Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween, 2007

I was asked, recently, if it would be ok if a person wanted to dress like Pocahontas for Halloween, but that they'd make sure every detail of their costume was accurate.

My response? Accuracy in costume for educational purposes is a must. In my mind, that includes theater productions.

But is Halloween an educational moment? Can it be? Does it provide a "teachable moment?"

Just imagine how that 'teaching' might take place...

Can one really expect to teach others while out gathering candy, or in the case of college campuses, getting "treats" (alcoholic drinks)?

I think a college student would be ridiculed for trying to 'educate' others while dressed up like Pocahontas?

So, would it work? I don't think so.

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Anonymous said...

What an interesting question, Debbie. While I defer to your expertise and judgment in this matter, I can imagine an opportunity where some teaching is possible. Sometimes costumes are worn to school where a student may have the invitation to tell classmates about their costumes; there are also private parties or girl scout troops where an authentic ethnic costume would be sincerely appreciated.

When I was six years old, my mother made my costume. I was 'Martha Washington' white wig and all. It was so unusual and detailed, many people who saw me had to touch my hair and examine my garments to see how it had been made. I can tell you that, as a six-year-old, that costume was certainly a teaching moment for me about all things related to Martha Washington. It also piqued my interest in colonial and early American history.

Perhaps this is overly optimistic; yet this is what came to my mind when I read your posting.

Best to you on this All Hallow's Eve,

Connie Purcell
Children's Librarian
Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County

Rob said...

What's an "authentic" Pocahontas costume, anyway? Didn't she run around half-naked, wearing only a skirt at most?

If parents let their little girls go topless to "teach" that Pocahontas was a child, not an adult, we'd certainly learn something about history. I wonder if that's what your correspondent has in mind.