The very next question kids have in a musical theatre class, after selecting the show and learning their character, is what about my costume? They don’t even know any lines yet; they just want to know about their costume. From a teacher’s standpoint, there is one of you, and about 20-30 of them, so necessity dictates that you put the responsibility of costuming on the actors. However, over time I have found that this responsibility is a wonderful gift.
Some kids (and their parents) will get a little overwhelmed, worrying that they may do something wrong, but with reassurance and a few suggestions I send them on their way. When they return, I am never less than amazed at what they have put together. The children enjoy working with their parents to find pieces around their home and at thrift stores. Even the non-crafty moms (like me) help their child piece things together that can rival the costumes from Pinterest perfect moms. The costumes are always way beyond my expectations, and look incredible on the stage. However, the benefits of this project go way beyond looking good in the performance.
When kids have the opportunity to create their own costume they are offered a bonding opportunity with their parents, an opportunity to be creative and use their imagination, and ownership in the end product. Once the costume is completed the young actors begin to immerse themselves in their characters, suddenly their performance changes, and they connect with the character.
For me, Halloween provides the same benefit. It’s the one holiday that provides the opportunity for creativity and imagination, and for one day shine as a performer. Yet what I’ve noticed is that year after year there are less and less kids making their own costumes, and year after year there are more store bought or perfectly sewn by a parent costumes. At a recent Halloween event we attended with at least 30-40 kids, my kids were the only ones in the room that made their own outfits.
Not to say back in my day, but….. back in my day 😉 my friends and I would spend the entire month of October putting together our Halloween costumes, adding to it, tweaking it until we had completed it. You know that moment when you realize it’s exactly how you want it. Now I see my kids have those moments. They act out their new personas, and they do it at all ages. As they develop with age, their costumes and personas become more elaborate.
I wish you the imaginative magic of this holiday this year and beyond. Happy Halloween!