I went to Catholic school until 7th Grade. We wore uniforms – navy blue cords, white collared shirt, and the optional red v-neck sweater. Not a lot of opportunity for personal expression.
But once a year there was Halloween. On Halloween I could be anything I wanted. Express the inner me and show some personality. I had my favorites – Evel Knievel, Wolfman, Batman, baseball player. I think I was a pirate 3 or 4 times. Everybody got into the spirit. My older brother was often an Indian, and my kid brother was usually the Hulk. Our friends all dressed up at the school carnival, and the streets filled with trick-or-treaters dressed as Jedi’s, vampires, and princesses.
Growing older, I was surprised to see that everyone continued to dress up. We got decked-out for events in high school and college. After that it became bars, clubs, and late-night house parties. Talk about your self expression. Seems a lot of people like to express themselves with very little clothing these days.
The costumes people choose have always intrigued me – actually, not the costumes, but the intention behind them. What makes people choose their costume? What influences that thought process? Scary, silly, or sexy? Funny, flirty, or famous? Wonder Woman, a Banana, Scarlett O’Hara, Billy Idol, Popeye and Olive, a Cheerleader – you were those things for a reason. You have to be comfortable in your costume, and I doubt you would be comfortable in something that wasn’t a personal reflection of some defining characteristic. Seems to me that on Halloween we reach inside ourselves and find a quality that we can display on the outside, if only for one night a year.
At least that’s how we used to do it. Now we constantly share our pictures, our thoughts, our friends, our likes. We display everything – and we do it all 365. Never have we been more able to express ourselves – or see the character of other people. Everyone establishing their “personal brand” whether they realize it or not. Halloween is a fun outlet for personal expression, but I do prefer this ability to do it on a more regular basis.
Happy Halloween everybody!