A storybook party
Is it a party, a parade, or pageant? Actually, it can be all three — or any one you choose. These storybook characters who crowd the recreation room are going through the most delightful experience of their young years. Dressed in box costumes ([bottom], Pierrette, Mother Goose, Drummer Boy, Pinocchio, Toy Soldier, Rudolph, and Pirate; [above], Dancing Doll, Drummer Boy, and Rudolph), they are re-creating scenes they’ve read or heard on records.
How does this happy holiday happening come about? Start with any clever mother who wants to give her youngsters and their friends a memory of Christmas — and something creative, too.
A party with box costumes will require only one preliminary get-together. Invite the group over, and present them with a choice of well-known storybook characters. This calls for a bit of extra planning on your part, since some of the classics are too long and complicated for small children to comprehend. So have a condensed version ready to recount — or read them just the highlights of the story, showing them the accompanying illustrations.
Of course, if there’s been a popular television show recently, that wooden puppet with the long nose, or a peg-legged pirate, or a tin soldier may be everyone’s choice. This requires a little artful dodging on your part. Point out that there’s a prize for originality… costume design… and acting. And if they still all want to be tin soldiers, let each child spin tales of his deeds of derring-do! Then send them home to work on the box costumes with an assist from their parents.
If you decide to turn the party and play into a pageant, it won’t involve very much more. Call two or three dress rehearsals and let the children practice skits together. (Don’t be surprised if the stories become strangely altered when the kids interpret them.) They can wear “stand-in” boxes while they’re rehearsing to get used to the bulk (save finished creations for the pageant).
Of course, a pageant must have spectators. So mothers, fathers, cousins, sisters, and aunts are all invited to the big doings. You may want a special committee to work on invitations, collect extra chairs, help actors into their finery, and (say this in a whisper) clean up the mess.
Start the pageant with a parade, either indoors or from house to house. A great dividend from these costumes is that kids can wear outdoor clothing underneath – bell bottoms and tights are just the right accessories in most cases. After the entertainment, give out prizes. Mother Goose with all her rhymes may win, or Pierrette with an inspired dance routine, or Captain Kidd with fearsome swashbuckling. Prizewinner or not, every child who participates in this playful pageant will be thrilled to see the characters of his favorite stories come alive.