Shops that rent out costumes might come to the rescue of parents when their children have to ‘dress up' for a fancy dress competition or event, but schools are increasingly discouraging the practice.

Some are playing down one of the most colourful events in the school calendar by asking parents not to rent or buy costumes or seek professional make-up to go with the attire. An innovative idea, a creative costume to go with it and performance are winning points in competition, but the larger idea behind a fancy dress event is to make students get on the stage and remove their inhibitions, say teachers.

DAV Nursery School, Gopalapuram, sends instructions to parents before every ‘fancy dress day' not to go for hired clothes as they are not hygienic. Also, the event is not considered a competition as every student is a participant dressed creatively, which is workable by the parent.

SBOA School gives more weightage to an ‘original costume' than one done with the help of a professional . Primary school teachers say it is easy to distinguish a work done by a parent and a professional artist, and besides the building self-confidence of a child, the idea behind a ‘fancy dress day' is to involve parents.

M.CT.M. Chidambaram Chettiyar Matriculation Higher Secondary School and Bhavans Rajaji Vidyashram do not believe in organising fancy dress competitions, but ‘characterisation' is a co-curricular activity, where students come dressed up for themes such as ‘fruits'.

While some schools are particular children dress up in the most authentic fashion, in many other instances it is parents who go all out, say teachers. After not finding a suitable costume, A.M. Chitra, parent of a U.K.G. student of Chettinad Vidyashram, downloaded images from the internet to get the costume of a Tanjore doll customised at a shop.

Kalaivani Costumes, a costume hiring shop in Mylapore, says to discourage the practice of extra props, some schools announce the event only a day or two before.

Many other stores in the business say that as theme and activity-based events are increasingly becoming part of the curriculum, many beauty parlours are also involved. Renting a costume, which is priced from Rs. 100 to Rs. 400, is a cheaper and quicker option, they say.

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Liffy ThomasJune 28, 2012

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