Lessons from Halloween Costumes: Trying On Change

by Jason Kotecki on · 16 comments

My favorite child­hood Hal­loween cos­tume may have been the Spi­der­man one. Granted, it was nowhere near as cool as the ver­sions kids have the priv­i­lege of wear­ing today, what with the form-fitting span­dex, built-in mus­cles and mask that cov­ers the whole head. (In my dreams!)

Mine was made of the loose-flowing, ill-fitting cheap plas­tic that resem­bled Spiderman’s paja­mas way more than proper crime-fighting gear. The mask, too, was plas­tic, and only cov­ered half of my head, held there by a flimsy rub­ber band. And the mus­cles were my own: 100% nat­ural and unde­tectable to the naked eye.

But I’m not bitter.

The weird thing is that even though my cos­tume was severely lack­ing in authen­tic­ity, it never really mat­tered. As soon as I slipped that mask over my face, I was no longer a skinny shy kid named Jason. I was Spi­der­man. Brave, heroic, and thanks to all the plas­tic, uncom­fort­ably sweaty.

Although Adul­ti­tis still tries to med­dle with and ruin Hal­loween — hav­ing to wear jack­ets over cos­tumes, any­one? — it makes me happy to know that dress­ing up in a cos­tume is not the exclu­sive domain of childhood.

Peo­ple of all ages love dress­ing up for Halloween.

But why?

It’s fun, of course. But it also allows us to be some­one (or some­thing) else for a lit­tle bit.

For a sin­gle night you can be a super­hero, a wiz­ard, a bounty hunter, or the undead…and tomor­row you can go back to your com­fort­able life.

We’re allowed to “try on change” with­out any per­ma­nent ill-effects.

We crave the end results that come with a mas­sive change, but can become over­whelmed and dis­cour­aged by the sheer mas­sive­ness of it. Why bother with some­thing that seems impos­si­ble? And yet growth, improve­ment, and a bet­ter life can never hap­pen with­out change.

But what if you incor­po­rated this spirit of Hal­loween all year long? What if you made “try­ing on change” a reg­u­lar prac­tice? Instead of com­mit­ting to run­ning a full-blown marathon, what if you just took the stairs instead of the ele­va­tor at work?

Instead of buy­ing an expen­sive cam­era, why not bor­row a friend’s, or shoot 10 pho­tos a day with your lit­tle point-and-shoot?

Instead of quit­ting your job to fol­low your pas­sion, what if you spent a half hour a day for a month work­ing on build­ing a lit­tle side business?

Instead of throw­ing your TV out the win­dow so you can write that 500-page best­selling novel, what if you swapped a half-hour of TV watch­ing for writ­ing time?

Instead of becom­ing a hard­core min­i­mal­ist, what if you threw out or gave away one thing a day for two weeks?

Instead of elim­i­nat­ing all sugar from your diet, what if you just started with one less can of soda a day?

Instead of pledg­ing to be the best spouse that ever lived, what if, before you went to bed, you just thanked your sig­nif­i­cant other for some­thing spe­cific he or she had done that day?

The nice thing about “try­ing on” change like this is that if you don’t like it, you can go back to your com­fort­able life soon enough.

You never know, though. It might just stick, and before you know it, you’ll end up doing things that once seemed down­right superheroic.


by Jason Kotecki

Jason Kotecki is an artist, author, and pro­fes­sional speaker. Jason and his wife Kim (a for­mer kinder­garten teacher) make it their mis­sion in life to fight Adul­ti­tis and help peo­ple use strate­gies from child­hood to design lives with less stress and more fun. Stop by www.KimandJason.com for more tips for escap­ing adulthood.
Jason Kotecki
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