4 reasons you need to dress up for Halloween

It’s that time of year again: Fall is in the air, there is beautiful foliage to view, crisp colors all around us, the smell of pumpkin spice and cinnamon, and sipping on tea and soup to warm our bodies. It’s also a time when there is added stress: planning holiday parties, trying to wisely choose from the array of holiday foods, feeling obligated to visit challenging family members, added financial stress with spending more money than usual, and even feeling lonely or grieving the loss of loved ones around the holidays.

It’s more important than ever to find ways to de-stress and add playfulness into the season. Think of how you felt as a child during Halloween, deciding what you wanted to be, the excitement of going door-to-door wondering what type of goodies you were going to receive, and walking in groups with your friends. Tuning in to your inner child and playful side has so many health benefits, and here are a few reasons to dress up for Halloween:

Experience magical thinking for a day. As children, we often experienced magical thinking. Remember how exciting it was when we believed in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy? When we were in awe waking up to presents under the tree? When we thought reindeer were flying in the night? When we discovered money under our pillow after losing a tooth?

I love the quote, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” Even if we didn’t experience a lot of magical thinking as children, this can be a great opportunity to express the child within us, to create what may not have been available to us as children. Or, we can re-create our childhood experiences and put our everyday stressors on the back burner for just one day. By dressing up for Halloween, we can delve into the world of magical thinking and become who ever we want to be.

Laugh at yourself. How many times have you been able to just laugh at yourself? Often times, we take ourselves too seriously and get caught up in the everyday responsibilities placed upon us at work and at home, and we don’t make time to have fun and do something spontaneous or adventurous. When we dress up for Halloween, we can make fun of ourselves when we put on make-up to change our appearance or wear something we would not normally wear. We can be courageous by going out in a crowd of other fun-loving people and be able to lovingly laugh at ourselves and be OK with it.

Laughter is wonderful medicine. It actually activates our endorphins, the good mood chemicals in our brain. Laughter is also an effective pain killer as it reduces the intensity of pain. As adults, we laugh an average of 5 times a day, and a child laughs about 150 times a day. Think of all the benefits that laughter can add to our stressful lives.

Play the character that you don’t play in your own life. Remember when we said as children, “When I grow up I want to be a ….”? Chances are that most of us didn’t live up to those dreams and, for a number of reasons, decided to do something else with our lives. Dressing up for Halloween allows us to create that fantasy of being somebody we always wanted to be, or still have the desire to become. You can play that role for a day, dress up and live vicariously through your costume. You can even create an accent, or have someone be your partner to heighten your experience. You can give yourself permission to be as playful as you want to be when your regular job may not allow for that playfulness.

Bring out the playfulness in others. When you are able to let yourself be playful and laugh, you are also allowing others to do the same with more comfort. Think of how rewarding it is to get others on board when they may not have thought of doing something playful. Giving others the gift of laughter and the opportunity to let go of everyday stress is a wonderful way to connect with them, and a great way to spread positive energy into the world. Children especially love to see adults have fun. This gives them permission to let go of their stressors as well, and it gives them hope that they can continue to have fun even as adults.

Even if you decide to stay home and hand out goodies to the children, make a choice to dress up and celebrate the holiday spirit by answering the door as you would have wanted someone to do when you were a child.