Advertisements ad

The Family Room by Michelle Martin

October 25, 2009

Playing dress up

Last year, Frank dressed up as a hockey player for Halloween. Not just any hockey player — Jonathan Toews, the Chicago Blackhawks captain.

This year, he has a handful of hockey games under his belt, and he more or less only wears his Toews hockey sweater when he goes to Blackhawks games. Otherwise, he prefers wearing his own team jersey.

Over the years, he has been lots of other things for Halloween: a cat (twice), a fireman, and when he was a baby, a pumpkin.

Caroline, when she was young, was a Teletubby (Lala, the yellow one), a variety of princesses and, one year, a doctor.

Last year, she just wore goofy Halloween clothes, and this year, she is planning to make her own flapper costume, perfect for a girl who likes to draw up new clothing designs in her spare time.

Not once has either of them been a monster, a vampire, an ax murderer or any other character that might be found in a horror movie. We haven’t even had a cute witch or a friendly ghost.

That’s not because I or anyone else has laid down the law with them. I might draw a line at ax murderer, but a ghost or a witch would probably be OK with me, as standard Halloween-type characters. But what do I know? I once went as a red M&M.

Instead, I think they like to try out different roles for Halloween, to walk a few blocks in someone else’s clothes, as it were. If it comes with buckets full of candy, so much the better, from their perspective. After all, what little girl doesn’t want to be a princess, or at least to be treated like one?

Sometimes, those aspirations are realized sooner rather than later; dress up as a hockey player for Halloween this year, play hockey the next year. Although I don’t think Jonathan Toews needs to worry about Frank taking his position anytime soon. This year, Frank wants to be a baseball player for Halloween, most likely a Chicago Cub, using equipment and team clothing he already owns. In this case, he already plays baseball; it’s the professional level that would be different.

Some aspirations take a lifetime to fulfill, like, for instance, attaining holiness. Several schools in the archdiocese ask their students to dress as a favorite saint at Halloween, which, after all, stands for “All Hallow’s Eve” and comes the day before All Saints Day.

That’s not such a bad idea, if it gets children thinking about the models we have for living a holy life. There’s plenty of variety — you could be in angel in armor to portray St. Michael the Archangel, a queen for St. Isabel of Portugal, a Native American for Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. There’s even plenty of opportunity for gruesomeness, for those interested in that.

So next time you or your child needs a costume, think about who it is you want to be.

Martin is assistant editor of the Catholic New World. Contact her at [email protected].