What is it about Halloween that brings out alter egos in adults? It's something I can't quite put my finger on.
For years, I've observed the peculiar nature of both men and women, but mostly men, as they prance around in attire they wouldn't be caught dead in any other time of the year. At parties, at home or at the office in the days, adults permit their inner child, gender or monster to come out, or so it seems.
I can't figure out why any adults would want to show up at someone's doorstep wearing a diaper and sucking a pacifier. There's so much that's wrong with this picture that I don't know where to begin.
And what's with the mild mannered actuary who wobbles through the office in stilettos, wearing mascara and lipstick, his beer gut hanging out, sporting a tight top, baring chest hair and an even tighter mini-skirt? Thank goodness for dress codes the remaining 364 days of the year!
No, I'm not complaining about the guy who dresses up as Dick Tracy in a trench coat and fedora, as long as he's wearing clothes underneath. No flashing, please.
Halloween has always been a time for creativity and fun, and I'm good with that. It's the drama queens and the closet vampires that make me twitch.
Like the quiet guy down the street you don't hear a peep out of all year, except on Oct. 31. There he sits on his front porch wearing a monster mask and using his monster voice, scaring all the little children away.
People, let's not forget the true origin of wearing costumes this time of year. Originating from Celtic tradition, the holiday we know today as Allhallows Eve was called Samhain. Celtic people believed that on Samhain the spirits of the dead would mingle with the living before traveling to the afterlife.
The Celts held festivals, celebrations of sorts, and dressed in animal heads and hides to help the good souls on their way to the afterlife and to keep bad spirits away.
O.K, I admit I've never gone out and bought a costume for myself. Instead, I have pulled together outfits with items pooled from just about every closet in the house. Nothing obnoxious, though. Dressing as a rag doll, a clown or a good witch, like Glinda in the Wizard of Oz.
I suppose you're wondering what the most popular costumes are for adults. According to a National Retail Federation Survey, the most popular choices are a witch, pirate, vampire, zombie, cat, vixen, ghost, nurse and some sort of scary mask.
The Green Lantern leads the list, says costume retailer Spirit Halloween, followed by Lady Gaga, New Jersey reality star Snookie, the Smurfs, Batman, Angry Birds and Charlie Sheen rank at or near the top. Winning!
Author Deanna Joseph states in her article "Psychology behind Halloween Costumes" [BellaOnline], "Halloween offers us the opportunity to safely explore a different aspect of ourselves, and in psychological terms this process is called sublimation."
Happy Halloween, and, remember, whatever you decide to dress up as, your disguise will be telegraphing your inner child, vampire, witch or superhero. Boo! Boo, hoo!
2011 © Copyright Paula Damon.
A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contests, her columns have earned eight first-place awards. To contact Paula, email boscodamon.paula@gmail, follow her blog at firstname.lastname@example.org and find her on FaceBook.