When I was younger, I had a theatrical flair, which spilled over to my sons and involved a quite large “costume box” for creative play. It seems natural then for me to be drawn to Lala’s Trunk, the brainchild of Ladonna Vest, who provides costumes and dress up games for children’s parties in the Chappell Hill area of Texas.
You see, I was born in an era of make-believe. There were no TVs, no computers, so as children we entertained ourselves. We played dress up in our parents’ discarded clothes and wrote and acted in plays of our own design.
As an adult I starred in a local production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, performed vignettes from Hello Dolly, created musicals for my church and cast my sons in those productions. One year my youngest recruited his friends and we staged an all-kid extravaganza for my granddad’s nursing home.
Throughout those years I collected costumes from the shows, from Halloween, and other sources, and those were kept in an oversized cardboard box and used by my sons and their friends for their own flights of fancy.
Ladonna is younger than I, and had a TV (limited to Sunday nights). She said, “While I was a tomboy, I dressed up in my grandmother’s and mother’s throw away clothes – usually with a frog in the pocket! Loved dressing up and playing in the rain, making mud pies!”
She may not have had a theatrical background, but Ladonna is the proverbial mom (of two adult sons) and grandmother (to “two precious grandchildren, Delilah and Hudson”). She has worked with children for over 35 years in schools, museums and church settings.
As her boys were growing up, she loved to have birthday parties for them that included lots of kids, activities, games and props and quickly learned that “if you are going to invite 10-20 kids to your house, you better have something for them to do.” She added, “Seriously – if you don’t have an activity or a game to play, your house is in danger of destruction!”
Ladonna and her grandchildren would also “dress up and have pretend adventures and proper tea parties” and over the years she collected a large trunk and three closets full of costumes. This inspired Lala’s Trunk, a service providing costuming and games for children’s parties.
What a great resource for parties and to foster the imagination of modern kids. You can learn more at the website www.lalastrunk.com and can follow Lala’s Trunk on Facebook. —