Happy Halloween! Dressing up is certainly alive and well today. But what about dress-ups just for play on other days of the year?
When I was a kid (many years ago), we had relatively modern built-in cupboards in our humble suburban home. I was the youngest of three girls and on special occasions like Christmas or when family friends were over and sometimes on boring school holiday days, old suitcases would be dragged down from the unreachable heights of the upper level of the cupboards. My sisters, friends and I would delight in dressing up in random outfits. Shawls, cowhide belts, leather boots and pearl necklaces would get their moments in the light. As time passed, medal-winning gym leotards and bridesmaid's dresses formed part of the mix. Aunts would donate special taffeta dresses and horse-race head dresses. The dress-ups suitcase was the go-to for book-week parades. We didn't really celebrate Halloween back then.
As I got older I continued to access the upper shelf suitcase with friends - just for fun. Because vintage was kind of cool, I wore the cowhide belt and leather knee-highs to bands at the local surf clubs. When I became a mum, the vintage suitcase was replaced with a plastic tub. Although I was as tall as ever, the upper shelf of the cupboards in our home seemed more out of reach than ever. Was it because I was so busy with work? I don’t know, but despite that my kids loved dress-ups… on the odd occasion that the dress ups were accessible.
Somehow buying a cheap and nasty dress-up set for $30 at Target became something that happened. But geez those outfits - despite the lights and sounds that are sometimes part of their appeal – are painful to store. Hanging in the cupboard they were always pushed to the far side of the rail and forgotten about.
And then we made prototypes for the Play Pouch. Dress-ups were an obvious use for the Play Pouch to me. We keep op shop handbags, weird wigs, tutus, dad’s old basketball tops, my old gym medals and all manner of pre-loved bits and pieces mixed with Buzz Lightyear, Disney princesses, Star Wars and Transformer characters in a Play Pouch. The kids can get to the dress-ups Play Pouch whenever it takes their fancy. And dressing up happens spontaneously. Now, the prototype Play Pouch has been replaced by a gorgeous crosses version that hangs happily at easy reach of the kids. So when Mrs Doubtfire happens to join us for dinner I revel in the surprise.
And if you happen across some hula girls, superheroes or minions on the streets tonight, let's hope that those costume parts get used over and over again. Perhaps with dress-ups stored in a Play Pouch, we can have the fun of Halloween every day!