As we walked by the Halloween display, a zombie popped up like a jack-in-the box. My four-year-old granddaughter screamed.
“Was that magic?” She asked breathlessly.
“There’s no such thing as magic,” Her eight-year-old cousin answered matter-of-factly.
Older by a few years and wiser by a few decades, another grandson looked at them and shook his head. “Actually, there is such a thing as magic. Don’t you think it’s magic that trees grow?”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. But that got me thinking. There is a certain magic about Halloween. Ever noticed how people transform when they don a Halloween costume?
I don’t know if it’s solid science, but dressing the part alters a person on the inside. It’s a well-known fact that wearing a uniform is an important part of many organizations. For example can you imagine soldiers, police officers or members of a sports team wearing whatever garb they want? The uniform unites a group into one force. To play any role convincingly, you have to dress the part. It would be absurd to think that a gangster wearing a tutu and a tiara would be as intimidating as low hanging pants and tattoo sleeves.
Of course there are exceptions to this theory—old people trying to look hip by wearing younger styles, brainiac executives in jeans and tennis shoes, Ted Bundy… but generally speaking, you act the way you dress.
I love watching the magic work on children in their Halloween costumes. They strut and pose in a way they never would in regular attire. They take on the persona of their character and become someone completely different. Even adults incognito loose their normal inhibitions. I watched a guy working a lunch counter in a superman suit and I swear he thought he could leap tall buildings. Hey, if he puffed out his chest and acted that confident every day, the sky would be the limit to the heights he could bound.
I love to watch the creativity Halloween can inspire. I get a kick out of people who dare step out of the Halloween box to dress up as something other than the routine witch, vampire or zombie. One of my pet peeves is the girl who always has to dress up as the sexiest whatever. Short skirt, plunging neckline, false eyelashes—you know the one. Boring. I like people who aren’t afraid to be politically incorrect like the couple who dressed in Bruce/Kaitlin Jenner outfits, or the gutsy girl who dressed as a pregnant polygamist with not so much as a stich of makeup. Now that’s confidence!
Those spook alley enterprises can be eerie and spine chilling but you’ve gotta admit they are imaginative in a creepy sort of way. One year I went with a group of friends to a performance of Thriller and although the talent was beyond phenomenal, I found it a bit disturbing. What is it that attracts us to the frightening? That in and of itself is scary.
Whether it’s good or bad I’d have to say that Halloween is enchanting. And like the craggy tree silhouette reaching toward the moon in front of the haunted mansion, Halloween is... well, magic.