When it comes to Halloween, art teachers have to pull out all the stops! We can and will not be one-upped by the math teacher or out-did by the lunch lady! In many ways, Halloween costumes are a visual representation of an art teacher’s ability, creativity, and innovation. A pair of cat ears will not do!
My current school celebrates Book-O-Ween in which teachers and students dress up as a book, character or reference to a book. For art teachers, the crayon costume (The Day the Crayons Quit) is a cop-out, Andy Warhol (Uncle Andy) too easy, and colourful fish (Only One Me) over-done. I needed something original, out of the box and over the top. This is what I came-up with.
I decided to use the book Beautiful Oops by Barney Salzberg as my inspiration and quickly began plotting and planning with my co-teacher on how to embody the book. The book encourages kids to use their imagination to turn a spill or a tear in their paper into art.
We actually used a combination of a few pages to focus our visuals and colour scheme to purple, yellow and lime green. I would be the ‘Oops’ and my co-teacher would be the ‘Beautiful’.
We started by painting large purple spill-like shapes onto thick cotton fabric, which we would wear like a tunic. We made sure the shapes were identical so the comparison could be made.
Once they were dry, we flipped them over and painted ‘Oops’ on one side and ‘Beautiful on the other’.
Then we got started on our head pieces. For the ‘Oops’ head piece, I wanted it to look like paint was spilling out of a bucket like the image in the book. So, I first poured purple latex based paint on a sheet of plexi glass. Once dry, I peeled it off (very satisfying) and cut it into the spill shape I needed.
For the ‘Beautiful’ head piece we used an old palette and paint brushes which matched the colours of the scheme. Then we simply assembled al the parts onto head bands.
For the finishing touches on the tunic, we added details, other images from the book and of course some un-accidental oopses such as splatters, smudges, stains, and smears.
We then paired the DIY costumes with matching yellow tights, purple wigs and purple lipstick.
Once in full gear, we pull a dust bin handle across our collar bone and under our shirt to help hold the tunic out so the images and words could be seem which also made us look like a sheet of paper. Lastly, we added some look-a-like sticky notes to the back with the lines from the pages we presented.
The art themed book choice, was no accident. In all lessons in the lead up to Book-O-Ween we themed up and facilitated Beautiful Oops lessons where kids turned Oops papers into works of art. It was certainly a Halloween for the books! The art teachers have upheld their honour, validated their artistic abilities, and once again reigned in the realm of school staff stylings. In the words of Britney … Oops! We did it again!