Comics and Women as ‘Girls’


female superheroes are often not allowed to reach their potential; they are given powers that are weaker than their male compatriots, and positions of lesser importance.

There are a lot of “men” in comic books: Superman, Batman, Spider-Man. Besides Wonder Woman, there are not that many “women,” and even fewer “ladies.” But there are lots of “girls”: Supergirl, Power Girl, Marvel Girl, Invisible Girl.

-The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines by Mike Madrid


Bullys and the Power of the Pack


Bully Blockers Club

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“She watched him cut in line and knock Ben’s books out of his hands. She noticed Grant only acted that way when grownups weren’t looking. After lunch, Lotty found Laurie and Barney and Ben.

“I saw what Grant did to you today, and I have an idea,” she said. “Let’s form a club.”
She explained her plan.

That afternoon, when Grant grabbed Lotty’s crayons, Barney said, “Hey, what are you doing?”

“Yeah,” said Laurie. “Those aren’t yours.” By now everyone, including Mrs. Kallberg, was watching.”

-The Bully Blockers Club, written by Teresa Bateman and illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic

Astronauts and Aliens

Astronauts and Cosmonauts

One of the best things about astronaut costumes is the androgynous nature of the design. While the astronaut costumes pictured here are modeled by men, they are actually non-gendered costumes. Proof? Take a look at actual astronauts and cosmonauts. NASA does not provide gender-based uniforms. They all wear the same thing.

NASA Astronaut

NASA Astronaut

NASA Astronaut

NASA Astronaut










If you prefer to make your own astronaut costume, a quick Google search for Orange Coveralls and for White Coveralls provides outfits very similar to the orange and white astronauts pictured here. With a few NASA patches, some black fabric and a bit of time spent on a sewing machine, a passable costume could be created for either Halloween or the stage.

Astronaut Family

If you are looking for a way to dress the entire family in a single theme, then astronauts can be an excellent option. They are reasonably easy to make (or acquire) and they are instantly recognizable. As an added bonus, these costumes are comfortable and perfect for harsh weather conditions.

Another advantage to the astronaut family is the ability to play with colors. If mom and dad are in the classic orange or white, it will clearly set the theme. This allows the children to create costumes using jumpsuits in different colors, like pink, purple, green or black. You could even take a pair of white coveralls and tie-dye them in a rainbow of colors, add a NASA patch, gloves and a helmet – and you are good to go!

Spacewalk Suites and Helmets

NASA Astronaut - Spacewalk

NASA Astronaut

NASA Astronaut









The space walk costume is more complicated. Creating something like this from scratch will require some sewing skill. When I was volunteering in the theater, this is the kind of costume that would be purchased outright, while the coverall-astronauts would (most likely) be created. But this was also a decision made after a couple of hours (or more) had been spent shopping, comparing, searching through existing costuming wardrobes and generally determining what was the cheapest possible option.











That said, the most important parts of the spacewalk costume are the helmet, gloves and belt. If you have an obvious astronaut helmet, then the general look can be created with some silver gloves and a silver belt over white coveralls. A big clunky pair of white or silver moon boots can be added for fun or warmth.


The backpack is a fun addition for a truly complete costume, but the backpack and a white jumpsuit will not create an obvious astronaut look without the helmet and gloves.

Space Aliens

Alien Mask

Alien Mask

Classic space alien masks are a lot of fun and can be part of costumes that are as simple or elaborate as you want them to be. I have known people who purposely went out on Halloween in full masks and complete body-covering costumes because they did not want to be recognized (for whatever reason). Conversely, I have also known people who just wore a mask with regular street clothes, often carrying the mask under an arm while chatting with others at parties and putting it on for pictures or trick-or-treating.








Which brings up the question of clothes – what does a space alien wear? In the United States, the classic Space Alien costume will consist of a brightly colored robe and mask or some kind of shiny silver or metallic variation on the astronaut outfit. Another classic would consist of variations on the old Jetsons cartoon with bright metallic colors and an Antenna Headband.









Of course, the truly traditional method of creating a space alien costume requires pulling out paper, glue, paper mache’ and other crafting supplies – and spending a night at home creating something alien looking. But if you have neither the time nor the skill for that kind of project, or prefer to go with more realism, professionally made masks can be a lot of fun.

Dirt Under Nails


Dirt Work on

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I trust dirty fingernails. I am drawn to people with that half moon, the sliver of filth that indicates kinetic expertise...I trust this small sign because it implies a tangible relationship. To get dirt under your fingernails, you have to touch the world.

-Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods by Christine Byl

Fight Spiders Fight!

Never Let Me Go

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It is rare that  read a book that is both powerful enough to make me want to recommend it to everyone with even a passing interest while, at the same time, causing me to cringe from the mere thought of watching the movie.

This book describes the lives of human clones, created for the sole purpose of providing internal organs to ‘normal’ people. It is told from the perspective of a small group of clones who grow up together in the same ‘school.’

(Spoiler Alert – A bit of the ending is described)

It is simultaneously moving, touching and disturbing. When the novel ended I found myself wondering whether the most disturbing element was the ‘donations program’ or the universal and often unthinking acceptance of fate on the part of those chosen to die. I kept waiting for them to fight back while somehow knowing they never would.

They didn’t fight. They accepted the life prescribed to them and focused their thoughts and efforts on making the best of it – it was very very sad.


