We all love a good fantasy, that’s why we read books and watch movies. But we don’t often get a chance to live out those fantasies. Perhaps that’s why Halloween costumes have become so popular for adults. When I was a child, only kids dressed up. I checked a popular on-line costume retailer, and they had 3300 adult costumes available, compared to only 2000 for children. Evidently costumes for adults sell better than costumes for kids!
Fictional Characters & Sexy Heroes
What is it about fictional characters and heroes that’s so much fun to act out? The characters touch on some universal sensibility that resonates in all of us. But why so many police officers, fire fighters, and nurse costumes? These are the real life heroes/heroines. Even though Halloween is all ‘play,’ I think people often want to be something bigger or better than we are in real life. Just as we want the protagonists in our books to grow into a better person, and are inspired by that ourselves, I think people often choose to be characters that have qualities they wish to emulate. And sometimes they just want to explore a crazy or gruesome aspect of life that’s usually off-limits.
Men like the Fantasy Too
That same costume shop had 1723 different costumes for women. No surprise there. But they offered only 30 less costumes for men! Women have more leeway in their everyday dress to be flamboyant and outrageous. We can wear any color clothing we wish, and have a huge diversity of styles to reflect our personalities. Men don’t have those options. (But they don’t have the stress of all those choices either!) Although there are more choices now than years ago, men still have only half as many colors available in their clothing. And while women can wear anything from very feminine styles to rather masculine ones, men have limited options. So no wonder men like the opportunity to break out of their limited mold and wear something fun or crazy.
Sexier & Sexier
Why do women’s costumes keep getting sexier and skimpier? I’ve read comments in recent years, by both men and women, that it’s gone too far, the costumes are too slutty. But the stores wouldn’t be showing these wild costumes if no one was buying them. Just as fiction books have become steamier and more explicit, I think that’s one aspect of our personalities we as women too often shut down. Once we’re in a relationship, women are expected to be sexy for their partners, but not the rest of the time. We have to turn it off at work, at school, and certainly as mothers or caregivers. We get so good at shutting down that part of ourselves, that many of us turn to a sexy novel or movie to reawaken our sexuality. But this one time of year, we can let down our guards, and our necklines, and dress like a vixen. For many couples, that little bit of sexual freedom, and the fantasies inspired by these costumes, does wonders for their sex lives. And I’m sure the titillation of seeing others dressed in revealing costumes just adds to the fun.
Have We Gone Too Far?
Since before recorded history, humans have had festivals and celebrations where a certain amount of excess is not just tolerated, but encouraged. It’s in our nature. It allows us to express ourselves in different ways, and gives us a little reprieve from the constraints of everyday life. And if everyone enjoys it, why not?