I’m convinced that people of all ages love everything make believe. We are fascinated with what we are not and with what we could be. We love to be swept away into stories other than our own. We go to movies, see live plays, and read novels to keep us dreaming. Costumes are one of the key elements that escort us into make believe no matter how young or old we are.
Think about it, from the time we were little we celebrated a holiday called Halloween by shopping for or having our mothers make us the perfect costumes. Having the right costumes was the biggest deal. We got to wear them to school and show off to our teachers and friends and we got to parade around our neighborhoods and display our costumes proudly to everyone we saw. We loved to dress up as princesses, ghosts, or our favorite characters from cartoons. Putting on our prized costumes meant much more than putting on an outfit. With our costumes we put on an entirely different identity so that we didn’t just dress up as a princess but we really became one. We actually became our favorite cartoon characters and our favorite good and bad guys.
The older children get, the less interested they are in celebrating Halloween with great costumes, but they love make believe just as much. Teens and adults get our fill of make believe through television, movies, plays and even books. Costumes are an important part of each of these avenues of imagination.
When reading a novel we picture the costumes and clothing that each character wears. We begin to identify certain characters by the costumes we clothe them in. We go to a film or a play and are fascinated with the costumes that allow each actor or actress to become the character they are playing. Great costumes and great acting allow us to forget that the eighty year old grandma we’re watching is actually are favorite thirty-five year old actor with a weird dress and a whole lot of makeup.
If you have ever seen a live play then you know the vital role that costumes play in making any production what it is. Can you imagine seeing the Lion King on Broadway without any costumes? Of course not! How would you know what actors are supposed to be which animal or how would you tell the difference between the young and old lions? It is the use of amazing, detailed, colorful costumes that allow live shows to transport us into other worlds.
Costumes of all kinds are magical. Whether we are three or eighty three, we love dressing up and watching others dress up. We love seeing our worlds expanded into new worlds filled with the make believe or magical worlds.