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The Scary Connections Between Halloween Costumes And Our "Shadow Selves"

Doug and I have sponsored the Paradise Lakes Golf Cart Parades for 2 years. We get the fun job of picking themes for the parades. For Halloween this year, I chose The Rocky Horror Picture Show…in honor of my parents, who grounded me for 2 months when I went to see this movie as a senior in high school. I have to laugh about the whole thing now. Let me paint the picture: I graduated 17th out of 433 students. I was an only child, a lonely nerd with a mother who kept me really busy with music, theater, and working in the family business. My parents constantly monitored my activities and friendships, which means they were good parents. However, I did have this streak of rebelliousness in me, and it had an opportunity to come alive. At the same time, my parents went on a weekend getaway.

My "over-protective" parents could've been upset about me watching actors and actresses partying in sexy lingerie. They could've been concerned about me watching a "Sweet Transvestite” create a bodybuilder wearing platform boots and gold booty shorts. There is a whole lot of wrong in that movie, but my parents weren't upset over the content of the movie. They were upset because I went to see the movie at midnight with my friends while they were out of town. I remember coming home that evening and playing their messages on the answering machine. 11:45 p.m.: "Traci, answer the phone." 12:00 p.m.: "Traci, answer the phone." 12:15 p.m.: "Traci, where are you? Answer the phone." 12:30 p.m.: "Traci, you better not be at the f**kin' movie." When I got home from the movie, close to 3 p.m., the phone was ringing. I answered and heard the words, "YOU'RE GROUNDED," with a click. My parents threatened to take my car for two months or the rest of my life, whichever came first. Dammit, Janet!

So, why do I bring up this story? Because each person has the side that they present to the world and their shadow self. Halloween is a great time to explore the relationships between both. Halloween costumes are more than just fun and games. They can reflect our shadow selves, the parts of our personality we may not openly acknowledge or display daily. The concept of the "shadow self" comes from Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who believed that this hidden side of our personality contains traits and impulses that we choose to reject or suppress.

When choosing a Halloween costume, we often select something different from our everyday persona. This could be a character that embodies traits we wish we had or represent our fears or insecurities. In essence, our Halloween costumes can be a manifestation of our shadow selves.

For example, someone typically shy and reserved might dress up as a bold, confident superhero. On the other hand, someone who is usually outgoing and cheerful might opt for a darker, more sinister costume. These choices allow us to explore and express parts of ourselves that we might otherwise keep hidden. I was a straight-A student in high school with a strong streak of repressed rebelliousness. The side you to see and the side that hides.

Looking at Our Shadow Selves with Reverence

While the concept of the shadow self might seem negative, it's important to remember that it's a natural part of our personality. Embracing our shadow selves can lead to personal growth and self-discovery. Shadow selves are not always negative. Here are some ways to look at our shadow selves:

Acceptance: Acknowledge that your shadow self is a part of you, and accept it without judgment.

Exploration: Use tools like journaling, meditation, or therapy to explore your shadow self. Try to understand why certain traits or impulses are part of your shadow.

Expression: Find healthy ways to express your shadow self. This could be through art, writing, or even choosing a Halloween costume representing this part of you.

Integration: Work on integrating your shadow self with your conscious personality. This doesn't mean acting on every impulse but acknowledging these traits and finding a balance.

Halloween costumes can be a fun and enlightening way to explore our shadow selves. We can learn more about ourselves and grow as individuals by looking at this part of our personality with reverence. I learned much about myself in those two weeks I spent at home, grounded! I had a lot of time to think about what I did.

I got my car back a few weeks later because I got credit for "time served" and "good behavior." I got it back because my mom was finally given a break after 16 years of being my chauffeur. She did not enjoy getting me to and from the massive amounts of extra-curricular activities I was involved in. Those few hours of freedom taught me a lot and made me a fan of that movie for life!

Hot patootie, bless my soul!

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