Soucheray: Harness Halloween creativityHalloween is next week. For children, this holiday rivals Christmas and their birthday for being the most important and anticipated day of the year.
By: Kate Soucheray, Woodbury Bulletin
Halloween is next week. For children, this holiday rivals Christmas and their birthday for being the most important and anticipated day of the year. They can become anything they wish, dressing up like their favorite character from a movie or TV show, a book or a video game. And we, as parents, worry about how they’ll walk without tripping over the edge of their costume, whether they’ll be tired the next day for school and about whether all that candy will require more dentist visits. Oh, to be young again.
Do you remember your favorite Halloween costumes? Did your school allow you to come in costume once a year, so you kept your fingers crossed that it fell on a week day and not a weekend? (Let me clue you in: teachers uniformly kept their fingers crossed for just the opposite. With all the standards that must be met, coming in costume usually means a missed day of learning.)
I remember making a costume of a princess one year, complete with a pointy crown and one of my mom’s flowy scarves pinned and trailing off the top of it, blowing in the wind as we went from house to house. Of course, I had to have lots of make up on my face, rouge, as my mom called it, along with gooey red lipstick. It was the one time of the year to become whatever my heart desired, from a princess to Cinderella, and the sky was the limit.
Do you think this is the essence of Halloween? It seems this concept of the holiday, much more than the candy that is accumulated, is what kids love. Imagine if we could suspend our life for one 24 hour period and become anything we wanted, and some may be surprised by our choice, but they ooh and aahh over how clever we are.
When I was teaching high school one year, a student came as a pumpkin. He literally carved a huge pumpkin and wore it on his head and the rest of his body, if I remember correctly, was covered with vine-like material, as well as what looked like soil. It was a spectacular costume and it made we wonder how many pumpkins he had to carve to be sure he got the holes for his eyes placed just right. Of course, the pumpkin had to be turned up-side down … just thinking of it now hurts my geometry-challenged brain.
We also had students who came as M & M’s, contacting each other ahead of time and deciding who would be green, red, yellow, blue and brown. Of course, the green person also got to wear the heels.
When the first Indiana Jones movie came out, our oldest son decided he would be Indy, complete with a leather jacket from the Goodwill, a large pouchy purse slung over his shoulder, boots, the tell-tale hat and coffee grounds on his chin, stuck there with shortening, for the unshaven look of the scholarly hero. It was his way of becoming his idol, if even for one day. And you can only imagine how many times that costume has been enlisted for all sorts of play acting and home movie-making throughout the years. In fact, I bet if I went to the closet in the basement, I would still find remnants of it, years after its inception.
Halloween is a time for creativity and sparkle. It’s next week, so you don’t have much time. Think about what you might do to help your kids express their inner ingenuity and resourcefulness, as you see what they will come up with to convey another side of their personality.
Soucheray is a Woodbury resident and a licensed family therapist