Friday, October 1, 2010

Why dressing up in Halloween costumes is so much fun

Of all the holidays on the calendar, Halloween is the one most about having fun and expressing yourself. The Halloween costume you choose represents a decision to liberate yourself from your regular persona. Inevitably your Halloween costume expresses something about your personality or taste or opinions. Halloween offers both children and adults a safe and fun way to experience the world from a different perspective.

This act of liberation triggers excitement. It is like that first day of vacation when you experience freedom from your daily routine. When a group of people in costume gets together, their shared excitement enhances the feeling for every individual, resulting in a heightened sense of fun.

A little dash of anxiety adds to the excitement as well. When you dress up in a costume, especially something daring, you will feel some nervousness about presenting yourself to your peers. There is always that little nagging insecurity that makes you wonder if people will disapprove. But of course you go ahead with the costume anyway because it's all right on Halloween. The anxiety melts away once you see how much everyone enjoys the costume. Even if it was daring, or gruesome, or risque, people who know you will likely admire your daring and enjoy the fact that you are not truly one hundred percent a boring person who never takes risks.

Beyond the people who know you are the people who do not know you. Parading yourself to strangers on Halloween steps up the fun. Because you are in costume, people unacquainted with you have only your Halloween costume by which to judge you. You are a clown, or sexy nurse, or axe murder victim. That's it. This delightful anonymity coupled with costume weirdness accelerates the Halloween fun. When you are party hopping and bar hopping on Halloween, people laugh and comment happily on all the costumes they see, speaking to strangers as they go. This delightful energy is unlike anything on any other day of the year. People like seeing society transformed into a wonderland of alternative individuals. People who dress up for Halloween fill every town and city with a parade of avatars, and, for a few hours, release society from the grinding imperative to conform.

We all have many aspects inside, but society requires us to mostly be a predictable and conforming member. But on Halloween, the rules are thrown out. You can express your identity in any fun or creepy way that suits you. The power of costumes to transform the energy of a group has been known since the first shaman pulled a wolf's head over his face. Costuming on Halloween brings people from all areas of society together to share this ancient form of identity release. Most of us are glad to take off the costumes at the end of night, exhausted by the fun yet renewed by the experience and ready to return to a socially normal state. 

Learn more about Halloween and consider some ideas for Halloween costumes at my website Making Fear Fun.