Friday, March 18, 2016

Bad dog

My list of things to do a couple of weeks ago was killing me. I had to...
  • make a dog costume for the stake musical
  • find other costume things for the stake musical
  • make a fruit/vegetable costume for the 1st grade musical
  • chaperone a field trip
  • get my house ready for my mother-in-law to visit
But then we ended up with a nasty stomach virus and I gave up trying to get the house ready for my mother-in-law. Miriam's school musical was postponed until the end of April—after even the stake musical is over—so I have plenty of time to figure out a costume for that. The field trip came and went and I chaperoned it just fine. And I managed to finish that dog mask Rachel and I had been working on.

These are the guidelines we were given:
We are asking parents to supply a dog costume for their child. They can be any variety/breed of dog. They can be homemade or store bought; an older and loved dress up or Halloween costume or brand new from the store or online. Please do have a puppy costume that you can be proud to have worn on stage and not a “thrown together at the last minute for Cow Appreciation day” style costume. If you want any clarifications about your costume ideas please email me. If you cannot supply your puppy costume due to financial reasons please also contact XXX personally, and she can supply you with something. 
First of all, the Chick-fil-A love is a little strong in these parts. That cow shows up everywhere—school breakfasts, grad parent Christmas parties, just everywhere—and I've never heard of so many people eating at that establishment.

The girls got gift certificates to Chick-fil-A for Christmas, though, so I guess we'll have to figure out where the place is. We've never eaten there (though we did have their ice cream at that one grad parent event).

Anyway, Chick-fil-A hosts a cow appreciation day every once in a while and I guess the deal is that if you dress up as a cow and go to the restaurant you get something free. People dress up in white and tape black paper splotches to their clothes in order to get...whatever is free...I guess. They're rarely very good costumes, usually thrown together at the last minute when you remember it's cow appreciation day.

I, uh, don't celebrate cow appreciation day.

But I did make an adorable dog mask that I figured was nice enough to not to be categorized on a cow appreciation level. Here it is on not-the-right child (since Rachel's a puppy, not Miriam):

Well, when I took it in to get it approved with the rest of our costumes I was told that it's cute but that it "doesn't really follow church standards" since we don't wear masks at activities. So I'd have to come up with something else.

I was not pleased.

Surely, a puppy costume during a play was not considered beholden to the same rule as a gory mask at a Halloween party! Plus, fake beards are always allowed (I'm sure we've all had bible characters visit our primaries) and those obscure as much of the face as this puppy mask. It's like a mask for the bottom half of your face.

And it totally hides your identity. Real beards do, too. Have you ever seen the transformation that happens when a bearded man suddenly shaves it all off?

Anyway, I guess I was most upset because I'd spent the time to make the silly thing. And now I was being told that it was "cute" but "not in line with church standards" so I'd have to come up with something else. Along with finding three different costumes for myself, two costumes for Miriam, and a second costume for Rachel, I was now sent back to the old drawing board for her first costume, which I thought I'd already finished. And with rehearsal four times a week I wasn't sure where I was going to find the time to throw something else together that wouldn't be...cow appreciation style.

Today they sent out an official email informing all the puppy parents about this, linking to a bunch of ideas that I thought would fall under cow appreciation (ears on a headband, pinned on spots), and reminding us (because I know I wasn't the only parent who already came up with a mask) that "we can not wear masks. One, they will make it hard for the kids to see and two, they are technically against church rules (yes, no masks at halloween church parties)."

I suppose it struck a chord in me, probably in part because a friend shared this video on Facebook:

I'm generally a rule follower. But I'm also a person who questions things if they don't make sense. Because that's how good rules come about and not mindless rules that don't make any sense. So I questioned the mask rule—oh, rebellious, administration-questioning me—and I found that there is no rule against masks in dramatic productions and, in fact, that they are the exception to the general rule of no masks at church activities.

So I sent an email back to the costume lady explaining that (and linking to the handbook). I was nice and said that not allowing masks due to their vision-obscuring qualities (kind of, sort of, but not really) made sense, but that I didn't think they should be telling people that something is a Rule from On High when, in fact, it isn't.

Plus, my friend Laura found an old dog costume she made for one of her kids for some Halloween past, so I'm all set with a dog costume. Phew!


  1. You get an entirely free combo meal when you dress up for cow appreciation day. Sure, the costumes can look pretty sketchy and thrown together, but a free chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and lemonade? Count me in! Blake and I try to go every year. Also, I'm glad you stuck up for yourself regarding the masks. I've been asked to direct our ward's roadshow this year (though I haven't heard anything about it for close to a month, since they asked), and I will keep that in mind if I need to!

  2. I'm a rule follower by nature as well but I swear being a member of the church has actually been a little detrimental to my natural nature because some of the rules are so ridiculous and enough people act like that stupid things that I know are just done for convenience or beuracracy sake are sent down from God that I just about can't stand now I'm a rebel. Hope you are happy people. Hope you are happy. I think your mask is adorable. Maybe Miriam can wear it to the ward Halloween party next year ;)

  3. #4 in the Handbook explains why they got rid of Gold and Green Balls, which were the highlight of events in my mother's youth: no choosing kings and queens!