Every year it’s the same. Jack O’Brien has a dressup party for his birthday. And this year is no different.

He says it’s because it’s right near Halloween and people like dressing up, and should have a costume ready anyway. But I think it’s just because his Mum is a drama teacher at the local Catholic school and she can get the most awesome costumes for him… so he always looks better than everyone else.

I’m not a fan of dressing up though. I like Jack, and I want to go to his party, but I just wish he didn’t have to make it a dressup party.  It kind of always embarrasses me, the whole costume and character acting thing. I never really know what I want to be. And then when I finally make a choice I worry that the other kids will think it’s dumb. And then I just get all annoyed and just want to wear my favourite jeans and Star Wars t-shirt and be done with it.

Why do kids make it so hard for other kids? I know it’s his birthday and all, but it’s supposed to be a party where everyone feels comfortable and has fun. And I just don’t when it’s a dressup theme.

Mum says I should get ‘into the spirit of it’ for the sake of my friend, and just pick a character and have some fun making the costume. She always tells me it doesn’t have to be fancy, or perfect, or cost money (which is what she really means), it just has to be ‘representative of the character’.  But she doesn’t get it. The kids are so competitive about their costumes. And if mine is lame, I’ll never hear the end of it.

I spent ages wondering what I would dress up as.  First I though a pirate could be alright.  I had a striped shirt and an eye patch and hat from a school concert a couple years ago, and I could wear old pants to make a full outfit.  I liked making pirate noises and it meant I could play with a sword all day.  But then I realised Jack had been the most awesome looking pirate last year, with a wooden peg leg and everything.  So I couldn’t really compete with that. Then I thought I could go as a pokemon….I have a onesie…ok, it’s pajamas, but it doesn’t matter.  But so many kids do the pokemon thing, that it’s not very original.

In the end I decided on being a mummy from Ancient Egyptian times. I knew it would get mixed reactions, but I wanted to try to be different this time.  We’d learnt about mummies at school and I always thought the idea of being wrapped up in bandages was pretty amazing.  It was also an easy costume to make, meant I could hide my face (and my embarrassment) and meant I could also wear my jeans and t-shirt underneath for a quick change if I needed to. AND guess what?  None of my friends had ever dressed up as a mummy, so I ought to get bonus points for originality!

It worked pretty well. Most people DID think it was original, although of course Miss Charlotte didn’t think I made much of an effort. Whatever. Not all of us need to spend hours turning ourselves into the Queen of Hearts with a full hair do and makeup!

The party ended up being loads of fun, even though I’d felt really nervous about it. We all enjoyed playing our characters and I ended up wrapping bandages around pretty much everyone! I guess dressing up isn’t so bad when you just roll with it and it’s with your friends.

(Imagination, p.41, Fun, 32., Dare to be Different, p.22 – A for Attitude)