In costume, we not only lose our inhibitions, our fear to reach out and connect, we also dare to parade our dreams, the imaginings that fuel our personalities. Most of us don’t usually let that stuff out!
When I was a kid, my mom used to make me dress up as a hobo for trick-or-treating. You can’t blame her—‘hobo’ was a warm, cheap costume (in other words, my dad’s old work clothes and a tattered straw hat). As I neared my teens I got smarter, and talked her into letting me be a gypsy—again, a warm, cheap trick-or-treating costume (her old prom dress with her college-years hippie skirt over it, and a tablecloth as a shawl). Even back then I knew if you’re going to dress up, why not go with the REAL fantasy! I didn’t want to be a hobo! I wanted to be a beautiful, mystical fortune-teller!
The truth is…I still do.
Of course, this concept translates a little differently, now that I’m a big girl. Hasn’t it for all of us? The goals of fantasy have changed from getting as many sweets as possible into our pillowcases to maybe, just maybe, getting some sweet pillow talk. There is almost no better time to be single than a dark mysterious Halloween party swamped with swarthy pirates, thirsty vampires, scantily clad kitty-cats and sexy nurses.
But who are these people?
The choice of costume could very well be a window into the soul of the wearer. Look at it as a freebie peek at this person’s interests and desires. The Jack Sparrow across the room might be a usually shy computer programmer with a colorful imagination (great abs) and a penchant for classic horror films—just like you. Good thing you dressed as Elvira. In real life, would the two of you have such a perfect opening for a conversation? Beneath his buccaneer hat, behind his daring eyeliner, he can open on a strong point, with a disguise-induced bravado that lurks within, something that might go missing behind a calculator and cubicle walls. In costume, we not only lose our inhibitions, our fear to reach out and connect, we also dare to parade our dreams, the imaginings that fuel our personalities. Most of us don’t usually let that stuff out!
In fact, studies show that Halloween is the #2 hook-up night of the year, second only to New Year’s Eve. It is more than tempting to give in to the fantastic comic book-surreal quality of the night, but it’s also important to remember that while you might be dressed as Wonder Woman, and while you probably are a lot like Wonder Woman in real life, you are still vulnerable to the year-round downfalls of a one-night stand. And that early morning search for a cab could be really awkward in Wonder Woman’s knee-high vinyl platform boots.
On the other hand, lots of people dress in sexy Halloween garb to entice someone they’ve been dating for a while, someone with whom they already know they have a connection, but there might be a little of that early-on “honeymoon” magic fading into the background. Halloween could even be a beginner’s course in role-playing, a fun way to bring desire, fantasy and passion into a relationship that likely also must deal with splitting the rent, future mother-in-laws and jealous exes.
The fantasy, no, the very achievable goal, of Halloween is to get your trick AND your treat on. The chance for disguise, the excuse to put on a real mask and drop the masks we actually wear every day, might even lead to a more honest dating experience. Without the flapper outfit, or whatever was left at the rental place once your friends finally talked you into going out for Halloween.
As in any holiday, getting into the spirit is the key. Nothing attracts more, or feels better, than true enthusiasm, letting go of your inhibitions and, ironically, thanks to your costume, being yourself for a precious few hours. Keeping in mind that being yourself includes making sure your head remains somewhat in contact with your shoulders. A brief search of the internet tells me that the most popular Halloween costumes of 2011 are zombies, Mad Men-esque secretaries…and Charlie Sheen. So, all you girls dressed as Joanie will be fighting over the one Jack Sparrow (the computer programmer who didn’t get the Charlie Sheen memo) at the party. Have fun and be safe!