By Chelsea, a Maine Camp Experience camp alumnus.
It’s Wednesday October 29th around 12:35pm. If I was at camp, I’d be finishing up my lunch right about now. I’d be clearing the dining hall table after singing my division’s cheer. After spending over half of my life at my beloved summer camp, I often find myself picturing what I’d be doing at camp in the most ordinary, and unusual, times. The ordinary includes seeing the clock at 5:15pm and thinking, “oh it’s shower hour!” or treating myself to pizza and soda for lunch because it’s a Saturday. The unusual includes this weekend; dressing up for Halloween. Once again, growing up at summer camp has influenced the way I approach the usual and unusual, such as dressing up and celebrating Halloween.
Let’s start with the basics. On Halloween children and adults dress up as ghosts, witches, pumpkins and other fictional characters. Sometimes adults will dress up as something humorous relating to current events and pop culture. And most of the time, people buy their Halloween costume. I personally do not buy my costume, and that’s because of camp. Why would I buy a costume in the outside world when for 12 summers I created my own costumes? At my camp, it’s like Halloween every week.
My camp is very spirited when it comes to dressing up, and the more elaborate the better. Campers and counselors are encouraged to dress up for our weekly themed dinners, camp sister dress a likes, and our annual Bingo night. All we needed was a couple of hours spent at Arts & Crafts and an open imagination with our clothes and BAM!, you’re ready for dinner line up. Theme dinners at camp included, “Western”, “Funky Princess”, “Under The Sea”, “Candy Land”, and “Superhero” night. And with just a few hours to prepare, campers miraculously adapted to the theme. I’ve learned that an American Apparel leotard and some neon clothing can go a really long way at sleep away camp. Simply don matching Nike shorts and ponytail or dressing up like a famous couple like Mickey & Minnie Mouse or our camp directors and you were set for a camp sister “dress-a-like.”
It’s now just days from Halloween and I still don’t have a costume, but that’s really okay. If my camp experience serves me right, I’ll be able to prepare for Friday night with limited resources and still be in the camp minded/Halloween spirit. I’ve got a couple of ideas, such as being Mindy Lahiri from The Mindy Project and wearing old scrubs from a Bar Mitzvah giveaway and wearing my Oliver People’s glasses like she does on the show. Or dressing up with a question mark painted on my face and wearing the Greek letter Phi on my shirt and being Wi-Fi (get it?!). Again, I’ll never give in and buy some generic cowgirl costume, because of camp I’ll make my own unique costume. And on Friday my camp friends and I will call and text one another because we have an old camp song from Birthday Ball, a camp tradition and event, where the theme was Halloween and we’ll quote the song lyrics endlessly.
An ordinary meal, a song on the radio, a National holiday; it can always spark my mind and bring me back to summer camp in Maine.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Camp Guide, about choosing the right camp for your child.