Even as adults, who doesn’t long to go all out for that crazy, spooky, no holds barred Halloween party we remember as kids?! Combing the aisles for the latest costumes for our little ones, we may secretly envision ourselves wielding a giant sword a la fearless medieval knight, pirouetting across a stage to great applause in shiny silver ballet slippers, or dripping with blood in a zombie-like neighborhood rampage. Or how about leaping tall buildings and saving the planet or promoting doom–whatever strikes your fancy on All Hallows’ Eve– in a ballooning cape and daring mask (take a walk, Spider Man)!
If you’re invited this year to that coveted Halloween party, instead of randomly reaching for a costume that represents a favorite celebrity, monster, political or historical character or member of the so-called dearly departed, did you know Halloween is an opportunity to personalize things and relive the best parts of your childhood? Or, you can even ask yourself what you really want to be when you grow up — even if you are a grown up — and manifest it in a costume that represents your sweetest dreams.
Perhaps you recall slow summer days surrounded by Nancy Drew mysteries, “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” “The Bridge to Terabithia,” “Little House on the Prairie” or the many stories of Winnie-the-Pooh. Or maybe you were you always the “brain” in biology or chemistry class, acing the best experiments, but instead of discovering that cure for cancer you now sell insurance. And whatever ever happened to the track, tennis, softball or basketball star who slayed the competition? It could be the recruitment letter from the New York Knicks got lost in the mail, but whatever the scenario, Halloween provides an opportunity to dust off those old dreams and live them.
For single dad and Minnesota resident Mike Chrisman, working two jobs to raise his three young boys left little time to dwell on memories of winning multiple trophies on his high school hockey team. “I’d always fantasized about replacing Wayne Gretzky one day,” Chrisman quipped, acknowledging he’d put those thoughts aside to support a family. But last year, cobbling together a Halloween hockey costume for his youngest son and one for himself brought him to a recycled sporting goods store where a gently used pair of adult-sized skates caught his eye. “The party was great, and that winter I was back on the ice on a community team,” he said. “I may never play pro hockey, but in some ways I’m living my dream and my boys are inspired to live theirs just watching me play.”
In Atlanta, retail manager Jane Levy had buried her fine arts degree under long hours and lots of overtime at a woman’s clothing store chain. Searching for the best costume for a neighbor’s Halloween party, Levy recalled her penchant for art and photography, attending the party as iconic celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz and using the opportunity to record the night’s spooky festivities for the host.
“I used to love to shoot and even had my own gallery show in college,” Levy said, adding the party gave her an occasion to revitalize her craft and even got her a few freelance photography jobs as a result.
For Kissimmee, Florida former high school sweethearts Tom and Alexis Callison, who married right after college, the joy of high school and college summers spent working as characters at Orlando’s Disney World had long since disappeared. With high-stress corporate jobs and three-year-old twins, any spare moments to recapture the carefree feelings they’d had as Cinderella and Prince Charming were rare. When the time came for a Halloween party at their neighbors’ house, the couple wasted no time putting together storybook costumes that reflected their days at Disney World. “We had a perfect evening, plastic ‘glass’ slipper and all,” said Tom Callison. “We celebrated what brought us together in the first place and thought about it long after,” his wife added.
For adults, Halloween is the opportunity to recreate the “you” that may have been all but forgotten. By designing a costume that expresses past dreams and memories, or reflects forgotten aspirations, who knows what incentive may be provided to take up the old mantle and see where it leads you.