Halloween signifies different meanings at different points in our lives. We are told over and over that we can be whoever we want to be, however, we are allotted one specific day to do so – to be not only whatever we want, but whoever we want. As little girls we rummaged through aisles of Alice in Wonderlands, Cinderellas and wicked witches, while little boys chose between dinosaurs, Pokemon and Power Rangers. For the majority of adults, Halloween lost its fantastical nature long ago and was replaced by the idea of being “cool” or “sexy.”
When it comes down to it though, whether you’re dressed as a pirate or a pimp, Halloween is about one thing: playing pretend. What we choose to ignore is that we play pretend every day – we are just not rewarded Hershey Bars on the daily for doing so.
Are we ever just ourselves? Take a second to mull over how you are with your parents vs. how you are with your best friend. Are they the same person? And if not, which is the real “you?”
We define “self” by nouns – girl, boy, parent, daughter, son, girlfriend, boyfriend, etc. I want you to pay close attention to what question you ask your peers pertaining to their costumes today. More often than not, it will come out as “what are you?” But we should not be solely defined as what we are, but also by what we do and the actions we take. For example, I am an aunt to my sister’s daughter – but should I be defined as an aunt, or defined by the type of aunt I am, how I act towards my niece and how those traits reflect in my personality?
Every situation we find ourselves in constitutes for a different form of behavior. How college students behave at a party would not be reflected in a classroom setting. The details we confide in our friends and significant others would not come up in conversation with our authority figures. Is it actually possible to define us as one type of person when day-by-day, action-by-action, who we are is tested and formed?
On Oct. 31, we all choose a persona to enact. Why do we choose said persona and what does that say about our own? Pretending to be someone other than who we are only adds to the definition of who we aspire to be – famous, funny, mysterious, ironic, and more. However, Halloween is far from the only day of the year that playing pretend is relevant. We try on different personalities each day, but when is it that we are able to stop, reflect, and say “This is me?”