Hadriana kindly asked for an update on my 14th September posting (thanks!) and I started writing a postscript to that posting. However as the PS grew I decided instead to cut and paste it into a new posting. So here it is:-
Firstly I visited a local theatre group in Ipswich who keep an extensive warehouse full of old costumes which they rent out. They only open for costume hire on a Monday but they are much cheaper than fancy dress shops. I've used them before for a Tudor costume to attend a recreation event on the recommendation of another parent. At the warehouse I told them that I was looking for a Dahl character costume for my son. "Which character do you want?" they asked. This completely threw me - I was (rather naively) expecting them to have a rail of Dahl character costumes. A hurried phone call to Mrs Troy at her office produced a very short list of Dahl characters after she had first berated me for not taking any Dahl books along with me to the warehouse (!!!). "We do have a fox costume" and the lady went away and returned with a realistic fox costume (well not totally realistic - there were no tyre marks on it or guts protuding from the body). The big problem however was that it was a one-piece jumpsuit fastening at the neck, which didn't seem ideal for an eight year old to wear all day at school (toilet complications you understand - Troy is a very thoughtful father!). Frankly they didn't have much more to offer in a Dahl theme - thousands of costumes but not much that was "Dahly").
Meanwhile back in Mrs Troy's office a co-worker told her that she could lend her various accessories that would make up a cowboy costume. This would create what I believe is "TV Mikey", a child character who dresses constantly in a cowboy outfit and one who held one of the winning golden tickets in the Chocolate Factory story. Thank God! It was far from being the most imaginative, or even a central character, but it would suffice.
So Troy Junior went to school dressed as a cowboy. Another parent met him in the playground with "Hello TV Mikey!". I was relieved (not having read the books). Many of the costumes worn by the children were amazing - head to toe creations plus significant make-up applied. But our cowboy outfit sufficed. Troy Junior was happy with his holster containing two guns and I think he was quietly relieved not to be wearing one of the large padded costumes or anything that was plainly unsuitable for a whole day in the classroom. We'd also said we'd treat him with the money saved from not having to hire a costume from an expensive hire shop. (Blackmail often gets a child onside!).
Of course he didn't win the class prize but he wasn't in the least bothered about that. He told us that one boy in his class had come in his school uniform and he obviously felt quite sorry for him. Some parents just won't make an effort, will they - I feel like phoning social services!
The final bonus was that Mrs Troy's co-worker said that TJ could keep the cowboy outfit, complete with toy guns, because her son had outgrown it. TJ was very happy with that outcome.
[Finally, many thanks for all your comments on the initial posting. They were both helpful and supportive. It was obvious from the playground that some mothers relish making elaborate costumes and then take much pride in arriving at school with their children to show them off. I, on the other hand, am very proud that my Troy Blog readers don't fall into that catagory.]