My son Liam (8 years old, deafblind) doesn’t watch TV. Because of this, he isn’t always aware of movies and their characters that are popular among his peers. He does know a few super heroes because we happen to have the toys around the house and we have talked about them. He also knows a few characters based off of past costumes he and his little brother have worn for Halloween. He is getting to the point where he asks me every morning what the picture or logo is on his shirt. He asks me to describe it for him. He will ask what a toy is and want information about it. He is becoming more aware of his surroundings and is eager to learn all he can; more than just “surface” simple answers. That boy cannot be given enough details!
This year, I wanted to give Liam access to the details of many costumes that his classmates might wear to the classroom Halloween party this Friday. He has a basic understanding of what Halloween is. He wears a costume every year, he attends his classroom Halloween parties and other fall festival things in the community. Using that background knowledge of Halloween, I wanted to write a book explaining costumes. I did a little “research” one day while at Target: I looked at the costume section and noted some of the top popular costumes for this year. I wrote a book highlighting some of the top costumes and described them briefly in the book. I described who the characters were (their story) and what they looked like. Some of the characters happened to be costumes that Liam had been in the past, which he connected to immediately (Spiderman, Superman, and Ninja Turtle).
Read and Discuss:
We read the book together several time and had discussions about the characters, that they are pretend, what they look like, who might wear these costumes, etc.
Text, Page 1: Halloween
Kids wear costumes for Halloween.
Costumes are fun clothes that make us look like someone else. They are clothes for pretend.
You can put clothes on to look like a doctor.
You can put clothes on to look like Paul Bunyan.
You can put clothes on to look like a football player.
You can get candy on Halloween.
Text, Page 2: Belle
Belle is a woman who lives with her dad.
Belle loves to read books.
One day her dad gets captured by a beast.
The beast lives in a magic castle.
Belle saves her dad and now has to live in the magic castle with the beast. The beast was mean but became nice.
Belle and the beast love each other.
Belle wears a beautiful yellow dress.
Text, Page 3: Star Wars
Star Wars is a movie about the future in outer space.
Star Wars has good guys and bad guys.
Darth Vader is the leader of the bad guys.
He wears a black cape and a black mask.
Storm Troopers are bad guy soldiers.
They wear white hard uniforms and helmets.
Yoda is a good guy. He is very short and has big ears and green skin. He wears a brown robe.
Text, Page 4: Ninja Turtles
Ninja turtles are tall and they are good.
Their skin is green.
They save people and fight bad guys.
They wear masks over their eyes.
They wear belts to put their weapons in.
They like to eat pizza.
Text, Page 5: Superman
Superman is a superhero that can fly.
He fights bad guys and saves people.
He wears a red cape and has a big S on his chest.
He is very strong.
Text, Page 6: Spiderman
Spiderman is a superhero that wears red clothes and a red mask. He has a picture of a spider on his chest.
He can climb walls and shoot spider webs from his hands.
He saves people and he is a good man.
Text, Page 7: Power Rangers
Power Rangers are Ninjas that save the world.
They are good. They fight bad guys.
They each wear one color. One Power Ranger wears Red. Another wears pink. Another wears blue. One wears green. And the last Power Ranger is Yellow.
Princess and Trolls
Text, Page 8: Princess and Trolls
Some girls like to dress like a princess.
A princess rules over a kingdom.
A princess has pretty hair and a pretty dress.
Trolls are pretend creatures that have big soft hair.
Their hair is bright and has a lot of colors.
They have big noses.
We took a trip to Walmart and got to explore the different costumes. We tried to find the costumes from our book.
It is my hope that as he learns about these costumes he will have a basic knowledge of these characters and know that we are dressing up to look like someone else for fun. When he has his class party on Friday he will be able to be included with his peers in discussions about the children’s costumes and get to learn about some new costumes as well!
I’m hoping to have Liam write about his favorite Halloween costumes after his classroom Halloween party.
This book can be simplified or expanded; whatever works best for where your child is at. If your child is a pre-braille reader, you could stick to just a few costumes (or even the one that they are wearing this Halloween). You could make a book about just one character at a time (see Superman post or Paul Bunyan post). You could make “conversation boxes” that include actual pieces of costumes they can try on and you can have conversations about the concept. You could stick to characters your child knows to help them understand the concept of costumes and pretend, such as dressing like a doctor or dressing like a puppy.