It’s that month again, and it’s always been one of my favourites.
When I was eight or nine, I really wanted to be a vampire. I ended up being Princess Leia, which was NOT what I wanted to be. Stuffed in a metallic gold smock (hello, 90s) with the signature ear muff hairstyle, I pouted through most of the evening. I did eventually get to be a vampire, Dracula-style complete with cape and fake blood, and ever since then choosing a costume has been something I approached with deliberation.
Though, ask my mother if there’s anything I didn’t approach with deliberation growing up.
Somewhere in my early teen years, I got the idea that Halloween was the time to come as you aren’t. I took that to mean that I, a shy-to-the-point-of-withdrawn adolescent, could step out of my shell and reveal something about myself. Putting on a costume was a chance to show who I was underneath my crippling shyness.
I’ve been a fairy a couple times, a vampire, Christine Daae from Phantom of the Opera, Eilonwy from the Chronicles of Prydain, a ninja, a goddess, Jessica Rabbit, and more. I never went for the sexy nurse or bared my bum, even though one fairy costume was on the short side and Jessica Rabbit is Jessica Rabbit.
There’s something about dressing up that frees you up from whatever preconceptions you have about yourself. I think Halloween costumes gave me a day a year to try out who I wanted to be (which wasn’t a reticent, terrified-of-people introvert) and learn from that.
If you meet me these days, you’ll see I’m no longer the silent bystander. I sometimes even talk to much, making up for the lost time of my youth where I never opened my mouth. I can still be a little standoffish in large groups where I don’t know many people, but when I’m comfortable, I’ll be an active participant like anyone else.
So this year, when you’re deciding what to be, ask yourself a few questions. Try it out. See what part of yourself you want to bring to life.
1. What’s a part of you that you feel you’ve neglected or never shown the world? Is that part of value to you? Try and quantify it into an adjective: strength, bravery, vulnerability, etc.
2. What symbols or people embody that quality?
3. What is it about that quality that you feel you haven’t expressed before? Is there a time in your life where you felt far from it? Close to it?
Whatever it is that is hidden away inside of you, this Halloween, bring it out. You might like what you see.
Do you already know what you’re going to be for Halloween? How do you approach your costume choices?
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