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Costume Perfection


by charmedhorses

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"Does anyone know what holiday is just around the corner?" It was the end of October and the young Neopets of Neopia were back into the routines of Neoschool and all the assignments that went with it. Miss Hickle, a blue Poogle, stood in front of her class watching the hooves and paws of her students fly into the air. "Yes?" she said, turning to a green Krawk for the answer.

      The Krawk grinned proudly and announced to the class as if it were a big secret, "Halloween."

      "Very good," Miss Hickle praised. "Now, does anyone know another name for Halloween?"

      "Trick-or-Treat?" a yellow Acara guessed.

      "Close, but not quite." The Acara blushed. "Anyone else?" The teacher looked expectantly at them.

      A baby Uni in the second row raised her hoof timidly.

      "Yes, Indi," Miss Hickle called on her, relieved to have found a volunteer and one of her best students at that.

      "All Hollow's Eve," the Uni said. Her name was Indipsi and she had read stories of the bewitching holiday. Indi, as she was called by most of her acquaintances, was a studious Neopet, eager to do well. She had chosen a second row seat this year in hopes of being more discreet. Indipsi was proud of how hard she worked, but didn't care to attract attention to herself on a regular basis.

      "I knew that," a green Kougra behind Indi scoffed.

      "Then why didn't you raise your paw?" Indipsi retorted, turning in her seat to look at her familiar foe. Cush and Indi were always at each other's throats, but more often than not Cush was doing it just to see Indi react.

      "I would have," Cush replied, "but you were blocking Miss Hickle's view of me."

      "Then why did you sit behind me?"

      "It was the only seat left."

      "It was not!"

      "Oh yes, it was!"

      "Now, now," Miss Hickle interrupted. "I could see you just fine, Cush. Next time raise your paw." She turned back to the question. "Indipsi is right, of course. Halloween is also known as All Hollow's Eve. One of the longest running traditions in the history of Neopia goes along with this holiday. As I'm sure you all know, the tradition I'm speaking of is dressing up in costumes." She looked at the patiently waiting students before asking, "What are you guys dressing up as this year?"

      The young Neopets erupted with chatter, each trying to describe his or her own costume at once. Their teacher laughed and let them converse for a couple minutes before calling them to order. "Alright, alright, quiet down. Let's share, but let's do it one at a time."

      Paws were immediately flung into the air.

      "Yes, Nora," Miss Hickle called on a green Kau.

      "I'm going to be a ghost," she said proudly.

      "What a nice idea," Miss Hickle complimented.

      Behind Indipsi, Cush snorted. Indi spun around in her seat and glared at him. "Be quiet."

      In response Cush raised his paw as high as he could and when Miss Hickle called on him he said in a clear, loud voice, "I'm dressing up as a vampire."

      "What a stretch," Indipsi said under her breath.

      More and more students shared their costume ideas until the only one left who hadn't gone was Indipsi.

      "What about you?" Miss Hickle asked her. "What are you planning to be, Indipsi?"

      Indipsi shifted awkwardly in her seat. "Well, it's…sort of…a secret."

      "Oh, alrighty, then," Miss Hickle said. "I'm sure we'll all look forward to seeing what it is." The blue Poogle continued her lecture on Halloween until school was let out and her students bustled out the door.

      All the way to her Neohome Indipsi thought of the upcoming holiday. Halloween was only a week away and though Indipsi had read many stories, the truth was that she didn't have any costume ideas.

      Indipsi lived in the outskirts of Neopia along with her owner, Charmedhorses. The pair lived in the country and though Indipsi loved their Neohome, it was a long commute to and from Neoschool. When she arrived home Indipsi was breathing heavily and the cause of this was more than just the exercise. (Over time Indi had become well-conditioned.) Today her heavy breathing was in part to the panic that she had risen to over a Halloween costume.

      "Hey, Indi! Welcome home!" Charmed called when she heard the front door open and close followed by the familiar clip-clop of hooves.

      "Hi, Charmed," Indipsi moaned. Dropping her school bag on a family room chair, she proceeded to lie on the carpeted floor, her pink belly exposed to the ceiling. What am I going to do?" she muttered.

      "About what?" Charmed asked. She had come to check on her Uni only to find Indi sprawled on the floor.

      "I don't have a Halloween costume," Indipsi confided in Charmed, her voice full of agony.

      Charmedhorses couldn't help but laugh. "Indi, you sound so worried. I'm sure we can put one together."

      "But I don't know what I want to be."

      "Well, that's just a minor setback."

      "Minor? It's major! How are we going to make a costume if we don't have any idea of what to make?"

      "I bet I can come up with something," Charmed said. "You could be…an ice cream cone!"

      Indipsi's face wrinkled in disgust.

      "Oh, come on! We could put a big round ball on your head to make it look like ice cream."

      Indi's reaction didn't change.

      "No? Fine, new idea. You could dress up like a ghost."

