I was twelve years old, I could not wait for this school day to be over, I had been thinking about it for weeks. It was Halloween! I was looking forward to getting disguised and go trick-or treating. I did not tell any of my friends, since the age of ten, they had all decided that they had out grown the whole trick-or-treating thing. “We are too old for that, we are not kids anymore, we will just give out candies to the kids at our front door.” To avoid getting laughed at, I pretended to agree with them and told them that I would be doing the same.
My parents could not afford to buy us toys, let alone halloween costumes. My two brothers, my sister and I, were left with the responsibility to create our own ways to play. My mom did provide a few essential materials and from there we were on our own to create. I can not begin to tell you how many forts we build in the basement with bed sheets, comforters and cardboard boxes. Every time the groceries were delivered to the house, I would get so excited! It meant we would have more boxes to play with. Most importantly, my mom got involved in our fun. She would make sure not to destroy the boxes and kept them for us to play.
Well, at Halloween, it was that much more special, we got to show off our imagination and creativity by going from house to house.
On that particular day, I knew that when I would get home, there would be a mask waiting for me, the only thing she could afford to buy us. More exciting than that was picking out what costume to put together to go with the mask.
My mom’s bedroom became my own little dressing room! I imagined myself being an actress in a big theatrical play, this was the wardrobe and make-up area. Going out from door to door was the stage, the theater. My audience was everyone who opened the door, the candy was my pay off for my performance.
I would take the lead, this was always my big chance to be a director in a play. I would pick out a few outfits for my brothers with my dad’s suits. My sister and I would pick out some of my mom’s dresses. By the time we were done, my mom’s bedroom looked like a tornado hit. There were clothes everywhere, on the floor, all over the bed and on the dressers. We would end off our disguise with our masks.
Curtains Down, Action!
Word on the street was that the fourth house on second block, was giving out chocolate bars, my favorite! I ran over, there was a line up, every kid wanted a chocolate bar. I was next. OMG, it was one of my friends from school giving out the chocolate with her mom. I was so relieved to be wearing the mask so she would not recognize me. She glanced over to me, looked me up and down and paused. I started to get nervous, thinking to myself, “What are you looking at, just drop the chocolate in the bag so I could get out of here”. Just then, she said the words I had been dreading. “Aren’t you too old for this, you shouldn’t be trick-or-treating, it is for kids.” I just stood there, frozen! My secret had been exposed to the dozen kids behind me waiting in line, laughing! Her mom told her that it was not nice to say that. She replied, “ well, that is what you told me, mom, you said that I was too old for this and that I am a big girl and should not be dressing up for halloween.” I wanted to disappear, leave, but, it was hard to get through the line up, I did the only thing I could do, I just stood there, hiding behind my mask.
The mom turned to me and said, “ you are a little old for this, but, if you sing a little song, then you would have earned the chocolate.” I was completely mortified, horrified… There was no way I was going to sing a song, she would recognize my voice. My friend insisted, raising her voice, tapping her foot, “ come on, you heard my mom, sing a song or no candy and what are you supposed to be dressed up as anyway.” Why are you wearing that mask with that ugly dress.” I could feel a lump in my throat, I was hurt, I had put so much effort in this disguise.
The kid behind me got impatient and pushed his way in front of me to get his chocolate, that’s when I turned around and ran home.
This was the end of my days of make believe!
A very special thanks to my mom and a mention to all the moms out there who, like my mom, let us be when we were kids. Boredom was never an issue growing up, I was able to invent my own games, be anyone I wanted, making me feel that nothing was impossible! Although my days of make believe are over, I carried my creative mind with me to this day. Anyone who knows me, knows that I will never take no for an answer, there is always a way, it is just a matter of letting my inner imagination come out. I truly believe there is a solution if you just let yourself think like a child… It will come to you! Remember, as kids, the endless hours we spent outdoors, how much we looked forward to winter! We spend hours making a snowman that we made come to life and build igloos. How disappointed we all were when the snow removal trucks came by our streets. Remember making in-animated objects come to life, we invented characters, places and things. I would take a pencil, drill it half way in a tennis ball and it became a microphone. My brothers became rock stars with drums they made from boxes and a broomstick became a guitar…we did not set ourselves restrictions like time or resources. We went into it completely free spirited! Although these things are important to consider as an adult, they should not be preventing us to think freely. When and why did it all stop? We all still have that same creativity and imagination locked up inside, it does not just disappear. It is never too late to reanimate our creativity and imagination from our childhood and combine them with the experiences and knowledge of our adulthood. It is the key to overcoming our fears to try new things. Because of our open mindedness, as kids, we did not have fear of failure which helped us in coming up with new ideas, nothing was impossible. Remember how much fun we had!
What do you say, let’s have fun in keeping the creative mind of a child alive. Let’s get involved with them, whether they’re your kids or someone else’s close to you and see what costumes they are able to come up with on their own. One of the best ways to reanimate your imagination is to spend some time with a child, join in, have fun with them. You will surely be inspired by them!
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