Get your creativity on this Halloween

by Matthew Worwood

This Web site is a discussion on how we might nurture and cultivate creative thinking at home. Naturally this discussion evolves around our children and ways we can engage the characteristics most often associated with creativity, such as the imagination, curiosity, a tolerance for ambiguity, originality, and the ability to produce and consider many alternatives.

However, lets change things up a little and talk about how we as parents might better engage our own creativity? It’s probably most associated with problem-solving, coming up with new strategies to get your three-year old to sleep through the night, or how you might balance family life over a professional deadline. These are all great conversations, but I’m writing to promote one thing today – make a costume for Halloween!

Over the last couple of years I’ve noticed that most Halloween costumes have been purchased, and not made. This time of year they’re on sale at the likes of Costco, Target, Wallmart, and even Pottery Barn. There’s great deals to be had online, and unique costumes to be bought at Web sites like Esty and eBay. It’s easier to buy, it’s harder to make! But buying is not as creative, and making.

Last year my son wanted to be a plane, it was a great problem to have and challenged our creativity to the max. We had one weekend to come up with an idea on how we can turn our son into a flying machine. I confess my wife took the lead and searched out designs online, while I gathered boxes. The outcome can be seen in the picture above. The costume was a huge hit among our neighbors and I was most proud of my wife’s creative accomplishments.

Time is a massive factor when it comes to making a costume and I recognize it just isn’t always possible, but even if you go down the purchased route, try to avoid the purchase of a complete costume and instead try and buy it pieces, or make accessories that take it to the next level.

What’s more, the making of a costume is a great family activity to engage the imagination. It goes beyond artwork and into genuine problem-solving. For example, this year my boy wants to be a dragon skeleton that breaths fire. My wife is working on getting him to change his mind, but I already have a prototype of a head, and now need to problem-solve how we can get the head to breath fire.

If it’s too late and you’ve purchased your costume, be sure to at least make note of the homemade costumes on display that night, and maybe snap and share a few pictures to use as inspiration for next year.

Matthew Worwood
Matthew Worwood is an educator, Creative Studies scholar-practitioner, and co-host of the Fueling Creativity in Education podcast. He is a professor of Digital Media Design at the University of Connecticut and a husband and proud father to three young boys.

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