Outtakes 219


by Cait Collins

Halloween is a fun time for me. I don’t hand out treats from my apartment, but I do participate in kid centered activities. Sometime I dress up, but for the most part I’m happy to just hand out the candy.

I often wonder what makes a child decide what costume to wear. For example, does an Astrid (How to Train Your Dragon) outfit make a shy young lady feel more confident and bold?

What about the cute, quiet little girl in a devil’s costume? Is she truly a little horror or is she as sweet as she appears? The family of birds made an impression on me. I cannot imagine the time it took to stitch all those “feathers” together to make the costumes. But the real question is, why birds? Is there a sense of freedom in the idea of flying? So if we chose to go around in masks on October 31, do we also use masks the other days of the year?

A multi-faceted protagonist has numerous faces. Maybe he hides his loneliness behind a mask of indifference. His unrequited love of the school teacher is masked by an affair with the waitress in the diner. The only time he feels confident is when brokering the takeover of a struggling company. Although he is successful in business, he has no sense of fulfillment. But the most surprising mask is his need for high-risk adventure. The trick is crafting these different traits into a believable hero. The treat is when the writer makes it work.

Pick a character crafted by a favorite author. Make a list of the character’s traits and the methods the person uses to hide his flaws and the attributes he dislikes. How would you write the character?


2 thoughts on “Masks

  1. If you question why kids pick a certain costume, I would recommend reading about what characters and settings and mood mean in dreams where puns and metaphors reign. You may see a connection.

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