Well, two “dress as other than yourself” events are coming up for us next month: Halloween and, even more important, the Masquerade Ball on October 24th (shameless plug here – have you purchased your tickets yet??? Well get a move on!)
This got me thinking of those times we have the chance to be someone else for an evening. Of course for girls who grew up when I did, princess was the best choice with witch a close second (for those toddlers with a bit of an edge to them even then). For the boys, almost any superhero would do, or a cowboy or a pirate or anyone with more power or clout than a six-year-old boy can command. (I remember the son of a friend who, having been a superhero one Halloween, hung onto the cape and wore it everywhere for the next year or more, leaping down stairs and off ottomans so that his cape could fly back in his imaginary wind. Adults nearby would smile at the charming sight, but if you looked in his eyes you could see the serious soul of a superhero inside.)
Once we hit puberty, the look girls want is sexy, no matter the costume. I remember being a dance hall girl in high school, and fixing up a harem girl costume for my sister one Halloween. (Just a note: she wouldn’t be caught dead in one now…)
After that, funny is often the choice. I knew a couple who went to a party wearing white lab coats and name tags. Hers said “Masters,” his “Johnson.” At around that time I came up with two of my favorite costumes. I borrowed my dad’s oversized khaki shorts, threw on my sister’s khaki trench coat, added an Aussie-style hat with a fake animal skin band, and sewed various rubber snakes and bugs to the outfit. One Mutual of Omaha insurance brochure later, Marlin Perkins headed out to the party. (For those people much younger than me, just google him… must I do everything for you???)
Another party saw me in those same gigantic shorts and one of my dad’s oversized Hawaiian shirts. Add the Aussie hat and a megaphone, carry around my own director’s chair, and I was Steven Spielburg for the night.
It’s been a while since I’ve dressed up as someone else in October, but it gives you a chance to consider – who would you like to be other than yourself for an evening? Maybe that’s one reason why Halloween is the second most popular holiday, still trailing after Christmas but growing every year.
It’s nice to know that in today’s world, boys can be princesses if they want instead of cowboys, and girls can be superheroes. There’s more freedom to choose, but that also poses the challenge of narrowing down your choices.
Of course the easy option is to run over to Bert Easley’s Costume Shop and rent something that looks halfway decent on you and forget it. Or you can raid the closets of your relatives the way I used to and figure out something fun and easy to assemble. Or maybe…
Maybe you can sift through your basket of lost dreams and become that person you always wanted to be for just one evening. An author? A movie star? A stand-up comedian? A member of the one percent with more money than most of us can imagine? Start asking yourself now: who would I be if I was someone other than me?
You’ve got time. It’s over a month until the Masquerade Ball. Color yourself rich, famous, sophisticated or maybe just happy. But you’ll never know if you don’t ask… who do I really, really, want to be…
.Maria Muto-Porter is a freelance writer and blogger. Her career began in broadcasting as a reporter and producer where she covered local news and features in Toledo, Ohio. Muto-Porter served as editor for two publications including a national design magazine. She has also written and edited books, magazine articles and other business materials. You can contact Maria at