Guest Author - Lorel Shea
When it comes to dressing up in costumes, gifted kids can be quite imaginative. Given the opportunity to dress up as someone or something else, your gifted child may surprise you with a creative idea that just knocks off your socks! I've heard a lot of great stories over the years involving gifted children and their costume choices, and will highlight a few of them here.
First, there are literary characters. Gifted kids tend to be voracious readers, and they can be quite passionate about the stories they read. Sometimes the books are very popular, and characters are easily recognized. Harry Potter would fall into this category, along with the storybook princesses popularized by Disney. But when my friend's daughter dressed up as Karuna, the heroine from Scott O'Dell's novel, “Island of the Blue Dolphins”, nobody knew who she was, and even after she explained, there were many people who were unfamiliar with the story. Another parent described to me her daughter's fascination with Lloyd Alexander's book, “The Arkadians”. The little girl dressed up as “Joy in the Dance”, and didn't care that other people were not able to recognize her. It was rewarding enough for her to be the character that she so deeply admired.
Then there are the gifted kids who enjoy dressing as historical figures. My own kids have preferred this type of costume. This year, for instance, my eight year old will be attending Halloween functions decked out as Queen Elizabeth. My oldest son once made an appearance as General Lee. These history loving kids may grow up to be SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) members or Civil War reenactors. They tend to be very invested in making their costumes as realistic as possible. So if you see a miniature Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, or Abraham Lincoln on your doorstep, make sure you tell that child how authentic he or she looks!
Science minded kids often come up with very inventive costumes. Maybe you've seen a boy dressed as a DNA double helix, or a girl dressed as an atom. Balloons may figure prominently in these costumes. Love of science and science fiction appreciation can go hand in hand. Some young gifties are Star Trek fans, and may trick or treat as Deanna Trio or Captain Kirk. I know a young man who shaved his head completely bald, so as to be a better facsimile of Captain Picard! His family was very supportive of his decision, though it did take a while to grow his hair back.
There are also the quirky smart kids who enjoy wearing elaborate contraptions for silly sight gags. The old head on a platter or spaghetti and meatballs trick costumes are included here. A few pairs of plastic ears stuck on regular clothing can represent the phrase, “I'm all ears!” and a raincoat wearing child with stuffed animals glued to an umbrella can be , “It's raining cats and dogs!”
The adults I know who still enjoy dressing up in costume are some of the most creative and intelligent folks I know. I know many amateur actors and historical reenactors, and other gifted adults who just enjoy costume parties when they can. Go ahead and get creative yourself! It sets a great example for the kids!