The Most Iconic YA Characters Make Great Haloween Costumes

I love Halloween, and books, so you know I love it when those two things come together!

My Favorite YA Characters as Costumes

There are some iconic YA characters out there in the world that everyone knows. Even better, YA characters tend to have super simple outfits you can easily copy for a costume!

The Most Iconic YA Characters (Make Great Haloween Costumes!) from Author K.G. Wilkie, on time travel background

 

Some of My Favorite Teen Characters

  • Madeline
  • Katniss Everdeen
  • Alanna
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Frodo
  • Percy Jackson
  • Gregor the Overlander
  • Harry Potter
  • Jace Lightwood


How Easy Would Those be to Make a Costume Out Of?

For Katniss, you’d need a leather jacket and a hair braid. Then there’s characters like Tamora Pierce’s Alanna (If you don’t know who that author or character is, you need to get on it stat. Tamora practically started YA Fantasy as we know it.) who you’d need a full gold suit of armor for.

Okay, I’ll admit these aren’t necessarily easy costumes. But they would all be super cool!

Who are your favorite teen characters? What costume are you wearing this year?

How to Become the Hero of Your Own Story in 5 Steps

How To Be Your Own Hero in 5 Steps hero confidence self-esteem self esteem mountain travel

I used to spend every second of every day with my nose stuck in a book, jealous of all my favorite heroes. Spending all of my time wishing that I lived in these other places and that I could maybe one day have an adventure fall into my lap just like it happens at the beginning of every quest book.

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I love this series so much I bought a print boxed set of it. You can try your library or buy the exact same set I have here.

But you and I aren’t Princess Cimorene. A talking frog isn’t going to come up to us one day and offer to help us solve our problems. There are plenty of real humans in the world who are willing to help, of course- the suicide hotline (US number: 1-800-273-8255), friends, all the usual things about a trusted adult I’m sure a million people have said a million times at this point. Still, though there is truth that kindness may be hard to find in difficult times but it never dies, no one can help you if you don’t help yourself. No one can help you go on adventures if you refuse to talk to the frogs that offer them.

So one day I decided I was done waiting for the day when someone would pop up in my life and offer me adventure under the right circumstances- I had to prepare myself to be ready for adventure to happen at any time like with Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit, or to chase down my adventure for myself.

Somewhere between traveling the world and committing to be a full time writer as an actual career that I pay the bills with, I think I’ve found my adventures. I’ve turned a few opportunities down, of course, because being unable to say no is also problematic, but I think it’s a great skill to be able to helm your own life and know what your dreams are so you can chase them down. That brings me to my first point:

  1. No one has the power to make your life what you want, besides you

    • You can’t wait for your parents, or friends, or fate to make life happen for you. If you sit on your couch and just let life pass you by, you’ll be one of those people who wakes up one day in their fifties and realizes they haven’t chased a single dream or done a single thing they were compassionate about in their whole life.
  2. No one has the power to stop your adventure but you

    • Of course everyone has their own inner demons, and faces their own life problems- prejudice and hatred can bring you down in very real ways, and people who live in less than ideal places like a region bombarded with bombs won’t be able to just prance into a dream life. But you can still have something to live for, no matter what your life is like. You can still find some measure of at least satisfaction in even the most trying circumstances. And if your life is a more peaceful experience in the suburbs, you really are all that is holding you back.
  3. Don’t depend on others to make you happy

    • Positive Psychology, the study of what it looks like when the brain and psyche are actually working properly (as opposed to regular psychology, which you must admit learning too much about can make you paranoid and think everyone in the world has a mental illness whether they truly do or not) says that happiness is a fleeting and situational response, while joy is a constant and a mindset. So, in a way, it is sort of true that other people and things make you happy, but they don’t make you content with your life overall, and that’s the thing that leaves a searing ache in your heart when it’s missing. Cultivate joy, and if you don’t know how, check out this page which does a pretty good job of summarizing at least the basics I learned in my one semester of this stuff.
  4. Looking for everything to fail in your life means it will

    • Look, I’m not saying you should be bubbly peppy joy-joy all the time. Optimism isn’t really everyone’s thing. But if you give up before you even get started doing something, you will probably sabotage yourself without even realizing it. This goes double if your goal is to make friendships and all you talk about to potential friends is whining about not having friends, because being whiny is really annoying to most humans. It’s not that other people don’t whine, make excuses, and play the blame game- it’s just that it’s best not to fixate on it and be stuck in that mindset all the time. If you can limit verbally sharing your whining with the world to the minimal amount you need to feel better about things, even better then.
  5. You deserve to be the kind of person who sticks up for yourself

    • Why do you need a hero? Is your life boring? Do you hate hate hate school? Try to be your own greatest hero and find some way or thing that can make your current life satisfying, or even fun. Make a game of doing boring tasks. Try to figure out how to give to your relationships in such a way that you get the love and friendship you need. Tell someone what isn’t working, and problem solve ways to fix it together. And if that still doesn’t help and you can’t change things up so it gets better? Figure out how to rescue yourself from the situation- drop from the advanced math class to the easier one, break up with a friend who just cannot stop being toxic, get to work building the career you actually want to have. (And yes, even if you are younger, creative jobs like the indie book biz or IT jobs can be started when you are a teen as long as you can put in some work and do the research.)

