Guest Author - Lorel Shea
Gifted children and adults alike tend to have very active imaginations. Dressing up in costume for a special event such as Halloween can be considered a treat in an of itself. Of course, some gifted kids can't wait for a holiday to come for them to wear a costume and pretend to be someone from another time or place. Dressing up for them may be a regular event, and part of their active fantasy life. At my house, it seems as if every day is Halloween! My younger kids are constantly running about wearing capes, gowns, and tiaras, or cuddly animal costumes. We have garb for maidens fair, a stately queen, a pirate, a ladybug, an angel, a black cat, and more. Every one of our costumes has been a great investment, as they get used again and again, often in surprising ways. My kids love to “sell” tickets to the adults and put on plays with their friends.
Creative people use costumes more than just once a year. Costumes can add flavor to historical reports, science fairs, and other school or homeschool group functions, as well as homecrafted theatrical performances. Imagine a young “Einstein” delivering a science report! How about Sacajawea talking about her travels with Lewis and Clark? Just think of the creative possibilities involved in writing, directing, and performing a play! It's a wonderful experience.
One gifted boy we know had a birthday party based upon Greek Mythology shortly after the first couple of Percy Jackson books were released. If you are not familiar with the stories, Percy and his friends are modern day kids who are the offspring of Greek gods. Every guest came in an appropriate garment, and contests took place that were modeled on the Olympic games. It was a great success. You might not think that boys aged 10-12 would be interested in dressing up, but in this case, you'd be wrong!
My homeschool group has held several wildly popular New Year's costume dances for the teens. It's really fun to see how creative the kids get, with some choosing to portray movie stars, anime characters, or historical figures, while others become aliens, bad puns, or stereotypical nerds. The girls tend to go for attractive costumes, while the boys go for a laugh or a scare.
My husband and I dress up now and then also. Our whole family used to do Civil War reenacting. Dressing up in costume is a way to get playful and learn about other times, places, and points of view. Many of our best friends from the reenacting world are highly intelligent and well educated people. So don't be shy! Go ahead and dress up with your kids when you get a chance, and have some fun!