Ever since he was able to walk, Bryan has loved Halloween. Oh, it could have been the mountains of candy he would score going around the neighborhood with Dad. He and his sister would always return home and compare “candy notes”, trading back and forth until their stash would be comprised of all of their favorites. Fortunately, they liked different things.
Or were the costumes the attraction? When he was young, Bryan submitted to my homemade costumes of cute animals, clowns, and such. Upon reaching school age, the costumes turned into things which frightened him – a devil, a witch, a fireman, a ghost. In the teenage years, the dress-up revolved around characters he’d seen in movies such as a Ghostbuster, ninja, knight, Scream, Freddy Kruger. Not that he had watched all of those films, but television commercials are powerful motivators with his fears playing into his costume choices.
As an adult, Bryan still loves to dress up. Pictured below was the last costume he purchased for himself – a priest! We called him “Father Bryan”. Will he dress up this year? I have yet to find out.
Why the attraction to dressing up as something you’re not? In a costume, you can pretend to be someone else. You can act differently. Perhaps there are less inhibitions. In a costume, no one has to know you have Down Syndrome. Until the mask is lifted. Unless you talk. Perhaps that’s the allure for Bryan.
In a costume you become more acceptable. You can playact. You can become braver than you really are. The outer shell is more colorful than the inner.
This reminds me of a beautiful red maple tree I saw today. It was standing all alone in a field near an industrial park. I had driven by that spot before but had never noticed that stately tree. It was green like all the others. However, today, it caught the morning sun’s rays and just burst with color! It’s still a maple tree at heart. But the fall transforms the ordinary green leaves to brilliant scarlet.
It’s still Bryan under the costume. But the outer color has the capacity to transform so that others take notice. And accept .
Yes, Down Syndrome Awareness Month is fast drawing to a close. Thank you for the acceptance and practicing inclusion to all those who learn and act differently. You never know what special person lurks under that outer wrapper standing on your front porch, candy bag outstretched!