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Fantasies, Sexuality, and Halloween

What does your Halloween costume say about you? Does it tap into your fantasies?

For the first time in a long time, I feel like celebrating Halloween. I feel like putting on a sexy dress, fishnet stockings and high heels and maybe a red-haired wig. Men seem to love red heads. This year feels like the time to express my hidden fantasies and desires. Maybe having just become a sexagenarian has brought out this sense of wonder in me, or maybe it is a newly discovered sense of playfulness. Whatever it is, I am excited to become whoever I will become for twenty-four hours. The special bonus about Halloween is being able to play the role of someone else without guilt, disdain, or judgment.

For some reason, ever since my kids became adults I have dismissed Halloween as a holiday to be celebrated by children, but as a child I really enjoyed the holiday. I was raised in suburban New York, at a time when we were allowed to eat unwrapped candies and apples tossed into our trick or treat bags. Halloween, like Valentine’s Day, was a kid’s holiday to look forward to all year long. We faithfully collected lots of pennies for UNICEF and only the really bad kids would throw eggs at the homes who did not offer candy. My standard Halloween uniform was that of a witch. I am unsure why this was my chosen costume. After all, I was a sweet girl who would not hurt a fly, and my pinky finger was not slanted inward—definitely not witch material. It might have been that my parents were not very creative and my father worked in dry goods and always had access to witches’ hats, which made it an easy costume to prepare.

The tradition of dressing up for Halloween goes back to the Celtic era. There was a time when winter was thought of as a scary time of darkness when there was always the possibility of a short food supply. Popular superstition dictated that, if people walked out of their houses, they would encounter ghosts. In order to be unrecognizable to the ghosts, they donned masks before venturing outside. In this way, they were thought of as fellow spirits, and less inclined to be harmed. There was a certain magic and mystery in this belief-- akin to the mystery of dressing up as someone else for a day.

It is interesting to study how people decide what they want to dress up as on Halloween. Do people choose costumes that are a reflection of someone they want to be, or never want to be? In reality, the sky is the limit for the types of costumes we can all choose from. To decide on a costume, I suppose the first thing to do is to decide on the genre of the costume. Do you prefer being sexy, horrific, scary (fascination with the macabre) funny (fascination with comics), or cute (a desire to be so)? Think about how you typically dress and what attire that makes you most comfortable. Allow your imagination to flourish—this is the one day you can be whoever you want. It is a day to live out your fantasies and/or startle those who will be in your company. Once you decide on the genre of your costume and come up with the basic costume, whether it’s a suit or two pieces. Then, consider the accessories you will need to accentuate your costume, the sexier, the better.

Another thing to consider about costumes is the significance of matching the Halloween costume to that of your partner’s and whether it is even necessary. It has been said that matching outfits say something about your relationship.

Halloween should be a fun day of self-expression. While others can offer you ideas of who they think you should be, the decision should ultimately be yours because you have to walk around in the shoes of that costume all day, not them. From my experience, it seems that people dress up as someone who has a different personality than them. In other words, a quiet person will choose someone outgoing and an outgoing person will choose someone quiet.

Psychologist Sally Foster organizes the annual Halloween party at the University of Miracosta and suggests that the faculty and students dress up as their favorite sexual deviance. She found that people choose either to dress up as someone they want to emulate or mock. She suggested that those who dress up as hot nurses, prostitutes or maybe even French maids might suggest someone’s repressed sexual tendencies. I wonder what this says about my fantasy costume of being a Catgirl. Never mind.

What is your fantasy for a day?