CORAL SPRINGS, FL - With families holed up at home during the coronavirus, many parents are scratching their heads to find activities to keep their children entertained.
Not Destiny and Bill Haggett.
The Coral Springs couple and their three boys have turned weekend family dinners into theme-nights -- complete with wearing costumes and makeup, singing, and dancing.
They’ve done “pirates night” featuring a dinner of potatoes, corn, and tropical punch with everyone wearing hats, bandanas, and fake mustaches. They’ve done “cowboys and western night” with a dinner featuring beans and homemade bread and the kids decked out in boots, jean shirts, hats, and even a miner's light headband.
And they’ve done “wizards night” while eating shepherd's pie and bangers and mash and wearing hoodies and white beards.
“We’ve gotten more elaborate as time went on,” Destiny said.
Destiny and Bill are both entertainers, so it’s not out of their league to pull off these home extravaganzas. He’s the general manager of Coral Springs Center For The Arts, and she’s the theater manager of Wynmoor Village retirement community in Coconut Creek.
And yes, the parents make the dinners and come up with ideas, but their children, Chansen, 19, Colton, 15 and Carson, 9, are the ones who bring the imagination.
As shrimp, sausage or hibachi-style chicken are prepared in the kitchen, the boys are finding old shirts, fabrics, eyeliner, and various odd-and-ends from around the house and turning them into fun costumes for their home parties, which usually end with watching movies related to the night’s theme.
What else is there to do during a quarantine?
“It’s just awesome,” said Colton, a student at Pompano Beach High School. “We’re all working at home and cooped up in our rooms all week. This is something to really look forward to.”
The Haggetts are a close family, Bill said.
“We’re the kind that still has a family dinner and ask each other: ‘how was your day?’” he said.
For a couple with day jobs focused on entertaining the masses, the stay-at-home orders have been tough, he said. The theme nights are a creative outlet.
“It’s been fun and healthy for all of us,” Bill said.
It all started in March when the family was planning to go to Universal Studios in Orlando for Mardi Gras. When the coronavirus ended those plans, they brought the party back to their home. They made drinks and listened to Cajun music.
The inspiration for the “weekend adventure” nights, as Destiny calls them, was actually from another time in their lives when Chansen was little and suffered from leukemia. Destiny’s parents would take him and the other children to their home in Cape Coral, get dressed up as cowboys and pirates, and watch movies together because Chansen was sick and couldn’t be with his friends.
“They all grew up with this,” Destiny said.
So far, the Haggetts have done six theme nights, she said. More themes are in the works: ‘20s gangster night and superheroes night.
“We love it,” she said. “What else is there to do?”
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