It never ceases to amaze me how aspects of the ‘Regency era’ still echo through our lives 200 years later (often in very weird ways). Growing up, Halloween was my favorite holiday. I loved dressing up (and the free candy). My first costumed Halloween I was in Kindergarten. We lived five miles out of town on a sparsely populated road in the woods so there was no local Trick or Treating. The school (even deeper into the woods) thoughtfully provided a Halloween party for the children. I was so excited! For a costume, my mother made me a white mobcap. It being the early 70’s, I already owned a long white cotton dress and a pink pinafore. She then made me a big fat spider out of some black socks and tied it with a length of yarn to a wooden spoon (from out of the kitchen drawer). To complete my outfit she glued some cotton balls into a small bowl and I was transformed. I was no longer Cari, I was ‘Little Miss Muffet’. I loved my costume, particularly the spider which I remember waving at people with glee. I probably hit a few people with my spoon as I waved my arm to make the spider fly about, but I thankfully don’t remember.
This evening the ‘Little Miss Muffet’ nursery rhyme came to mind as I was sitting here thinking of ideas for a Sunday school lesson (I help teach the 5-7 yr olds). I looked it up on Wikipedia and I was surprised to learn that “Little Miss Muffet’ was first published in England in 1805. I had no idea it was that old. I assumed it was from 1920’s or ’30’s. My very first Halloween costume was a Regency costume! How appropriate!
Sadly, my love for Halloween did not survive the three Halloweens I spent working in a costume shop. It was brutal. I loved my managers, but spending endless weeks trying to convince people to dress up as something other than a sexy nun, sexy flapper, sexy jailbird, sexy genie, sexy vampire or an ill conceived Medieval lady (with a dress that was too 70’s to be remotely Medieval), was soul destroying. If you freak out when you see a Regency romance cover with a heroine wearing a Victorian gown (like I do)…you know how I felt almost every day. So I wasn’t born to be a costume designer or work in a costume shop. Maybe by the time I’m fifty I’ll be able to think about wearing a costume without having an anxiety attack. Maybe.
Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey
Along came a spider
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.