Halloween is fast approaching here in the U.S. Come All Hallow’s Eve, the streets will be filled with little witches, ghosts, hobos, superheroes, and serial killers. For grown-ups who still relish society’s permission to go extreme and get creative one night a year, there’ll be parties full of prostitutes and politicians, with an occassional rock star and nun thrown in. So what is it that attracts us to the costumes we pick, these archetypical metaphors?
You may claim your choice of a costume is based on what’s in the back of your closet or what you just thought would get the biggest laugh or win the prize for best costume at the party, but undoubtedly, your outfit reveals more about you than you might be consciously aware of. Does your costume display your deepest fantasy? Your secret desire to mock those with different opinions? Your attitude towards authority? Your attempt to overcome your childhood fears? Does it show your naughty side, your rebellious self, your wish for innocence and simplicity?
Answer such questions, and you’d start to sound like an analyst of old–congitively dissecting associations made with typical costumes, assuming you’d selected yours for typical reasons. Why not instead take the playful, creative approach Halloween invites, and ask some Clean Language questions about the costume you’ll wear? “And what kind of witch is that witch?” “And when you’re a princess, then what happens?” “And when you’re a slice of pepperoni pizza, is there anything else about pepperoni?” (Don’t have a costume? Draw a picture of what you’d be and ask questions about it.) Archetypes, by definition, have broad, cultural attributes, but your sense of that metaphor will have unique personal resonances as well.
Halloween invites us all to conceal and reveal our true selves. Be playful about exploring your true self….and let us know what you choose to be for Halloween!