Middle and high school girls participate in the Dorothy's House and Land of Oz program in Liberal, Kan.
Middle and high school girls participate in the Dorothy's House and Land of Oz program in Liberal, Kan.
"At 15, my friends and I joked about dressing up as characters from The Wizard of Oz. Ten years later, we actually did it! Left to right: Holland, Briana (that's me!), Beth, and Bree in College Station, Texas." — submitted by brimorrison
"I am the executive director of Dorothy's House and Land of Oz in Liberal, Kan. We have a Dorothy program where girls from middle school to high school age dress up as Dorothy Gale. The girls give tours of Dorothy's House and guide people on a walk-through of the 1939 Wizard of Oz movie. In this photo, all of the girls who play Dorothy are on the Kansas Senate floor." -- JoAnne Mansell
"My daughter and I each won best costume awards last year at the annual Oz Fest, held in Chittenango, N.Y., birthplace of L. Frank Baum." — submitted by amberink
"The whole family dressed up one year for Halloween — Dad was the Wizard, Mom was the Lion, oldest son was Tin Man, middle son was scarecrow, daughter was Dorothy, and guinea pig was Toto." — submitted by amberink
"My twins dressed up as Dorothy and the Lion one year. The Lion suit has now been passed down through three generations." — submitted by barteleye
"This is a photo from 1977 when the 1st-grade class of Miss Franceschetti and the kindergarten class of Mrs. MacNabb took on the challenge of the FULL Wizard of Oz script and musical production. ... Recently the photo was shared on Facebook reconnecting the cast who shared their fond memories of being a part of the play over 35 years ago." — Debbie (Coccia) Young, 42, Wicked Witch of the West
"Dorothy and her Flying (crying) Monkeys!" — Amy Brodsky
submitted by Richard Walker
submitted by Scott Lindsey
"I have always been terrified of The Wizard of Oz. My mom made me this costume at age 8 to go along with my siblings and cousins as a group for trick-or-treating that year. Because every 8-year-old girl wants to be the Tin Man for Halloween? My 'body' was made of a Styrofoam container a rose bush came in. I couldn't sit or go to the bathroom all day." — Nina Schmidt, 35
"I was Dorothy every year for Halloween as long as I can remember. This was the year I made my brother join in the fun as well." — Hannah Kinsley
"Here is the Wolkenfeld Family dressed for Purim 2013. The theme was chosen collectively, and the kids worked out who should be which character. Top, from left: Rabbi David Wolkenfeld, Sara Wolkenfeld, Sophie (1), Grandma Jo Lang, Aunt Debra Tillinger. Bottom: Hillel (4), Noam (6), Akiva (4), and Uncle Richie Miller." — submitted by drmermaid
Jenny Barker Devine
"My name is Jenny Barker Devine and I grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa. We had the perfect back porch for staging productions. Over the years we did such classics as Lady and the Tramp and The Wizard of Oz. This is my sister, Karen Barker Crowley, as the Cowardly Lion, ca. 1985." — Jenny Barker Devine
"Welcome to Oz — Colin the Cowardly Lion, Karen the Scarecrow, Napoleon as Toto, Lauren as Dorothy, and Scott as the Tin Man. This imaginative book and movie has captured the heart of my daughter! She loves the whimsical characters and the catchy tunes of the movie." — Karen Hamilton, 36, San Jose, Calif.
submitted by Sonja Brouwers
"2008: Mom made the Dorothy costume about 10 years earlier for older sister and made the Lion costume this year; Dad assembled the Scarecrow costume." — submitted by David W.
"My four oldest grandchildren, the Weitzes of Oz, on Halloween 2006 in Stockton, Calif. These costumes were a collaboration by me and their paternal grandmother. They were actually the second generation of Wizard of Oz trick-or-treaters. Their mom, aunt and two friends did it first in 1984." — Ava Simpson
"For the Fall Festival each year, my elementary school would create a 'labyrinth' in the science lab, like a literary haunted house. ... I think the theme this year was something along the line of 'Great American Classics.' I was determined to be the Tin Man, and my dad made it happen (with lots of duct tape and silver spray paint)." — Heather Fauland
"My mother took great pride and pleasure in designing my elaborate Halloween costumes each year. In 1987, when I was 3 years old, she handmade this adorable Dorothy costume. ... I am now an English teacher, and I keep two copies of the book in my classroom library. It is a timeless classic that captures the heart of the reader, regardless of his or her age." — Stephanie Moore
"This was from the 1970s. We became all friends. I was the lion." — Tom Payne
Eric R. Price
"Because we went from Kansas to Chicago for a Halloween-themed race (the Monster Dash) in 2011, we thought we'd represent the state by dressing as some familiar characters. I think our 4-year-old Lion was the most popular. We even won for best costumes!" — Eric R. Price
"It all started with a hand-me-down Dorothy costume for our baby sister. Mom got crazed with making the costumes as authentic as possible. The Tin Man had moving joints, Scarecrow was itchy from all the straw, and the Lion was hot and sweaty under all that fake fur!" — Eyde Reilly, 50, Southern California
"Halloween 2009, Houston — there's Kathryn as Dorothy with her little moose named Toto (we didn't have a stuffed dog) and 2-year-old Eliza as a very tiny Good Witch Glinda, plus Phoebe as the Wickedest Witch of the West. The gorgeous costumes were handmade by my mother-in-law." — Brenda Lightfoot
Three kids dressed up as the Scarecrow, the Lion and Dorothy.