I used to be the kind of person who read because I was bored of my own life. Now I enjoy reading about adventures AND I go on my own. It’s a win-win when you decide to look for your own adventures instead of waiting for them to come to you.

 

The Mecca of Bookish Spaces

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My own shaky photo is not as nice as the official one from their website at the top of the page!

You may notice here a photo of a gorgeous building. This is in fact a building that was engineered in its time to be grander and more “Western” than the original Western European spaces is was meant to outshine- with the addition of copious amounts of the newly invented light bulb.

That’s right. I went to the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress

Obsessive literature nerds, like myself, may know the Library of Congress as being the national library of the United States. Especially if you’ve followed this blog and remember I’ve already posted about their digital offerings inspiring me before. If they were local they might even realize that it’s completely open to the public and hosts public bookish events all the time in an attempt to remedy their reputation as being for researchers only (they totally aren’t) as well as to further their aim of spreading literacy through programs like The Center for The Book and the national library for the blind as well as capturing the American story through recordings of interviews with laborers of every job and veterans and all sorts of people whose stories are rarely heard.

What I like is that it is literally the biggest library in the entire world. They have four giant buildings worth of books, scrolls, films, reels, movies, magazine, folios, photos, music sheets. They cover law and science and that sort of thing but every novel conventionally published in the United States, and occasionally some self published books as well, are kept there. You’ve name it, they’ve got it. They even have a collection of something called fiches, which I have never heard of before.

A Great DC Day Trip

It was a magical place to visit, even if it wasn’t my first time there- but honestly I could go daily to each of the many reading rooms and public rooms and galleries and presentation rooms and I still would not see all there was to see.

What’s your favorite bookish place?

Men and Domestic Abuse

pexels-photo-626164I know, that’s a super cheerful title, huh? Sarcasm aside, I really do think this is an important topic. Well, I guess you can kind of tell that, the whole crux of the plot of my first book was a daughter dealing with parents that involved a female abuser married to her male victim. Because of that, I ended up doing a lot of research on adult men in abusive relationships like the character suffered through, and I found that it’s actually a very common (though silent) problem.

It’s not a very fun thing to think about, but sometimes I like to read about things that are important too, and I think my readers feel the same way.

According to the CDC (as reported by Huffington Post), one male is the victim of domestic abuse every 37.8 seconds. And they aren’t the only ones who think it’s a problem. So if it’s one in four American men being abused at least once in their lifetime, what about the rest of the world? The Guardian reports that 40% of all domestic abuse victims in the UK are men- and that’s not including underage boys in their teens, just full grown being abused by their spouse, partner, or other person they are living with. The Toronto Sun goes so far to say that “Domestic violence against men is frequent and significant, and a rarely acknowledged fact.” And there’s Australia, where the campaign One in Three for male abuse victims claims as many as one in three Aussie men are victims of abuse.

Probably the most disturbing reality of male abuse victims is that most of us haven’t heard of them. You probably can’t name a male abuse victim safe house in your state, or even your whole country, while shelters and safehouses abound for women who have suffered the same life threatening fear and abuse. Male abuse victims can be maimed by revenge acid attacks, and beatings, and castrations, and even rape or murder- all of it not because they have done any crime or wrongdoing but because they started a relationship with an abusive terrible human and now that they’ve become a target. It’s not so easy for any abuse victim to leave their abuser.

If you follow discussion boards online set up for abuse victims you may hear stories of men wanting to leave, but their girlfriend or wife or stalker threatened to call the police and claim the abused victim was actually the one doing the same things, and when faced with the chance of going to jail for something they are innocent of doing they have another incentive to stay and continue to be a punching bag.

It’s also easy for anyone to say that if a man is getting beaten up or otherwise hurt by their partner then they should defend themselves. If you think about it though, if the victim can be charged for assault for just standing there and taking the abuse and attacks, they definitely can be charged for protecting themselves or fighting back.

It’s a hard topic to talk about. I’ll leave out links to more graphic resources, but if it’s a topic that’s of interest to you there’s plenty more material you can dive into to learn more about male domestic abuse victims. In the meantime though, if I can leave you with only one sentence on the topic it would be this, “When we talk about domestic abuse, please remember to categorize abusers as abusers and victims as victims instead of painting it as men are always the abusers and women are only ever the victims.”

Now if you or someone you know is suffering from abuse, keep in mind that there are resources out there for any gender or sexuality of victim: emotional support, and even financial support, is out there for you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch puppies and kittens online now. I’ve had enough of reading and writing about abusive situations for now.