Why we love Halloween, the third act

Picking up from Part Deux,

As with every other holiday, Americans have re imagined and redefined Halloween. I’d be lying if it wasn’t another big commercial event. How many tons of cheap chocolate and waxy candy corn get pushed out of stores every year? How many costumes are worn for a few hours and discarded?

Deeper down though, there is a bigger story. Why do we pick the costumes we wear? What about the people that don’t wear one, is it because they already wear a mask?

Halloween gives everyone permission to cast aside the garb of everyday life, and put on a persona for an evening. A different persona from the one we wear every other day of the year.

Scarily enough, it’s an election year, and plenty of people will dress as one candidate or another, just to terrify the masses. Others will take the time to take on Mad Max or Captain America.

But why is this important?

Just like through the annals of history when people dressed as the ghosts  and demons they wanted to scare away, people get to wear the visage of the people and ideas that scare us the most, or in other cases inspire us.

I believe Halloween is one of our most important cultural events every year. It is important enough to us as a culture that many people now carry it beyond the one day a year. Science Fiction and Fantasy conventions, Renaissance Faires, and other cultural events allow us to dress and embody that persona that we really wish we could be.

The day for us to be creative, decorating our homes and offices, dressing up in sometimes simple, sometimes elaborate costumes. It gives us permission to be a little better, a little more fun, a little more hopeful.

By night, we can be a little mischievous, playful and even a little naughty. It’s the celebration that lets us confront our inner demons. All by being able to change out of the mask we wear, to one that is a little different.

So this Halloween, look at that person in a costume, and wonder what they are trying to say.
To be continued…

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