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Costumes: What’s below the surface?

During our renovation we peeled back the layers of our kitchen and made some discoveries.

We uncovered the original wallpaper from the 1960s that had lurked behind our cupboards all along.

When we knocked out a pantry, we found tile of the same vintage.

Removing some drywall showed us it that had never been properly attached to 2 x 4s as crooked as Wayne Gretzky’s hockey stick.

We also found inadequate insulation and . . . creative . . . electrical wiring. Our kitchen had worn a costume that covered up unseen details and flaws. 

A beautiful costume is important, but it’s only as good as what’s below the surface. At Hallowe’en we are fixing all the problems and preparing a new costume for a brighter, more open, more functional and safer kitchen.

When it’s finished, we’ll love the new costume—and what’s below the surface too.

 

Have fun with Hallowe’en

I am a “fun” Hallowe’en person, not a “scary” Hallowe’en person. I like clever pumpkins, candy, and cute kids on my doorstep yelling “Trick or Treat.”

This is one of my Hallowe’en creations this year: the three little pigs and the big bad wolf.

3-pigs-and-a-wolf

Last year, I made certain the cute trick-or-treating kids knew how to find the candy.

halloween-pumpkinHave a fun Hallowe’en!

Hallowe’en: Tickle Trunks and Friendly Giants

In a Hallowe’en store this week, the clerk selling me the cape for my son’s costume (Superman, NA NA NANA NA NA NA, Superman) asked me what my costume would be this year. I said, “I’m not sure. I’ll dig through what we have in the basement and find something.”

“We have a tickle trunk full of costumes in our basement too,” she said.

The clerk was about 20 years old, so I thought she would not know about Mr. Dressup’s tickle trunk. I said, “I’m so happy to hear you use that term. I thought you were a little young to know that show.”

“What show?” she said.

I explained Mr. Dressup to her, and told her to look him up. “I will,” she said. “I had no idea. I just thought “tickle trunk” was what you called a costume box.”

Thank you, Mr. Dressup, for coining a timeless phrase.

The conversation triggered memories about other children’s shows. There’s no better way to celebrate Hallowe’en than with the wonderful opening to the Friendly Giant, Hallowe’en edition.

Hallowe’en, and not-so-Hallowe’en, costumes

A few years ago, I was called for jury duty. On the December day of the jury selection, a wild, super-snowstorm rolled into the Ottawa area. School buses did not run, people stayed home from work, and only those who really needed to venture out did so. I was one of those. It’s not good form to skip out on jury duty.

My usual 15-minute trip downtown turned into a 2-hour white-knuckle crawl in the storm, but I still arrived before the judge. (Phew!) I and the other potential jurors milled about the courthouse, waiting.

It gave me ample opportunity to people-watch.

A janitor strolled by, easily recognizable in his blue uniform. He had put on his janitor “costume” for work. The lawyers paced by with expensive suits, shiny shoes and briefcases. They had put on their lawyer “costumes” for the day. What struck me most, though, was how I could easily pick out the people in the crowd who were there for their court appearances. They had put on their “My life is a mess” costumes.

They labeled themselves with their clothing.

People didn’t sit or stand close to them. They were treated differently because of their appearance. I thought, “These people could probably completely change their lives if they just changed their wardrobe.”

On Sunday morning, I taught Sunday school.

Before I left the house, I changed out of my pajamas into my “Sunday school teacher” costume. In my class, the kids and I talked about Hallowe’en and what they were going to “be” for Hallowe’en. And that’s just it, isn’t it? Whatever we choose to put on ourselves, we become. We become it, because people develop perceptions of us based on what they see and then treat us accordingly. Then we start to believe the story ourselves.

This is a picture of me from university.

I went to a Hallowe’en party one year dressed as an accident victim. All night people kept saying, “You look awful.” You know, by the end of the night, I felt awful.

Choose the “costume” you put on every day carefully—your clothing, your makeup, your jewellery, your tattoos. What you choose to put on yourself, you become.

Harry Potter and the heart of good

What better time than Hallowe’en to write about magic and the battle between the forces of good and evil? Stephen Holmes, the acting head of divinity at St. Andrews University in Scotland, has good timing in that regard.

Earlier this week he endorsed Harry Potter—even called him Christ-like. Holmes hoped that the seal of approval of a respected theologian would open the minds of those who condemn the books as tools for promoting witchcraft.

I hope it helps.

The Harry Potter series has two powerful plus points. First, the books are a family experience. We read all seven books out loud together on long rides to the cottage. We laughed together and cried together, and I know many other families had a similar shared experience. Second, the overriding theme of the books is that good triumphs over evil, and love overpowers hate.

Hard to argue with that.

As we worked our way through the series, I wondered all along, “How is J.K. Rowling going to resolve this in a way that doesn’t involve Harry doing something evil?” I couldn’t imagine how Harry could remove Voldemort’s power without resorting to murder.

Isn’t that the way? When we face something evil, sometimes the only way that we can see our way out of it is doing something evil in return.

But J.K. Rowling didn’t take that road. In the end, Voldemort destroyed himself with his own evil rebounding back on himself. Good triumphed over evil; love overpowered hate.

We are Muggles, but, like Harry, we will often be tormented by Voldemorts in our lives.  We can follow Harry Potter’s example—place ourselves in the heart of good and see what happens.

Happy Hallowe’en!

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