LAGOS, PORTUGAL, Oct 31, 2012/ — Halloween is an evening when imagination is allowed to soar. We are encouraged to take on new identities via costumes and makeup. The transformations activate our private dreams of who we desire to be if only for a night—a superhero, a princess, a fairy, a pirate, a ghost, a dragon or? Children and adults alike take on supernatural powers, and sometimes even dogs participate representing the alter egos of their owners.
I asked my hairdresser what her children were going to be for Halloween this year. Her five year old boy wanted to be something scary. She took him to a Halloween store to buy his costume but he was afraid to walk down the aisle filled with scary costumes. His father took him on another day to pick out his scary costume…he needed the protection of his Dad to face the scary aisle. His sister who is thirteen wanted to dress up as the “Living Dead,” however; she didn’t want a prefab-boxed costume. Like her mom she has a love of makeup, hair and fashion.
The scary theme or the “Living Dead” is parallel to the Day of Dead in Mexico—skulls are prevalent and it seems a bit dark and frightening. Ed Hardy is a designer who plays with the imagery of skulls and hearts. One might say that he gets to the heart of scary. There is a draw to this dark side within the teenage population.
Dr. Beth Boardman writes about the “mythological and psychological underpinnings of adolescent cultural phenomena, particularly involving attraction to darkness in the form of black fashions, emblems of death…” She points out that “the popularity of the horror genre (particularly vampires) in film, novels, and online games reveals the adolescent preoccupation with death, rebirth, and immortality.” This is a time of personal exploration and transformation.
The trend of the ghoulish is seen in the Monster High dolls created by Garrett Sander with illustrations by Kellee Riley for Mattel. Lisa Harrison is the author of the young adult Monster High novel series. The Monster High dolls were prominently on sale at the airport in Madrid as I traveled on to Lisbon, Portugal. Their hair, makeup and outfits are playful with great attention to detail just as their Mattel cousin Barbie, yet they are delightfully and imaginatively more flamboyant.
On the magical side of things there are the princesses, fairies, wizards and superheroes. I was at the dry cleaners a few months ago, when a little boy walked in dressed like the Green Lantern character. His sister was dressed up as a princess. Their Dad was taking care of them for the day. It didn’t have to be Halloween; he allowed them to wear their costumes anyway.
I am celebrating Halloween in Lagos, Portugal. If I see any special costumes I will post them later. Wishing you a Happy Halloween—All Hallow’s Eve of Imagination!
[MARSHA BENTLEY HALE, Ph.D.]