Jacqueline West, Writer

Bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere and Dreamers Often Lie

A Very Merry Unbirthday

July 31, 2013    Tags: , , , , ,   


Yesterday was THE STRANGERS’s 2-week birthday.  I’ve been getting lots of wonderful notes from readers who’ve already finished it (and are tapping their feet impatiently for the next volume), which makes me feel happy and lucky and relieved.  I know I’ve said it before, but if you are one of those who has finished and enjoyed the book, I hope you’ll consider leaving a review or rating at Goodreads, Amazon, B&, or another book site.  That sort of response really helps.

And, for the second week in a row, VOLUME ONE: THE SHADOWS had made the SIBA bestseller list, where it has moved all the way up to #4!  (This may be the one and only time in my life when I’ll outrank Suzanne Collins.  I’ll take it.)

In celebration of these two crazy weeks, I’m offering two signed hardcover copies of THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE, VOLUME FOUR: THE STRANGERS, to be sent directly to the homes of two lucky winners and enjoyed (I hope) at their leisure.

Here’s how to enter:

As those of you who’ve read it know, THE STRANGERS begins at Halloween — Olive dresses up as a jabberwocky, Leopold is the Duke of Wellington, Harvey is the Hunchcat of Notre Dame, and so forth — so, in the comments for this entry, describe your own favorite Halloween costume.  On Wednesday, August 7 (one week from today), I’ll select two winning entries at random.

My own favorite Halloween costume was one I never got to wear.  In fourth grade, I was going to be Alice (from Alice in Wonderland, in case you know any other Alices).  I had a puffy blue pinafore and a white blouse and patent leather Mary Janes and a black velvet headband, and I even had a white rabbit puppet to carry in one arm.  And then, on Halloween morning, I got the stomach flu.  It was a school day, but I soldiered on, throwing up twice in the girls’ bathroom without letting anyone know — and I was the kind of kid who would totter dramatically down the hall to the nurse’s office at the onset of an imaginary headache at least once a week, so this was a genuine struggle — because if I endured to the end of the school day, I could finally put on my costume for the class party.  In the end, I didn’t quite make it.  A teacher noticed my face, which I’m sure had the color and texture of a mushroom by then, and my mother came to pick me up half an hour before the party began.  I spent the rest of that Halloween in my bedroom, so sound asleep that I didn’t even hear the friends and neighbors ringing our doorbell and shouting “Trick-or-Treat.”  Sigh…

Your turn.


18 Comments (Leave a comment)

  1. My favortie costume would have to be one that my mom and I put together. The stores overseas were out of costumes in my size so I had to be creative. I found a black and white polkda dot dress, black dressy shoes and a fancy headband. “I’m snow white,” I told my 4th grade classmates. Of course snow white didn’t wear an outfit like that. I ended up winning 1st place in the class costume party for being most creative.

    Comment by nicole cabaniss on July 31, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

  2. My favorite would have been when I went as a bag of jelly beans. I had a clear plastic garbage bag that I put on with arm and leg holes. We filled it with small blown up balloons in all colors and then tied the bag shut. It was a little difficult to sit in but that’s okay!

    Comment by Erin J on July 31, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

  3. One year my mom made me a Pippi Longstocking costume, complete with a wire hanger in my braids to make them stand out. It was pretty awesome. 🙂
    Congratulations on being #4! That’s super awesome!

    Comment by Rachel Schieffelbein on July 31, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

  4. The only costume I remember from my childhood is when I dressed as a gypsy. I think I was in 6th grade. I was so excited because I got to wear makeup and lots of jewelry. That was back in the 70s before all of these fancy costumes that you buy from a store.

    Comment by Dawn Lewandowski on August 1, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

  5. My favorite is a vampire witch.

    Comment by Samantha on August 1, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

  6. My favorite costume is a cat. I like the long tail, whiskers, and ears.

    Comment by Carissa on August 2, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

  7. My favorite costume is the Eeyore one I wore when I was pregnant. When you pushed on the hands it says “thanks for noticin me” in that wonderful Eeyore voice. Congratulations on being #4, well deserved!! Please don’t enter me in the contest, I own a copy already.