Madame was afraid of us. But she was afraid of us in the same way someone might be afraid of spiders. We hadn’t been ready for that. It had never occurred to us to wonder how we would feel, being seen like that, being the spiders”

“...there are people out there, like Madame, who don’t hate you or wish you any harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you—of how you were brought into this world and why—and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs. The first time you glimpse yourself through the eyes of a person like that, it’s a cold moment. It’s like walking past a mirror you’ve walked past every day of your life, and suddenly it shows you something else, something troubling and strange.

However uncomfortable people were about your existence, their overwhelming concern was that their own children, their spouses, their parents, their friends, did not die from cancer, motor neurone disease, heart disease. So for a long time you were kept in the shadows, and people did their best not to think about you. And if they did, they tried to convince themselves you weren’t really like us. That you were less than human, so it didn’t matter….While that remained the case, there would always be a barrier against seeing you as properly human.”

“…that night, it seemed to me these dark byways of the country existed just for the likes of us, while the big glittering motorways with their huge signs and super cafés were for everyone else.

-Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro


Your Right to Grow


In Search of Our Mother's Gardens on

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But please remember…that no person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended. Or who belittles in any fashion the gifts you labor so to bring into the world.

-In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens by Alice Walker


Quiet Kids at School


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“It’s lunchtime again – Brian’s least favorite part of the day. Another twenty L-O-N-G minutes of kids talking and laughing with everyone else…but him.

“Brian!” he hears someone shout. “Hey, Brian – over here!”

Brian turns and sees Justin waving him over. Emilio nods at Brian as he makes room for him at the table.

Maybe, just maybe, Brian’s not so invisible after all.”

-The Invisible Boy, written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton

Classic Witch Costumes

If you want a classic witch costume then find something long, black and flowing. The most common costume images used for women-who-use-magic tend to involve striking colors and flowing fabrics.


Combine a black dress with a black pointed Witch Hat and the traditional American Halloween Witch (as found in the movie The Wizard of Oz), is achieved. You can wear a mumu, as long as it’s all-black, flowing and complimented by a pointed hat. That said, if you have a fun black dress and an old-fashioned broom (similar to the one pictured here) you can wear a more stylish hat.

Or, if you prefer, find a long flowing black Cape. You can wear virtually anything underneath as long as you accessorize with props that clearly say ‘magic,’ such as a Witch’s Broom or a Wand.


Elemental Witches

Here are a few costumes that can be used to represent a magic-user (AKA: A Witch) through the use of bright colors, long flowing fabrics, striking design and props. In every case, the addition of a Witch’s Broom or a Wand would make the costume an obvious Witch. Interestingly, a pointed hat would look out-of-place on most of these costumes.





















Classic Witches – Pregnant

Pregnant Witch

Pregnant Witch

If you are pregnant, the Witch’s costume can be easy to create, and comfortable to wear.

Take a long flowing black (or colorful and striking) maternity dress and add a black pointed Witch’s Hat. If the hat and dress aren’t Witchy enough, just add a Witch’s Broom or a Wand to complete the look.

A comfortable pair of matching shoes (even black sneakers) are all you need beneath a long flowing dress. After all, it’s Halloween – no one expects you to be wearing fashionable (much less fashion-perfect) attire.


 Classic Witches – Short

As illustrated by this image of the Pregnant Witch, it is also possible to use a dress that is short, tight or an example of the classic LBD (little black dress). Here are a few more examples of short non-flowing dresses on a classic and easy to identify Witch. However, it is important to note that, in every case, the pointed Witch’s Hat is extremely important and the Witch’s Broom is very helpful in completing the look.

In other words, if you want to go with short and tight instead of long and flowing, plan on wearing a big pointed Black Witch’s Hat and, possibly, carrying a prop or two.














Classic Witches – Color

When creating a classic Witch, it’s important to remember that the combination of a long and flowing gown (or Cape) and a pointed Witch’s Hat are more important than an all-black costume. When creating costumes for multiple people, or for the stage, the addition of differentiating colors can be absolutely necessary.

Color can be used in the classic Witch costume without sacrificing the immediately identifiable ‘Witch’ look. This is illustrated by the following two costumes, which use black and another color, to create a classic American Witch that is easily recognizable  – even without the Witch’s Broom or Wand.

Classic in purple

Classic in green






Classic in Grey

Classic in Lavender

Classic in Green

The Planet Whimpers


Slow Money

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It never occurred to us that it might not be a bang, but a whole bunch of whimpers that would do us in: too many cars and too many smokestacks and too many suburbs and too many malls and too many inner cities and too many toxins and too many sneakers made in too many sweatshops and too many mortgages and too many hamburgers and too many antibiotics and too much N-P-K fertilizer and too much pesticide and herbicide and too many rural communities collapsing and too many small and midsize farmers giving up the ghost.”

-Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered by Woody Tasch

From the introduction: “We have to find a new form of economy, an economy that knows how to govern its limits, an economy that respects nature and acts at the service of man, a situation where political and humanistic choices govern the economy and not the other way around. We have to discover new economic relationships that move at a more natural pace.

Community Is Everything



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What if they tell me that I’m not cut out for any faction? I would have to live on the streets, with the factionless. I can’t do that. To live factionless is not just to live in poverty and discomfort; it is to live divorced from society, separated from the most important thing in life: community.

“My mother told me once that we can’t survive alone, but even if we could, we wouldn’t want to. Without a faction, we have no purpose and no reason to live.

-Divergent (Divergent Series) by Veronica Roth