I remember the smell most of all- the plastic, chemical-like smell. I remember the stiff, molded shape smooth against my cheeks, and the edges-sharp and scratchy against the sides of my face. The eye holes were sort of in the right place and the elastic band stayed attached on one side, but kept slipping out of the other side. I remember my tongue getting pinched and stuck over and over in the mouth opening. I could only keep a Halloween mask on until my face started sweating uncomfortably, then I would remove it and the cool air would shock my damp skin forcing me to pull the mask back down. The children wearing masks were completely unrecognizable to friends and parents, but there was no question as to who the children were dressing up as. I laugh remembering the sound of my own voice, so loud in my own ears, muffled to everyone on the other side of the plastic. Trying to eat candy through the mouth opening was impossible, yet, I tried.
Pretending to be someone or something else is an intriguing concept for children and adults, though the effect is quite different. Children love to play dress-up all year. Encourage your children to pretend by providing items like scarves, hats, shoes, and various other pieces of clothing. Always monitor young children with items like scarves and necklaces as they may become a strangulation hazard, and remember to wash dress-up items often-especially when little friends stop by to play. Don’t worry if your child chooses to adopt a new persona for several days or about the perceived gender type of the clothes they choose, it’s all normal. I once worked with a child who only communicated with new people as a dog. For the first month I visited him he crawled on all fours, barked and panted. Eventually, he began interacting as a human. Respecting his process was important.
What are some of your early dress-up memories?