By: Sandra L. Churchill
Another Halloween has flown by and memories of costume challenges, pumpkin carving, and trick-or-treating will be scrapbook-ready when I have a moment to download the latest pictures. It occurred to me that costumes have been central to our family fun and teamwork over the years.
We have sewn, glued, painted, beaded, and even wired costumes that ranged from a robot, gingerbread cookie, dragon, knight, angel, Coffee Coolatta (yes, you read that right!), chipmunk, bumblebee, Princess Flora, butterfly, Mountain Dew can, and custom-designed pink cell phone to a Hershey Bar, Cinderella, Jasmine, pumpkin, Wyatt from “SuperWhy!” and a chubby snowman (with a detachable stuffed tummy). As our older two reached the teen years, the costumes evolved to the more theatrical and medieval, with beaded masks and hooded capes.
This year, my husband joined in the fun by donning a glow-in-the-dark skeleton costume and a friend joined me with matching cupcake costumes (when you get older you don’t care what anybody thinks!) as we paraded our little guys for trick-or-treating this year.
Each year our three children start brainstorming costume ideas around August, typically during a family camping trip while chatting around the fire. The challenge was on: what did they want to BE this year? A kid at heart, I was up for any challenge. Bring it on—thanks to imagination and a love of all things artistic—I was ready. In recent years, YouTube and AC Moore strengthened my armory of costume “weapons.”
For us, costumes linger far beyond trick-or-treating, parties, and dress-up play dates. They are more than memories to share and reminisce about later on. They are a chance to dream, imagine, and invent something original and fun. In some ways, they are like a “workshop” for each of my children to explore other identities, skills, or character traits. What would it like to be medieval knight? How would a dragon swish his tail? How cool would it be as a real princess! In an early-schooling sort of way, costumes let them figure out who they are and who they want to be. Costumes hone their imagination skills and create extra “bonding moments” with Mommy.
An added benefit might be their growing love of theatre. All three of our children have a passion for performing, singing, inventing plots, and attending plays and concerts. For me, all the tacky glue, embroidery thread, and felt-by-the-yard are worth every penny. I smile every time I recall the Halloween challenge for each child that year, and feel so blessed to be part of helping my son and daughters become the people they were meant to be.