It’s three o’clock in the afternoon and our new “puppy” if flaked out on a rug with the warm afternoon sun streaming down on his face. As he dozes, he stirs occasionally, letting out the odd little snort and snuff. This “puppy” is my dear little Chi-Chi. He’s spent the bulk of the day outfitted in his doggie Halloween costume. Luckily for me, he’s completely immersed himself into the puppy role and is enjoying a leisurely afternoon nap!
Like many young Canadians growing up in the seventies and eighties, I definitely enjoyed the wonderful world of Mr. Dressup. I was always anxious to discover what crazy costume would appear from the infamous “Tickle Trunk”. My sister and I had a well-stocked tickle trunk of our own compliments of my mother. She always seemed to have a stash of fantastic costumes and dress up clothes on hand. Silly hats, zany costumes, goofy wigs and fancy party dresses provided the inspiration for countless hours of daydreaming and imaginative play. The possibilities were endless as we dove into the wonderful world of make-believe.
Now that I’ve got little ones of my own, I’m witnessing first hand the magic that unfolds when a child transforms himself into another character. Although Christmas came and went over a month ago, Chi-Chi is still dancing around the house to holiday music, decked out in his Santa hat and a grimy little pair of red PJ’s. He refers to Muffy as “The Elf” and these two little characters get into a lot of mischief in “the workshop”.
Costumes and dress-up clothes are a wonderful open-ended toy that can be enjoyed by kids and adults of all ages. With a long, cold winter ahead of us, I'll no doubt be calling on the tickle trunk regularly for a little inspiration and entertainment. Perhaps I should dig out that old prom dress!