Every school day in October, creative mom Julie Mudrick ensures that her kids get to meet a new whimsical character at their bus stop.
Since 2013, the mom from Vienna, Virginia, has dressed up in “bus stop costumes” every October to pick her kids up after school. So far, she’s channeled Harry Potter characters, Disney princesses, presidential candidates and other fictional and real people.
Mudrick told The Huffington Post she started the project to encourage her son Luke to not care so much about what others think, and she can tell her fantastic outfits have made a difference.
“He has more fun. He can let loose more,” she said. “And when he fails, he picks himself up again!”
When Isabella, Mudrick’s oldest, moved on to middle school, the mom of five asked her if she wanted to be greeted by characters, too. Instead, Isabella said she wanted to join the fun and now she dresses up with her mom to pick up the younger kids. Mudrick’s 4-year-old sometimes dresses up as well.
Mudrick told HuffPost she tries to not spend money on the costumes and typically borrows from friends and family or gets crafty using items from her wardrobe. She usually gives herself no more than 30 minutes to put together her costumes (with a few exceptions for more complex outfits and accessories).
“I think using 30 minutes a day, for about 20 days in October is well worth it to teach my little humans to be a positive influence in the world,” she said.
Though Luke mainly inspired the idea, Mudrick explained that she wants all of her kids to learn from her project. She hopes they’ll also want to stand out like she does at the bus stop.
“I want them to grow up to be confident, kind and joyful human beings,” she said. “Life throws roadblocks at us all the time, but if we can look for the good we can move past them.”
Mudrick says she plans to continue the tradition until her youngest is out of elementary school. Luckily, she’s not too concerned she’ll run out of ideas.
“With pop culture how it is, I think I can keep up!” she said.
See more of Mudrick’s “bus stop costumes” below and head to her Instagram for more.