There’s something really magical about being a different person for a day. Whether it’s just you but fancier or a complete disguise, dressing up in any way is generally a hoot, no matter the time of the year. Of course, with Halloween this week, I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot. What should I dress up as? What incredible costume could I take pictures of and post on Instagram, proving my loyalty to the holiday beyond simple recognition? Halloween has always been my favorite day of the year ― I love spooky things, jack-o-lanterns and I probably have a medical-grade addiction to sugar that at this point in my life is no longer cute. But I realize, now, that the reason Halloween is so important to me is that it offers an excuse to break out of the conventions of everyday life, without anyone really caring. For one day of the year, you can be anything or anyone. It’s a day that’s full of potential and fun, and you don’t have to be a child to appreciate that.
In fact, I don’t think I really started to appreciate Halloween until I got a little bit older than its target demographic. I remember my mom helping me to hand-make my costumes as a child, with feather boas and bears and different slices of fabric strewn across our house for weeks before the special day. The costumes she made for me were handed down to my siblings as they grew, and then to our younger cousins. Halloween was always a family affair for us. But the joy of putting on my own costume that I had come up with myself and even bled on a little bit while I tried to sew it by hand was like something I had never experienced before. Somewhere in the middle school haze of adolescence, I was finally able to be what I really wanted to be, to dress up like a princess or Mother Earth or an ill-prepared bumblebee with a broken wing. I had an excuse to wear the makeup I wanted to, to dress like an adult when I was really just a thirteen-year-old with dreams too big for her britches. Nonetheless, my love of Halloween developed as I grew up, instead of fading like I imagine most childrens’ do.
The thing is, as much as I love Halloween, the holiday excitement of looking how you dreamed you would is easily translatable into everyday life. Sure, I really go all out on October 31st, but I also dress the way that I want to for the rest of the year, now. I wear at least business casual on any given day. I really like dresses, doing my hair, makeup, looking nice and wearing nice things that I have picked out for myself. It took me until almost high school, but I realized then that you didn’t have to wait until one day of the year to accept yourself as you wanted to look, not as the world wanted you to. For so long, I only dressed up when I had implied permission from others as to not draw suspicion or judgy glances when I came to class in heels and an elaborate braided hairdo. But what’s the point of saving all that energy for a certain time of year when you can integrate that joy into the mundanity of daily life?
I challenge you to try the same thing ― to bring one part of Halloween or a costume or even something you wore for a special event into your normal day. What I found with dressing up, and still continue to feel today, is that everything seems brighter when you’re happy with how you look. It might be a little bit uncomfortable and take a little longer in the morning, but the confidence and strength that comes with feeling happy in your own skin is worth it by far. This doesn’t just apply to clothes, or even anything I’ve suggested. It can start with small things, with that nice hairclip you like, or a perfect shade of lipstick, your favorite shoes that you’re worried you’ll ruin if you wear them too much. There isn’t only one day to pull out the stops from your look and make yourself truly happy on more levels than just the aesthetic. The spirit of Halloween (no pun intended) is not meant to stay within 24 hours of the year ― it can last as long as you want it to.