Ah, fall! I love fall, much like the beloved hero of the Charming Academy series, Lucian. I love the colors, the smells and most of all the cooler temperatures. This is the time of year I start harvesting my pumpkins and turning them into pies, breads, muffins and more. Apples turn into butter, cider and applesauce. My house almost always smells like something is baking whether cookies, bread or cake. The air outside becomes crisp and it starts heading toward cocoa season. And there's always football to cheer for.
It's a beautiful time of year. Perhaps because during this time I prepare for the holidays. I start looking to Thanksgiving and Christmas, planning out what I'll do and who will be on my lists.
And of course, there's Halloween.
It was never a big deal in my house growing up. We never went Trick-or-Treating or dressed up. Instead we stayed at home with homemade goodies and watched the old Disney classic, Blackbeard's Ghost. It was fun and I loved it. But you know, I always kind of missed the dressing up. I guess it's the girly-girl in me that loves getting all dressed up. The imaginative side of me loves games of make-believe. So costumes always satisfy both sides of my personality. As much as I enjoyed our family's tradition, I couldn't help thinking that getting all dressed up would have made it even better.
Now I'm grown and yes, I dress up each year for Halloween. Mostly because it's fun to play pretend with my kiddos. I love seeing what they'll do. This year, Halloween will be even more fun as I celebrate the release of the final book in the Charming Academy series: Prince Charming's Quest.
My children are already begging to be part of the fun. My daughter insists on being Moira while my oldest son is set on being Lucian. The baby will be Torch, possibly a frog prince. We'll see. I'll be dressing up as Allegra and, if I can manage it, my Prince Charming will become Adrian.
But why should I have all the fun? With this being the release of the final book in the series, I want you to have lots of fun too! So there will be giveaways and games, but I'm going to tell you about the big one so you can start preparing. We're going to have a Costume Contest!
That's right! You get the chance to dress up as your favorite character, or any character from the series. And you've got lots of options. There are princesses, princes, witches, fairies, mermaids, dragons and, in the coming book, there will even be dwarves. You can be the hero or the villain, a friend or foe. It's all up to you. And it doesn't have to be complicated. The year Charming Academy was released, I decided I wanted to dress up as Phillipa Rosepetal, one of my favorite characters. Much as I would love to have one, I don't own a riding habit. So I modernized her. Jeans, inexpensive fairy wings, riding boots and a fluttery cardigan later Phillipa emerged.
Here are the rules:
1) Choose a character to dress up as. Don't worry if someone else is dressing up as the same person. If we have 15 Moiras it will still be a lot of fun!
2) Assemble your costume. It does not have to be expensive or handmade. And it doesn't have to be true to the time period. Want to bring Lucretia forward to the 21st century? Go for it! But you should try to keep true to the character's personality. Lucretia's not likely to be found wearing anything frumpy and in the books is only seen to wear red or blue.
3) Take a picture of yourself in costume and send it to me in an email before 10pmCST on Oct. 25. On Monday, Oct. 26 I will set up a Facebook album where the voting will take place.
4) After the album is released, vote for your favorite character costume(s) and share it with your whole Facebook world. The costume with the most votes will be the winner. Voting for the contest will go through the week until midnight Oct. 30. The winner will be announced on Oct. 31.
What is the prize?
This is going to be the grand prize of the release party. The winner will receive an ultimate Charming Academy fan basket. I don't want to spoil all of it, but there will be a hand-painted horse figurine, signed books, and other great prizes.
Start planning now and get your costume together. Not sure who to dress up as? Read one of the books and see who jumps out at you. Haven't read any of the books yet? Well, what are you waiting for? Get a copy today and start reading!
Good luck! Comment and let me know who you plan to be. If you want help costume planning, I'm happy to offer tips.
Jessica L. Elliott
Author, artist, mom and super-genius