The signs are unmistakable. Fishnet stockings and glow-in-the-dark nail polish start to show up on grocery store shelves, alongside the jars of peanut butter and boxes of sugar cereal. Costume specialty shops pop up seemingly overnight, like mushrooms. Rubber monster masks, cheap felt pirate hats, and plastic action-hero guns are for sale in virtually every store open for trade of any sort. 'Tis the season to be... anyone.
Actors make a living* by pretending to be another person. Writers make a living** pretending to be a dozen or so other people. (In that way, writers are like actors with multiple personality disorder and a decent vocabulary.) For the rest of us, though, there are few opportunities in our daily lives to try on a different persona(e). Those who try are often labeled as “insincere” or “schizophrenic.” Thankfully, there is one exception to this - the day of elective collective madness known as Halloween.
For the Yummish, the “masquerade” aspect of this holiday is very important. What some might dismiss as child's play, the Yummish prefer to see as “walking a mile in another's shoes.” For one night, we present to the world a different self and get to sample what it is like to be perceived as such -- the den-mother-soccer-mom wearing a saucy streetwalker outfit, the retired grandfather-of-many dressed as a slick, stylish mobster, the scrawny mathlete ensconced in foam super-hero bulk. We get to perceive ourselves differently because others see us differently. We carry this experience with us, even after the temporary persona has been set aside, and it becomes part of our world view. It is truly harder to judge someone after trying on their witch boots***, especially if you find yourself enjoying the experience. It is an exercise in open-mindedness, in understanding, and in finding shared Yum. It is a way of learning to relate to that which, at first glace, seems to be “other” and discovering, once again, that All is One****.
There's also the chance for free candy and/or parties featuring adult beverages. Yum!
Today's exercise: Get to know someone new this Halloween, from the inside out.
Next: Exercise -- a masochistic celebration of the body beautiful.
*Well, a handful of actors make an actual living...
**See note on actors.
****I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.