September. Fall colors start creeping in, temperatures drop, frost threatens us each night. And there is one thing on my mind--Halloween! In particular, Halloween Costumes. I always start thinking about Halloween Costumes as early as possible because I refuse to don a store-bought disguise for this special holiday. As I plan my next sure-to-wow-'em costume, my thoughts always wander back through the years.
My earliest memories of Halloween Costumes were, much to my chagrin, store bought. Think plastic body suits that tie at the neck, non-breathable masks with slits for eyes, nose and mouth. Tweety Bird, Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble, Bugs Bunny and every other popular cartoon character. We always bought them big to allow room for the hooded sweatshirt and long underwear we would inevitably be wearing underneath as we trudged from house to house in the bitter Halloween rain/snow/wind that always was.
Fast-forward a few years to the beginning of my do-it-yourself days. During middle school my parents stopped partaking in the search for the ultimate Halloween costume. It was up to my friends and I to decide what we wanted to be and how we wanted to do it. We were sleep walkers, Little Bo Peep, mermaids, bananas, and old ladies. Each started as a small seed of an idea, then grew and formed during the weeks before October 31st. We had so much fun planning, searching our closets, attics, and basements for just the right items to complete a costume. There was such satisfaction in developing and completing a costume that was unlike anything we had ever been before and unlike anyone else's costume.
My love of the Halloween season stayed with me through my young adult years. College brought more resources for costume salvage. The craft store and my hot glue gun were among my best friends in late September. We were flowers, witches, Little Red Riding Hood, and Batman, Catwoman, and Robin. These memories will last a lifetime.
Even as an adult, I am lucky enough to still feel a passion for homemade Halloween Costumes. As an elementary educator, I get to dress up every year. I can go back in my mind and mark my years teaching as I think of what I was for Halloween each year. A witch, a rodeo clown, the tooth fairy, Raggedy Ann, scarecrow, ballerina....the list goes on.
And now I get to share this special season with my two young sons. I am fortunate enough to be able to create costumes for all of us, teaching them the value in making something yourself. They will learn how to think of an idea, how to expand upon it, how to use the resources we have available to create something that was never imagined. It teaches patience, perseverance, critical thinking, problem solving. The list goes on. Who would have guessed that a 'silly' holiday like Halloween could teach such valuable lessons and be such a lifelong learning experience.