    Comment by Brenda on August 2, 2013 @ 10:29 pm

  8. My favorite Halloween costume was last year’s. I was a witch, I had on my mother’s black dress and a witch hat(I made my Dad drive all the way to town to get it) and i used a black vintage handbag for holding candy. But the best part was my makeup.My very-talented mom did it herself. I had dark arching eyebrows, and full black lips, my eyeliner brought out the soft deciving look in my brown eyes.I had a wonderfull time, me and all my friends went from door to door collecting candy. We were all joking and having a great time when the night got even funner, my BFF Leila came tearing down the road and said “guys guess what” “what?” We all asked.”just come with me” she said. We ran after her, as she led us to a man who was giving out stuffed animals, they were sooooo soft! I got a black and brown dog. After we all headed to our friend Cody’s house were we sorted and traded our cady and little animals.-Tayniao

    Comment by Taynia on August 3, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

  9. Taynia – You’ve won a signed copy of THE STRANGERS! (I loved your description, by the way.) Please send me your mailing address at, and the book will be on its way.

    Comment by JacquiWest on August 7, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

  10. My favorite ‘costume’ was one I made a couple years ago when I was pregnant with my surro baby. I took a black long-sleeve shirt and painted a (skeleton) ribcage and arm bones on it. Then to make it complete, I painted a baby skeleton on the stomach area. Perfect for a pregnant lady! I wanted to make pants as well, but I was pressed for time. 🙂

    Comment by Tabitha on August 4, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

  11. Last year I dressed all in black and then used electrical tape to make a dotted line from my chin to my ankle and taped a plastic fork onto the shirt, I was a “fork in the road” .

    Comment by Karey on August 5, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

  12. My daughter’s favorite costume so far was her sparkly witch costume she had last year. I’m not sure what my favorite was but maybe my munchkin costume (wizard of oz) that was actually made for a play.

    Comment by Courtney Byrum on August 5, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

  13. My favorite Halloween costume was when I dressed up like Rapunzel from the movie Tangled when I was in 4th grade.I liked that costume because it came with a wig and Rapunzel’s dress.It also came with plastic purple glittery shoes.I liked the wig the best because I have short sandy brown hair now and I did then too so I liked how my wig was long and blonde.I’d always wanted my hair long and blonde because I thought it was pretty and I always did.It was cool to have long blonde hair even though it was only for a couple of hours.I felt like someone else in that beatiful costume.This is why I liked my Rapunzel costume the best.I love seeing it on my shelf.It brings back many memories:)

    Comment by Hannah Girdley on August 5, 2013 @ 8:12 pm

  14. My favorite costume was Mary Poppins! I put it together in the last few hours before a huge Halloween Party! I had so much fun pretending to be Mary Poppins! I also loved my daughters costume last year, at 5 she choose to go as a hot dog!!!

    Comment by Kim Sandusky on August 6, 2013 @ 1:09 am

  15. Kim – You’ve won a signed copy of THE STRANGERS! (And I’m sure Mary Poppins made for a fabulous Halloween costume. I always wanted her magic suitcase…) Please send me your mailing address at, and the book will be on its way.

    Comment by JacquiWest on August 7, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

  16. My favorite Halloween costume was when i dressed up like Hiccup form How to Train Your Dragon. We have this viking hat and this fur coat. And it was fun cause it was a unique costume.

    Comment by Caroline on August 6, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

  17. My favorite Halloween costume is this lego costume i have. its made out of a box and it is really cool. it is my favorite because i love legos and i like to build things with them.

    Comment by Ian on August 6, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

  18. My favorite Halloween Costume would have been The Madd Hatter 🙂
    I had made the Hat out of cardboard. I stitched up a green pattern to put around and cover the cardboard so it looked cool. I bought a blue blazer and added some flowers to it. With a flower patterned tie around my neck and my fleece stitched shirt which was pink and my white make-up was put on my face. I wore a orange wig on my head and I carried a sword with me. My socks were striped in green and purple and knee high. I fashioned a kilt that was red, blue, and alittle bit green. It was a piece of flan all. My shoes were a red converse type. I wore that thing in my sleep. It was seriously the best costume ever!

    – Chase

    Comment by Thomas Chase Gielish on August 7, 2013 @ 1:17 am

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