Confession: I don’t like to get dressed up in costumes. For as long as I can remember, I was resistant to costumes. I’m not good at fake.
On Halloween, I appreciate the fabulous costumes I see others wearing; I just want no part of having to wear one. I don’t want to come up with an idea, or put in the work to create it. Maybe I’m just lazy, but it feels like so much effort.
What’s the purpose of costumes?
I’ve long seen Halloween as a day when people put on costumes to pretend to be something other than who they are. In contrast to the other days of the year, when they pretend without costumes. It sometimes feels that everyone has a persona: appearing one way online or in public, and a different way in private.
That feels like too much work to me. I don’t want to keep track of who I’m pretending to be. I just want to be me.
Recently, a friend gave me another angle on costumes. He said that dressing up in costume gave him the freedom to be himself. Under cover of the costume, he could say what he really thinks and act how he really wants to act.
This forced me to think of costumers in a new way. Rather than costumes as a way to pretend to be something you’re not, it’s a way to be more of who you are.
I’m still trying to understand it. What about just being who you are without the costume? Are we so afraid of being who we are and saying what we think that we need to hide behind a costume to do this?
Today, two friends offered a third reason for wearing costumes: play. It’s fun to dress up and play a role. No agenda about being someone different or being more of who you are. Just pure, unadulterated fun.
As far as reasons go, it’s hard to push back on that one. What’s wrong with a little fun?
Of course, I don’t see costumes as fun and play.
So on a night devoted to ghosts, goblins, and all things scary, I’m exploring my shadows, curiously approaching my resistance to getting dressed up in costume.
Maybe by next year, I’ll be willing to embrace playing dress-up.
What’s your take on costumes and Halloween? Do you dress up? Why or why not?