Frankenstein, Miss America and Troll Doll Walked into Halloween
My brother’s costume idea confirmed it: Joshua was a kid genius. He was probably ten and declared, “I’ll dress up as Frankenstein and you girls can take turns being Igor.” According to him, we would have the opportunity to push Frankenstein door-to-door in the wagon. My twin Rachel and I were actually excited about this idea. Some adult must have stepped in and smashed his pumpkin-night dreams. Young Frankenstein Manley had to walk to get his candy and lacked his helpers to carry the loot.
A few years later, I related to his plan coming up short. At age nine, I had the sash, the crown and what I thought was “the dress.” In my mind, I WAS Miss America. You know what Miss America doesn’t wear? A pink and green khaki coat with snap buttons!Some October evenings in Austin reach the 90’s. Unfortunately, that year was cold and rainy. I cried, “Miss America does not wear a jacket!” My mom wouldn’t budge, so I costume-compromised. I would wear the coat, but take it off at each door so the neighbors knew who they were dealing with. Days later, I wanted a do-over: a chance to un-tarnish my crown and show our world the true Miss Rebekah America.
I carried these high costume expectations into my “Prairie Troll Doll” year. Basically, I had a sweet “Laura Ingalls Wilder” dress I found at a garage sale AND I loved troll dolls: obviously a combo made in heaven. I imagined my hair STRAIGHT UP like the REAL troll dolls. What actually happened looked closer to an Oompa Loompa exiting the spin cycle.
These are a few examples I remember when I hear people claim kids have nothing to worry about, especially around the holidays when it seems like adults are full of stress. I can only imagine that Joshua must have felt sabotaged in his genius plan. And in my 3rd grade heart, I looked just like Miss America pre-jacket compromise. The struggle was real. Of course, these are small examples. But they felt big at the time. Perhaps they still are, in their own way.
As the leaves change and I crave hot chocolate and cozy evenings, I reflect on how Halloween kicks off a season of excitement and expectations. Mixing our “you can be anything” society with a child’s literal and imaginative ideas can recipe disappointment. Each of these childhood moments carries strong memories and reminders. No part of me wants anyone to worry that a kid’s failed hair will ruin memories. I simply want to discuss how hopes are powerful at any age. Therefore, in line with Brave Tutu, I’m curious to hear your small moments of costume stories and how those memories linger. Is there something to costumes catalyzing the holidays and how does that play out? Thanks for your thoughts. Also, if you need a mock Miss America…I know a girl.
Your Brave Tutu (You’re Brave Too-Too)
-Take courage in delight. Discover power in small moments.