"My adventures in Oz started in the fourth grade in Ashby, Mass., in 1945. ... I dressed myself up as the Wizard. I took my bathrobe and made a cape, carved out a stick with the letters OZ for my wand and made a star-like crown for my head. I stood outside in the sun and called to my mom to take my picture. There I was at age 10, 'The Wizard of Oz.' " — Frank Maitoza, 75, Hemet, Calif.
"'We're off to see the Wizard' ... my amazing children (5, 4, 2 and 1) sang as they acquired more and more candy from the neighbors." — Bethany Jones
"We were our mother's guinea pigs for the yearly county fair costume class. At the time, we hated it. But to her credit, we won the trophy every time." — submitted by equestrianshaming
The Yellow Brick Road is a well-traveled one; generations of young readers have followed L. Frank Baum’s path to the magical Land of Oz. This spring, as members of NPR’s Backseat Book Club embarked on their own journeys to the Emerald City, we asked you to share your Oz memories and photos with us. Here’s a sampling of what we received.
“I grew up in Indiana, so the threat of tornadoes marked every spring and summer season. When I was about 10 or 11, one particularly dangerous storm — one that produced golf-ball sized hail — sent my family to our basement where we were forced to sit and wait for the storm to subside and electricity to return. I comforted myself with a big flashlight and a hardback copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, reading the opening chapters over and over. This early infatuation and fascination with Oz may be why I am now working on my English Ph.D. with a specialization in children’s literature, so I’m continually blown back again and again to Baum’s marvelous land.” Paige Gray, 31, Hattiesburg, Miss.
“As children, my sisters and I watched The Wizard of Oz repeatedly. So often, in fact, that the Schwan’s man, who delivered groceries to our home once a week, finally asked my Mother, ‘Do you own any other videos?’ “ Megan Parin, 25, Cincinnati, Ohio
“I learned to read with Oz books. They are the books I read over and over again as a child. They set the stage for a life as a reader. I think I loved them so much because my mother and grandmother grew up reading them as well. It was something we shared. And who wouldn’t love stories of children off on adventures without pesky adults around? I still have those same books that my grandmother read as a child in East St. Louis and my mother read as a child in Bogota and I read as a child in rural Minnesota. They certainly aren’t precious antiques, though — they show the wear and tear of being read by three generations. Now if I could just convince my own children to read them!” Susan Green, 42, Eagan, Minn.
“Like most of us who grew up watching The Wizard of Oz on black-and-white TV, I will never forget the first time I saw the scene when Dorothy opens the door and enters into Oz in color. For me that didn’t happen until I was about 20 years old. The technology of color television at that time was almost as magical as Oz itself. We waited all year for the annual broadcast of The Wizard of Oz. It was by far the most important television event of the year for us. My own children, who watched it dozens of times on videotape, could never understand or appreciate the additional pleasure generated by that kind of anticipation.” Richard Isenberg, 60, Cornwall, Vt.
“My father was born in 1922 and his dad read all the original Oz books to him as a very young boy. Because they stirred such vivid images and thoughts in him at that age and his love for the books stayed with him throughout his life, he introduced my son, born in 1992, to the book series. My dad bought him many of the original publications that have been reproduced lovingly by a modern publisher. I truly believe these tales inspired my son to write.” Sally Faires, 50, Mesquite, Texas
“The Oz books were a huge part of my childhood. We have close to all of them, and my dad would read them aloud to me and my sister every night before bedtime, voices included. (My favorite was his imitation of Billina the chicken.) When I was older he came to my third-grade class and read them aloud for story time. They were a big part in how I learned to read and also how I learned to get drawn into an imaginary world.” Molly Cook, 20, Peachtree City, Ga.
“I can remember watching The Wizard of Oz on our small Philco TV when I was maybe 5 or 6 in the early ‘50s. My mom was upset that the scenes of the flying monkeys and of the witch melting scared me so much that I had to sleep with her and my dad for days after I watched it. She swore that I would never be allowed to see it again but I never missed it whenever it aired on TV.” Ben Ferguson, 64, Dallas, Ga.
“The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie of all time. When I was little, my babysitter would play it over and over for me, so much so that the VHS copy broke because the tape ribbon snapped from overuse. My grandmother taped the VHS copy [that] I still have [today] from television. … I love that she missed a bit of one scene and that there are commercials from 1987. Much to her chagrin, I regularly used to unravel full rolls of paper towels and lay them down along the hallway and skip along them as if they were my ‘Yellow Brick Road.’ The Wizard of Oz will be forever in my heart. It reminds me of my childhood, my grandmother (who has since passed away), and I can’t wait to introduce it to my children someday. I hope they love it as much as I do.” Mandi Jacobs, 28, Bloomington, Ind.
We hope you’ll share your Oz stories with us in the comments below.
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