A word to the wise! Right now is an excellent time for your students to be planning their costumes, because as you know, they are everywhere. And I don’t mean the pre-packaged ones. I learned a few years ago that the local thrift stores will set lots of interesting items back and bring them out before Halloween as “costume pieces.” And since they are already sort of “on sale” they don’t get any less expensive after Halloween.
Try to spark the students’ imaginations by having them figure out how they could outfit the characters in their stories with sweat pants and shirts and flashy accessories, such as scarves, head bands, hats, gloves, and SOCKS. Socks on hands and feet make cool animal paws, by the way.
Enlist their help! Engage them in keeping their eyes open for anything they think might fit anybody, or could be used somewhere in their opera that is a great bargain. They may not have completed their story and surely not the music, but they should have a pretty good idea of where it is going, so these items ought to be something that could be used by anyone in the class.
You could start a class scavenger hunt. Have them make a list of all the things that might be needed in their opera. For instance, if they are writing about settling the West, they could list hats, scarves, aprons, boots, tails (for horses, cows) orange socks (for chicken feet), mountain man-type jackets, long dresses…etc. I imagine you will be delighted, and so will they, with how many things they can find for little if no expense. Sometimes the best thrift store is Grandma’s closet. Most of my clothes fall into that category and I just can’t part with them, but would be glad to loan them out … Grandpa, too. 🙂
I KNOW this will be easier right now than starting November 1st. This is how we started our children’s costume supply 12 years ago, and it was very fun. We began with all the dark sweat pants and shirts we could find at the thrift store and then let our imaginations run wild. It was fun for me, as I had never thought of myself as an imaginative person before. Turns out, I am not so bad. Neither are you! And truly, neither are the creative whizzes in your classes!
If you have ideas some ideas that have worked for you, add a comment here and share.
Have fun! 🙂
Education Director, Utah Festival Opera