Summer is upon us, and students everywhere have been dreaming of the last day of school.
One mom from Pennsylvania might just be more excited about summer break than her son. Two years ago, Erin Mulder of Beaver County started a fun tradition that she’s continuing this year. Every morning she gets up and puts on the silliest and most elaborate costume she can find. Then, she stands outside her house to greet her son’s school bus in style.
Students and parents alike now look forward to seeing what kooky get-up Erin will wear each day as she counts down the days until summer break. She has run the gamut when it comes to costumes, from Captain Underpants to Baby Shark, and everything in between.
The idea to dress up each morning was sparked by Erin’s son’s school bus driver, Rose George. Rose has been driving for the Hopewell Area School District for the past 4 years. She asserts that “bus drivers play a big part in the kids’ lives, too,” so she started wearing goofy hats every morning as summer break approached.
One day in May, Erin decided to stand outside her house with a sign to count down the days until break. The COVID-19 pandemic was still going on at the time, and she just thought the kids could use a reminder of happier days to come. When Rose spotted Erin, she knew she could help the fellow mom take her countdown game to the next level.
“I couldn’t take it above [wearing hats] because I have to drive,” said Rose, “and one day, [Mulder’s] standing out in the yard, holding a sign and counting down with the kids, and I said, ‘Let me give you my stuff. You can do what I can’t. Other than my crazy hats.’ So it kind of spiraled from there.”
Erin took the idea and ran with it, coming up with more and more outlandish outfits right up until the last day of school on May 27. Rose then shares pictures she takes of Erin’s costumes on Facebook with the hashtag #Bus31CountdownMama. The whimsical daily routine has given their community a welcome smile each day.
What does Erin’s 9-year-old son Gabe think of the costumes? Don’t worry; he loves them!
“Last year actually, a couple of kids were kind of laughing about it,” Erin recalled. “[My son was] like, ‘Mom, I’m gonna stand on the lawn and do it with you, just to show them.’ I was never prouder.”
Erin and Rose have no plans to stop the tradition any time soon because it brings too much joy to the lives of those around them. They’ve noticed people in their community being kinder to one another, and Erin is a bit of a local celebrity now. The moms agree that after the collective trauma of a global pandemic, dressing up is a fun and easy way to make others smile.
“That’s what people need nowadays,” Rose said. “Everything has been so bleak for two years. You need something that’s going to make you smile and make you feel good, even if it’s for five minutes, it’s still a pick-me-up, compared to what’s been going on. And it’s fun.”
Gabe, you have the coolest mom and bus driver ever! We love seeing people who aren’t afraid of looking a bit silly if it gets a laugh. Lookin’ good, Erin!
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