Why do people choose to celebrate Halloween by being someone other than themselves? It’s a rather odd tradition if you think about it. Who came up with this idea? Why do trick-or-treaters and Halloween party-goers put on a costume to celebrate carved pumpkins, ghosts and the obscenity of pop culture?
The idea of Halloween began to take root in America in the 19th Century through the traditions of Irish and Scottish immigrants who brought to the New World a mixture of their culture and annual traditions.
It was nearly universally agreed upon that the end of summer signaled a time to interact with the spirits of the world. This caused people to dress up as those spirits and behave differently than in everyday life, according to Laura Rosenfeld of Tech Times.
However, today, dressing up in costumes has evolved into a key aspect of Halloween.
Whether you are walking around in someone else’s clown shoes or ruby red slipper knock-offs, the idea of wearing a costume on Halloween has a much deeper meaning behind all the masks. Halloween costumes allow people to dress as someone else for the night, freeing them of any preconceived notions and judgment.
Psychology professor Sally Foster from the University of Miracosta in California questions an individual’s choice of their costume. In an interview with WCPO Cincinnati, she analyzed evil costumes, which are often popular during this time of the year.
According to Foster, “Evil costumes allow people to safely and even creatively express their dark side without guilt.” Just because someone wears a “Scream” mask on Halloween does not necessarily mean they want to become a murderer themselves.
Costumes also have more to do with their inner desires and fears. Dr. Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist on the clinical faculty of UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute states in Psychology Today that “by dressing up as the things they are most scared of, [some]people try to feel as though they have mastered their fears.”
This no-rules, fright-filled night gives just about everyone permission to be whoever and whatever they desire based on their likes, dislikes, fears and aspirations. With that in mind, choose your Halloween costume wisely. Your costume decisions say more about you than you think.