A time will come in the life of every working mother when she hears those words that bring her to her very knees. “Mom? I need a rich medieval towns- person’s costume. By tomorrow.” She will hear these words when she has just come home from a thirteen hour day and is wondering if she still knows how to operate a corkscrew. If, when she falls to her knees, she happens to see the family costume box, she is a fortunate mother indeed.
You will be amazed at how many times your children and you will benefit from a well-stocked costume box. I’m not talking once a year at Halloween, but for Spirit week, costume dances, school plays, Thanksgiving luncheons, poetry teas, and dozens of activities only the elementary school teachers among you can even imagine. Over the years, my kids have needed:
Kindergarten graduation gowns
Pilgrim and Native American costumes for Thanksgiving and the Mayflower immersion unit
Colonial costumes for the Colonial unit
Mouse, Princess, Ugly Stepsister, Pirate, Wendy, Tinkerbell, Flapper, Witch, Fairy Godmother, and various other characters in school plays
Costumes for dance recitals
Costumes from their ancestral countries for the heritage unit
Costumes as their favorite characters from books for literature week.
An outfit that embodies some random word they have to research and dress up as. “Sun”, “Wind” and “Fiber” were three we had to conjure.
The other advantage of a costume box is that it demands creative play. A costume box, a rainy day, and all the neighbor kids equals a fine time for all. They spend two hours cracking each other up trying on the costumes and then concocting plays to allow them to wear their creations, and you get to spend that two hours doing what you want to do. You will have to sit through their performance, and it is unlikely to have a coherent plot, but the play itself will only last for about 15 minutes and you get to sit down and take pictures. It’s really not so bad.
Finally, you are delusional if you think that Halloween is the only holiday that demands a costume. They will need to be Christmas elves, or find patriotic costumes for the 4th of July.
You do not have time to buy or create all these costumes every time your kids need one. And you will never know that they need something with more than 9 hours notice. You need a costume box. Here’s how to get a good one.
Get a big plastic crate. Put in everything that could possibly act as a costume or a prop. Put in every Halloween costume, graduation gown, funny hat, and crazy pair of shoes you can find. Every time you actually have to buy a costume, add it to the box when you’re done. That darling baby blue tutu will be used again to decorate the dog, or as Queen Elizabeth I’s collar, or as a fancy hat. Put in your old uniforms, scrubs, white coats from other hospitals, the hard hat the was left behind when you redid your kitchen, the straw hat you wear in the garden, old scarves, large pieces of fabric, and the drapes that came with the house. These will be turned into amazing props for creative play. Old sports uniforms, party hats, bridesmaid’s dresses all go in. And once your kids get past early grade school age, they will go to the costume box rather than the party store to create their own Halloween costumes. In fact, they’ll think making their own is more fun.