Halloween is the one night of the year when it’s perfectly acceptable to openly pretend you are someone you are not. But it turns out that our costumes reveal more about our personalities and dreams than we may realize.
Author Kelly Rossi has always loved Halloween. The author of the new book “Dating the Wrong Men” says the holiday became even more special to her three years ago because of a costume party she was dragged to by a friend.
“This pirate walled through the door and we both knew that there was something there,” she says. It turns out they were both right - Rossi (who was dressed as the Queen of Hearts on that fateful evening) and her pirate got married this week.
“I think that Halloween is - for me at least- more lucky than Valentine’s Day,” she says. “People are taking chances and being themselves.”
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Rossi’s fascination with Halloween has lead her to informally study the meanings behind certain costumes and why we gravitate towards them. “Your costume is an expression of yourself,” she says. “No costume is wrong.”
We asked her to share some of her insights about popular characters we’ll all probably be seeing this weekend.
Your costume is celebrity or news-inspired: “Those people are on top of current events and they want everyone to know that,” she says.
Your friend picked his favorite superhero: “There are numerous scientific studies about this,” she notes. “They are living out that childhood fantasy of saving the world. At times, it is to compensate a feeling of inadequacy - but that isn’t always the case."
An acquaintance decided to dress as an animal: “When you get into animals, it’s more about specific traits of those animals,” says Rossi. “Lions signal strength, owls are wise and sharks are aggressive.”
He gravitates towards scary costumes like monsters or vampires: These people tend to express their fascination with horror,” she explains. “They like to watch scary movies.”
The people who choose to be cops and firefighters and other authority figures: “They desire to be taken more seriously,” says Rossi.
Your neighbor goes for a skimpy, revealing costume: “It’s people who put a lot of time into their body and want people to notice that.”
Over the years, Rossi says that she has worn costumes in each of the categories detailed above. “Looking back at the times I dressed as a cop, I was running a business and I was working hard to be taken seriously,” she says. She adds that on reflection, she sees how her costumes often said a lot about the phase of life she was in.
“It’s your one chance of the year where you can say, “I want to do this,” she explains.