Ever since Og donned that sabre tooth tiger skin to go out and hunt dinner for his family, humans have never stopped loving the act dressing up. Not black tie evening wear or lets go clubbing wear—I mean costumes. There is a little mischievous critter (wearing a microscopic tribal mask no doubt) that loves to tickle our fancy and prod us to alter our egos and become someone or something else.
Halloween is a few days away and I have my costume ready. I LOVE Halloween and I love an excuse to be someone else (especially when it involves a wig!) A real, honest transformation occurs not only on the obvious exterior but inside. The costume we choose might be the ultimate Rorschach ink blot test. The little interior bug swimming in the darkened folds of our unconscious can see our secret desires, fantasies and fetishes. We project this in the safety of the organize ritual. We can stroll down the street on Halloween and no one will mock your need to become a seven foot tall bloody Q-tip. No—on the ritual days you be and let be.
Thank goodness for Halloween. Every society has days for costumes. These are important. They are a sort of valve that allows the collective release of tension and frustration. A cultural mental health day by allowing our fellow humans to go nuts—a controlled lunacy. Whether it is Mardi Gras or Carnival or the Village parade, the collective self-expression via the turning of ourselves inside out for all to see is perhaps the healthiest thing a people can do.
Kids obviously should be encouraged to do this. Personally I think they should be prodded into creating their own costumes rather than just grabbing one off the shelves. Or at least assemble a alter ego from various store bought peices. That way they can fully express the hidden monster that they are.
There are dangers to this. No- I don't mean the urban legends of razors in apples. When I was in seventh grade my father helped me (actually he did 99% of the work) make a Darth Vader costume. It was complete with a chest plate covered in electrical switches. Of course I ran into a neighborhood girl who asked what all the switches did and I proceeded to explain as she pushed my buttons. I did not see the neon sign lighting up letter by letter over my head with each switch flipped: G E E K !
Yes - my alter ego lightsabre-slashed my own ego across the midsection like Vader to Obiwan and it went down like a smelly, dusty robe.
Who cares. It was a GREAT costume.
Dress up. Peer within the dark places of your mind—shine a light, find a costume hanging there and wear it like the human being you are.
Mike is the author of THE DOOR TO FAR-MYST: The adventures of Rupert Starbright (book 1) from Zumaya Thresholds.