The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

October 29, 2013

Masquerade, painted faces on parade

ENID, Okla. — Did you ever want to become somebody else?

This is the week to do it, of course, since masks, capes and elaborate getups will be the order of the day come Thursday.

Halloween, of course, is the one day every year when it is OK to be a zombie at work. Not that many of us aren’t zombies nearly every day at the office, particularly right after lunch, but that’s another topic altogether.

When the doorbell chimes come Thursday just after dark, don’t be surprised to be confronted by a twerking Miley Cyrus, a Minion from the “Despicable Me,” cartoons or a character from the TV shows  “Breaking Bad,” or “Duck Dynasty,” not to mention the usual run of witches, zombies, vampires, monsters or superheroes.

Even famous folks like to dress up this time of year. Paris Hilton dressed in Miley Cyrus’ twerking bear outfit (just one of the costumes she reportedly spent $5,000 on), Sandra Bullock wore a skeleton costume, singer Fergie dressed as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and Snooki from “Jersey Shore” dressed like Dorothy from the “Wizard of Oz.”

Some costumes, unfortunately, are completely tasteless and inappropriate. Actress Julianne Hough recently dressed up as a character from the Netflix show, “Orange is the New Black.” Unfortunately, she donned blackface to do so, then put on an orange jumpsuit and a name tag reading “Crazy Eyes,” the character’s moniker.

At some point in the whole process, warning bells should have gone off in her head. Unfortunately, they didn’t, so now she is trying to explain and apologize, all at the same time. Now she is running around in redface, but the color is natural.

What is it that makes us want to become somebody else, even if just for a little while? It is certainly fun, not to mention somewhat liberating, to put on a mask and costume and escape our everyday existence in the guise of someone or something bigger or somehow grander than ourselves.

I, for instance, could put on dress clothes and pretend to be a responsible, adult human being. But I do that every day, so what fun would that be?

Psychology Today magazine says our choice of Halloween costume says something about our personality. Some of us will explore our dark sides by dressing as vampires, monsters, devils, witches and sexy characters, like nurses, maids or schoolgirls.

Others dress to show their creative sides, while others simply want to pay tribute to their favorite characters, athletes or rock stars.

My absolute favorite Halloween costume of all time was Superman. It had a cape and everything. Sadly, it was cold that Halloween night and my mother made me wear a coat, thus ruining everything. I was about 6 at the time. Halloween-wise, it has been all downhill from there for me.

Halloween used to be primarily for kids, adults were just there to hand out candy or escort gangs of masked urchins throughout the neighborhood. But Halloween is a bigger deal for adults these days than it is for kids. In fact, 38 percent of adults surveyed by Shopzilla.com say they will be dressing up in costume this year. In fact, a total of $1.25 billion is expected to be spent on adult costumes this year, more than is spent for children’s outfits. Of the 38 percent of adults who will dress up, according to Shopzilla, 31 percent will wear their costumes all day and night on Halloween, while 40 percent will dress up only for a Halloween party. Then there is the much smaller percentage of those who wear costumes all the time, but that’s a whole other story.

Personally, I would like to be James Bond. He is sexy, cool and drives a great car. But people are always shooting at him or trying to blow him to bits, and then there’s all those gorgeous women throwing themselves at him. I’d like to be Tiger Woods, too. He’s a great golfer, and nobody is trying to kill him, but then you have the same problem with all the women. My bride wouldn’t put up with it.

Batman is too grim, too solitary. If you were Superman, you’d never have any time to yourself, all you’d be doing is saving the world all the time. Darth Vader is cool, but that whole breathing thing would quickly become tiresome, and I don’t look particularly good in black.

You can be a superhero without battling foreign spies, besting evil aliens or bending steel with your bare hands. Love your family, do what you can to help those less fortunate, lend a hand when and where you can, treat everyone with the respect they deserve, teach, lead, be a good example, floss, always flush and put the seat down, no matter what.

I, for one, plan to dress up as a responsible, dedicated, hard-working journalist for Halloween.

After all, I have been fooling people with that disguise for more than 37 years, why stop now?

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at jmullin@enidnews.com.

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