Fancy Dress Party

I work for a company where the global headquarters are located in Europe. Therefore the rules are always slightly different. (And by slightly, sometimes I mean A LOT). We are used to that, living in Canada. All our laws are written for all provinces, except Quebec. We have a second official language on everything from cereal boxes to road signs to official government communication. Living in the West, where 10 times the number of people speak an Asian language over French, it can seem quite strange. But we deal with it. (And I digress from the point).

The term “fancy dress party” comes from British English. More commonly known here in North America as a costume party. The zest for dressing in costume tends to fade after the age of about thirteen. Teenagers and adults who still love the idea will attend or host costume parties at Halloween. There are a few other reasons to don a costume for a party, but the real driver is October 31st. Evidently, not the case in Europe.

OK, there is another reference to fancy dress, or costumes that will only be known to those of us in Canada who watched the CBC TV show called Mr. Dressup from 1967 to 1996. There was a segment of the show where a trunk of costumes would get pulled out and Mr. Dressup would put on a familiar costume and act out the part, (policemen, fireman, doctor, etc.) Sometimes the trunk would not open and it had to be tickled, hence the name.

Mr. Dressup, Casey and Finnigan

Mr. Dressup, Casey and Finnigan

I must have been a bit too old for this show when I was watching it, because I didn’t really like the tickle trunk. Also, maybe I was too literal. Why was this man acting like a policeman? Now that I have had young children of my own, I better understand how much normal children like this kind of play acting. So, late in life, I have come to enjoy this fancy dress thing.

The tickle trunk

The tickle trunk

The legacy of the TV show is quite strong across Canada and the Northern USA where the signal was picked up for CBC. The tickle trunk has become a pop icon symbol. There are people who have amassed a good collection of costumes into a tickle trunk of their own and it is affectionately referred to as such. I know this first hand from a grown man working at my company who admitted to having one. Ours is a large Rubbermaid container marked Halloween costumes. It now holds the relics of my costumes as my children are too sophisticated, (spoiled), to recycle a costume. In truth, these “Made in China” costumes are cheap, cheap, cheap. Partly in the actual cost, but mostly in the sense that they barely make it through one season of trick or treat.

Now, I am in the process of collecting all the bits for the upcoming party in Malta. The theme is toga. Appropriate for the location. I’ll be more of a Roman Goddess. The jewelry is secured. My own, “Made in China” gown is the starting point. A trip to the fabric store is in order. (I can’t have the thing falling off me). The other bits have been purchased online and should arrive the day before I leave. ($25 in expedited shipping for that). I’m not going to bother adding up the total cost. I should look priceless. (That is a sarcastic, back-handed compliment to myself.) In any event, another costume for the tickle trunk.


I have written about this before, exactly 6 months ago…Dress up Parties.

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