      "Nora's going to be a ghost!" Indipsi cried. "We can't both be ghosts!"

      Charmed sighed. "I guess that makes sense, but I'm afraid I'm running out of ideas."

      "Never mind, I'll think of something," Indipsi said, getting to her hooves. "Thanks for your help."

      It was silly, but for this young Uni was important that she come up with a creative costume. She could only imagine the humiliation of going trick-or-treating as an ice cream cone.

      Charmedhorses and Indipsi lived on a great deal of land, and at times like this, when she needed to think things over, Indi would go for long walks.

      "I wonder who lived here before us," Indipsi pondered to herself. "Probably some sort of farmer who made his living off of the land."

      This was an intriguing idea and soon Indipsi was busy imagining the style of living that would have gone along with a farmer's life. It wasn't hard, seeing as she'd read enough Farmer John stories to last her a lifetime, but as Indipsi descended down the other side of their hill a brilliant idea dawned on her. Just as Indi was imagining a Kacheek dressed in trousers and a straw hat, a piece of grass between his teeth, she knew what she wanted to be for Halloween. It was the best costume idea ever (at least in her opinion) and Indipsi was so excited that she charged right back up the hill to tell her owner about it.

      "I know what I want to be!" Indipsi exclaimed breathlessly, her lack of oxygen proving to be no problem whatsoever.

      "Really?" Charmed appeared intrigued, emerging from a nearby room to hear what exactly it was.

      "I want to be a farmer!"

      Charmedhorses had always encouraged Indipsi's interest in the country, after all it was Charmed's favorite place to live, but she had never imagined Indi wanting to be a farmer for Halloween. "Really?"

      "Why not?" Indi asked defensively.

      "No, I think it's a great idea!" Charmed replied hurriedly. "But what made you decide you wanted to be a farmer?"

      "Well, I was just outside trying to imagine what it would have been like back in the day…"

      Back in the day? Charmed wondered just how old Indi thought she was.

      "…and it came to me just like a lost Warf! A farmer! That's what I should be for Halloween."

      "Alrighty, then," Charmed nodded. "Sounds great."

      "So will you help me?"

      "Help you? With what?" Charmed asked.

      "My costume!"

      "Oh, sure, of course."

      From there on it was settled. Indipsi was going to be a farmer. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. She was going to be a farmer. Indi returned to school excited for the upcoming holiday and feeling that now she really did have a secret costume -- and a great one at that!

      "Indi, I picked up the fabric while you were at school!" Charmed called to the baby Uni upon her arrival from school later that week. "Will you come try this set of overalls on?"

      "Sure!" Indipsi rushed in, eager to see how her costume was coming along. Charmed sat on their sofa hemming the leg of a denim set of trousers. They were made to look worn out, patches of various fabrics sewn on and dirt stains rubbed into the material.

      "Nothing like making a pair of good pants look old," Charmed said through the pin she held between her teeth.

      "They look awesome!" Indipsi exclaimed happily! "And look what I found in your closet!" The Uni rushed off to get something and returned with a floppy straw hat. "I thought you got rid of your junk when we did our cleaning spree."

      Charmed looked up. "That's not junk. I'll have you know that's a fine piece of gardening apparel."

      "Well, now it's a fine costume," Indipsi said. "Providing you'll let me wear it."

      Charmed grinned. "Of course. Did you pick up some boots on your way home?"

      "Yeah," Indipsi said, pulling a pair from her backpack. "I think I'm ready for Halloween!"

           **********

        "Are you ready?" Charmed asked a few nights later. It was Halloween and Indipsi had been in her bedroom getting ready for over an hour.

      "Just about!" The Uni called back.

      "You'll miss all the candy!" Charmed warned.

      "No, I won't!" Indipsi hollered in return.

      Charmed groaned.

      Fifteen minutes later, when Indipsi finally left her room, Charmed could see why it had taken so long. The baby Uni wore denim overalls with patches on both knees, and muddy boots over her hooves. (Indi had muddied them herself, taking enjoyment in first creating a mud pile and then getting to play in it.) On top of all that, Indi had applied dirt streaks to her pale pink face and tousled her mane so that she looked as if she really had just finished a long day's work.

      "About time," Charmed said, unable to suppress her own look of excitement.

      "Haven't you ever heard that the good things are worth waiting for?" Indipsi asked.

      Charmed laughed. "Alright, alright, it was worth the wait. But really, it's getting late and I'm sure there are a lot of other Neopets out there who would happily take your share of candy."

      Indipsi feigned a look of shock. "Oh no! We'd better get out there, then!"

      With that the pair left their Neohome for a night of Halloween fun. What other day of the year would allow them to hide behind another identity and collect delectable treats? They were going to enjoy it while it lasted!

THE END

Author's Note: Happy Halloween! I hope all of you have a great one! Feel free to Neomail me!

 
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