Kids Corner | Gearing up for Fastelavn over the half-term holiday
Writing this column for the past year has been a lot of fun. It’s incredible to think that the Danish Fastelavn festivities are once more approaching, and it’s time to start thinking ahead about what your offspring will want to be. It’s a great chance to get creative!
I’ve always loved making things, especially sewing, though I was never a ‘girly girl’. As a child I found dolls hard and boring, and until one fateful day at the age of about ten, I preferred playing ‘man hunt’ with the boys at playtime. Taking hide and seek to the next level, it involved chasing and then piling on top of the person who was ‘it’. My mum had recently got a brand new sewing machine with all kinds of new buttons. ‘Smocking’ was one of them. She made me a lovely skirt from a length of striped material by smocking a waistband with elastic thread. Smart! I wore the skirt to school next day and ended up being ‘it’.
Dashing across the playing field was easy as there was plenty of material. Getting buried under the pile of schoolmates was no worse than usual either. But as the seething pile of youthful enthusiasm began to disperse, a disconcerting ‘twang’ echoed across the school yard followed by an equally worrying ‘whizz’ as the three lines of elastic holding my skirt together unravelled simultaneously. Luckily playtime was over and the gawking heap of bony elbows, knees and giggles disentangled itself and went indoors. I was left huddling awkwardly on the ground in my knickers grasping what looked like a stripy deckchair without the frame.
Oh dear. My poor skirt. Good timing though. I was literally saved by the bell.
Make a proper pig’s ear of dressing up
That experience didn’t stop my mum making me pretty dresses, and it hasn’t stopped me sewing either, though mainly for dressing up. We transformed Jake into Yoda for a Star Wars convention in Germany last year. Yes they are pigs’ ears from a pet shop – glued onto an inside-out Dr Phil wig and spray-painted green. And we made Jake up as Dr Zoidberg from the Futurama cartoon for Fastelavn last year, courtesy mainly of the local Red Cross shop. At www.helendyrbye.blogspot.com you’ll find more photos and hints on Danish Fastelavn traditions in the run up to the festivities on 2 March (or thereabouts in schools). We’ll also show you how to make special Danish Fastelavn cakes.
Sew your own? Or ready-made costumes?
If you want to have fun this half-term holiday customising a costume from scratch, raid a local charity shop for wacky clothes or curtains to cut up – or check out www.stof2000.dk for a shop near you.
Discount at Fest og Farver
Our top recommendation, Fest og Farver, has ready-made costumes, accessories and inspiration. What’s more, in early February their shop on Jagtvej will be moving to Nørrebrogade 110-112 and they’ll be celebrating with small surprises for children on 10 February plus a 10 percent discount throughout week seven, the half-term holiday. Sounds fun.
From Feb: Nørrebrogade 110-112, Cph N; open Mon-Thu 10:00-17:30, Fri 10:00-18:00, Sat 10:00-14:00; www.festogfarver.dk
If you end up buying a conventional princess outfit from a toy shop, add an extra dimension by visiting the museum and seeing the new portrait of the Royal Family painted by Thomas Kluge (on display until March 2). Then paint your own royal portraits when you get home.
Amalienborg Museum, Christian VIII’s Palæ, Cph K; 3312 2186, firstname.lastname@example.org; tickets: adults 90kr, under-17s free adm
The crown jewels
This amazingly lavish old castle shows how Danish kings and queens enjoyed life in days gone by and has an impressive display of the Danish crown jewels.
Rosenborg Castle, Øster Voldgade 4A, Cph K; 3315 3286, email@example.com; tickets: adults 90kr, under-17s free adm; www.dkks.dk.
Make your own jewellery
Beadhouse and Smyks Perlebutik sell everything you’ll need to make beautiful jewellery to jazz up a child’s special outfit. Then you’ll be good and ready for a smashing time with barrels of fun!
Helen Dyrbye is a published author, translator and former scout leader from East Anglia in England who relocated to Denmark a long time ago and loves it here as much as ‘back home’.