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Halloween: Being Someone Else

Posted on: Thursday, October 29th, 2020

As Halloween approaches, both children and adults may start to plan out the costumes they want to wear and what ‘persona’ or ‘character’ they wish to be for the holiday. It is interesting to consider how Halloween has transformed from a holiday that was enjoyed primarily by children to a “multi-day festival that is now celebrated by 64% of adults”. When considering reasons why adults would want to put on costumes and partake in the holiday, there could be several reasons. 


Trying out a new identity or character is commonly done on online platforms via social media and especially within video-games. Having the opportunity to pretend you are someone else is not an opportunity that presents itself often in our everyday lives. Halloween is a time when both adults and children can try out new identities and see how they feel. Feeling powerful or ‘gifted’ may be a feeling some people want to express and exhibit. This opportunity does arise at Halloween when it is socially accepted/expected to do so, which can explain why superheroes are some of the most popular costume choices. A psychologist at the University of California, Robin S. Rosenburg, who studies the psychology of wearing costumes/cosplay, stated that costumes “give you permission to step outside of yourself”, and sometimes, “it can summon something in you that doesn’t usually come out”. 


Halloween is also a time where people may put on costumes to fit in with their friends, follow social norms, or just for fun/enjoyment. Remember to be safe in this Halloween season and if you want to wear a costume, show parts of yourself that do not usually come out.

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