my best costume

or: thinking outside and being inside the box

Halloween is upon us. I went trick or treating as a younster, in costume, of course. We didn’t buy ready made costumes generally; we made them up ourselves out of clothes at home, sometimes using donations from our parents’ closet, along with makeup and maybe a bit of crafting supplies. The few Halloween costumes I recall featured some very colorful skirts and bandanas and such (gypsy look).

But the best costume I ever had was for a classmate’s summertime birthday party in seventh grade. The party invitations called for coming in a Mother Goose rhyme themed costume. I was thinking of the normal things: Red Riding Hood, Mary Quite Contrary (which would fit me perfectly), etc. My older brother spoke up and changed all that.

He said to do something different, unexpected. There was no reason to be a person. Nor even an animal. Why be something living? So we thought about it and decided on something different but still easy enough to design and build.

I went as Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard. We took a large box, fit it around my upper body, and covered it with a lot of brown construction paper. Made up doors and drew empty shelves that showed when the doors were opened. I wore brown pants and maybe brown makeup on my face.

It was awkward to get around in and I almost couldn’t sit down. But I won the prize for best costume.
My brother was brilliant.