When you were a child did you go to community Fancy Dress parties or concerts or had they gone out of vogue?
The local community hall was not too far from our house and had been built in 1929 when the estate was newly developed. By then my grandparents had been living there for some years. As a child I went to kindergarten in the hall briefly, and dancing even more briefly. I also recall that my parents used to go square dancing there when I was a youngster. Even though my memory is fuzzy on the topic, I’m reasonably sure that a family in the next street minded me. I don’t think my grandparents ever did, probably because my grandmother didn’t approve of dancing, thanks to her conservative Presbyterian views. Memory can be so unreliable about some things I find.
It seems that this hall had a tradition of hosting community events which included fancy dress competitions. In 1932 my father had won the “Most Original” prize as a baker at one of these events. I have to wonder how a baker might have been dressed originally but that will remain a mystery, and of course my grandmother was a professional dressmaker so that may have helped.
A quick search of Trove reveals just how popular these competitions/balls/socials were at least until I was a child. They weren’t the same as dress-up performances for a song or poem or specific event, like Christmas or Easter. I certainly don’t remember that my children had special fancy dress events very often, though we do have a few photos -which I’m not allowed to share here <smile>.
My very vague memory suggests that prize winners in these fancy dress concerts/socials/whatever usually won some small prize. Like most children’s concerts, the pressure was on the Mums, and perhaps the occasional artistic father (not mine!), to come up with something that made their child feel special and maybe even win a small prize.
I remember feeling pretty special in my fancy outfits with a little bit of make-up. I have no recollection of ever winning a prize. Oh for Trove to be digitised a little closer in time.