Costumes, Halloween, and The Self
I recently heard a friend glumly describe Halloween as “a bunch of people buying costumes from Wal-mart and dressing like sluts.”
She said these words as if they were poison in her mouth. But I love the idea of a holiday when one wears a disguise, for a couple of reasons.
Be Someone Else
We are often told by television and the culture to “be ourselves” as though
there was some authentic person that we could all just default to. I don’t
know that being “yourself” is always possible. The self is dynamic. My
12-year-old self could not have written this post and my 30-minutes-from-now
self will be tired and disappointed in the ideas that are fresh in this post
You can’t be the same thing everyday. Why not have at least one day out of
the year to be someone else.
Fewer Rules Mean Greater Freedom
It¹s true that men and women often dress in a more sexual way on Halloween
than on other days.
Great! I think if people are dressing differently on a holiday it is because
there is a desire in the culture to have a time and place where a more frank
kind of dress is appropriate. Some will argue that those who dress sexually
do so because societal forces push them in that direction not because they
actually desire to express themselves in a more sexual way, I have trouble
We may find some costumes tawdry or in poor taste, but I think having a
culturally accepted day when people can dress absurdly whether it is sexual
mineral or vegetable is a good thing. I don¹t want to tear down all the
social rules and have an anarchy, but I think a few fewer rules once in a
while is more than healthy.
Clothes Have Power Beyond There Appearance
As a swimmer I can tell you that I felt ready to work out as soon as I had
my suit on, in a business suit I feel the same way about another kind of
work, and in a suit of armor or some other ridiculous costume I can feel
ready to work on something different.
Think about the expression “how you see yourself.” The face value meaning is
about how one perceives their own person but what we are literally talking
about is the visual act of seeing yourself. So tomorrow, I suggest you get
a costume (from Wal-mart or whereever you want) and try and see yourself as
It is the nice thing about the self you can change it.