Halloween is one of those holidays that people either enthusiastically look forward to or turn out their porch lights to discourage any possible interaction with “trick or treaters’! The eve of hallows is thought to have begun with the ancient Celts who marked this time after harvest as the beginning of winter and a new year. On this night it was thought that the line between the worlds of the living and the dead was blurred and the dead were permitted to return to the earth. Christians turned this holiday into the celebration of the eve of All Saints Day. Dressing up in disguise likely had its origin in dressing up as saints and going from door to door.
There is something interesting and fun in stepping out of one’s usual persona and trying on a new identity for a party. New facets of the personality may come out in the playfulness of disguise. Even darkness that is carefully guarded in real life may surprise us as we take on a new persona, very different from our own. In disguise, some feel free to explore what it might feel like to be someone else.
But, for some, there is a daily feeling of inconstancy in the sense of self. Especially for those who have experienced early abuse, a false persona may be unconsciously constructed to protect the self , and a lifetime of pretending or living to please everyone else can become the norm. Not having a secure sense of self may show itself in codependency or living life without self sufficiency or autonomy and living life through enmeshment with another person.
It is never too late to drop a lifetime in disguise and to find one’s true self. Like Halloween, it can be scarey to leave one’s comfort zone, even if it has seemed “normal” for a very long time, but it is life’s greatest adventure.