze – which have nothing to do with Halloween. But you’re right, there is that element of pressure to join in and have the best costume too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh that was funny! Loved the broomstick details, a nice touch.
    The last line was a hoot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, glad it gave you a laugh.


  3. Love your story! We are all beautiful on our way, but the society rules and family (mainly) are the ones to slowly kill this beauty. You captured it in a wonderful way!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cast a spell on Mrs. Harburton. Turn her into a newt. Oh, the flying on a broomstick might have been a bit of an eye opener.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Little bit of magic under the cloak of darkness.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, perhaps she should have shown a few of her “special effects” to the teacher. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopefully she saves her powers for something more important in the future!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I read yesterday that one of this year’s biggest selling Halloween masks is of Donald Trump!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That party sounds like some sort of nightmare!


  7. Well now that’s not fair at all. She really is a witch and still can’t get first prize? I just wonder if the folks ahead of her disappear someday, leaving nothing but toad’s footprints behind. 😉 Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Once she hits those difficult teenage years, it could get messy! Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Mrs. Harburton is the witch here methinks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. She should have put a curse on them so they would change their minds and give her the first prize. Good story Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When she’s a little older I think she may start using her powers a little more…

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: