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

    • 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. 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

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