WeWriWa—Irina’s Halloween costume

If you celebrate Rosh Hashanah, may you have a marvellous holiday!



Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m beginning my Halloween snippets this week, from Chapter 10, “Harried Halloween,” of my hiatused WIP A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. Though I call it my fourth Russian historical, it all takes place in the U.S., Canada, and Japan.

On the morning of Halloween 1948, Irina Koneva, one of Igor’s younger sisters, gets up early to put on her costume. She just turned fifteen a few days ago, and has been having a miserable time at her new high school in a strange new city (largely based on my own experience during my junior year). Irina knows she won’t win any prizes at the school party, since she’s such an outcast, but that’s no reason to not dress up.


This year, Irina has elected to wear a saloon girl costume.  It shows off her best assets without making her look like some shameless harlot, and isn’t dull, bland, or cliché like some of the costumes she has no doubt she’ll be seeing today, like a clown, pumpkin, or fairy.  She’s chosen the classic red dress with black lace, white silk stockings held up by black garters, black block heels, peacock feathers for her hair, and a red feather boa she scrounged up somewhere.

For a final risqué touch, she gave herself a second set of ear piercings last night after she was supposed to be in bed.  She has French hook peacock feather earrings in her five-year-old original ear piercings, and golden French hook earrings with three purple pearls in the new piercings.  Never one to skimp on jewelry, Irina adds a blue opal bracelet to her right hand, a fire opal bracelet to her left hand, and a lapis lazuli necklace.

Irina has a few costume rings, though she doesn’t want to add even more jewelry and crowd herself.  She’s realized, through the last few years of starting to cultivate her own style, that it’s all about moderation and even, tasteful distribution.  Too many loud colors and patterns, or too much jewelry, will only serve to distract attention from what she set out to accentuate.  A striking costume necklace will get lost among five other necklaces, or people will only look at a bunch of animal prints instead of a jaguar print collar complemented by blacks and purples.


Irina’s parents, particularly her old-fashioned father, are horrified when they see her costume, but her two little sisters and her one older sister in the Twin Cities area love it. The other teenagers by the school Halloween party will be quite another matter!


22 comments on “WeWriWa—Irina’s Halloween costume

  1. I love her idea for the saloon girl costume and your description of it!


  2. cleemckenzie says:

    There’s such an innocence in these images. A true retro look that is very lovely.


  3. Ed Hoornaert says:

    She’s put a lot of thought into her costume. It’s daring enough that I really wonder how her classmates will react to her.


  4. I love the vintage illustrations! And the snippet was fun, so much description and she was so detailed in her planning!


  5. It sounds like maybe Irina does want to be noticed and appreciated, and that’s normal for a teenager. I hope she gets some compliments after going to so much effort. The detailed description sure helps me get a vivid picture of her outfit!

    As a moderator, though, I need to ask if you could make the actual excerpt stand out more? To several of us mods, everything reads like background info and we’re not sure which part is the snippet. Putting it in a larger font would be fine, or even stating “here’s the excerpt” would work too. We’d really appreciate it. Thanks for being a long-time contributor to WeWriWa 🙂



  6. This does a great job of showing a lot about her as well as describing her costume. Great snippet!


  7. Jenna Jaxon says:

    OMG! She pierced her own ears! *shudder* She’s a tough cookie, so the saloon girl costume sounds perfect for her. Great description of it!


  8. Diane Burton says:

    I thought the same thing as Jenna–ouch! Good descriptions. It read easily, not like a list. Nice job.


  9. Beautiful Thacher Island: Anne’s Eyes bit.ly/2cKKeIo twin #lighthouse with colorful history #folklore #GloucesterMA


  10. I have no idea what the previous comment meant. Sorry. Please delete it. What I meant to say was how lovely those photographs were–so sweet and nostalgic and a lovely fit to your text.


  11. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    I was just as shocked about her piercing her own ears, only because I wouldn’t do it to myself. But, the costume sounds wonderful. Whether her classmates like it or not, I’m sure she will get their attention. 🙂


  12. My girlfriends and I all pierced our own/each other’s ears in high school, all the time. LOL! I have three in each ear, though I never did the ones up at the top like one of my sisters has (and she didn’t do those herself!). I loved her idea and the descriptions of the costume. Also love your website makeover for the holiday, too!


    • Carrie-Anne says:

      I currently have three different types of cartilage piercings (right conch, left rook and tragus), and I never would’ve dared to do them myself! As far as self-piercings go, I don’t have so much of a problem if it’s just an earlobe.


  13. I know plenty of people have pierced their own ears… but nope. *shudder* I’d never go for it.
    Love the description of her costume–and the realization that less is more. 🙂


  14. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    Great imagery of her costume. When I was young, I pierced my ears in the bathroom using a sterilized needle and an ice cube. Five one side and three on the other. The 80s style. lol Now, only wear one earring in each ear. lol


    • Carrie-Anne says:

      Ever since I saw a ticket girl at Idlewild Park with earrings all up both ears when I was about seven, I wanted my own ears to look like that too. At the moment, I only have nine ear piercings, five on my left ear and four on my right. My particular ear anatomy wouldn’t support piercings all around the outer curve of the ear, but I still want to fill my ears up with more piercings. Since eleven is my lucky number, I’d like to try for eleven on each ear (which includes non-standard cartilage piercings, like the daith, tragus, and conch).


  15. P.T. Wyant says:

    What a colorful costume! I’m really curious as to what sort of reaction she’s going to get at school.


  16. Such a wonderful costume idea and photos to highlight this post with (saloon girl outfits are something one encounters relatively often here in Canada, particularly when you head north to the arctic where they’re used to tie into the rich gold rush history – and continued industry – there). I adore that you’re blogging up a storm about Halloween this year, too, dear gal.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica


  17. She’s certainly tough to pierce her own ears! I could never do it. Love the costume choice, and she sure knows like she knows her stuff when it comes to fashion.


  18. I do so love that Halloween greeting illustration!

    Marvelously descriptive writing, Carrie-Anne. It was easy to visualize her costume. 🙂


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