The Guideposts editor-in-chief shares a fond memory of dressing up for Halloween.

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So, what are you going to be on Halloween?

I plan on being myself.

Before you leap to the conclusion that I am on the anti-Halloween bandwagon, rest assured that this is one of my favorite days of the year, if only because my sweet tooth gets to go on a binge.

I know Halloween has deep, dark pagan roots (my ancient, tree-worshipping relatives, the Celts, invented it) but it has morphed into something far more civilized, relatively speaking, and fun-filled.

Part of my love for Halloween is simply the kid-based memory of how much fun it was to dress up as something or someone and go up to people’s houses and demand candy. You were actually allowed to run around terrorizing (or so you were led to believe) full-grown adults instead of the other way around.

The intensely deliberative process of settling on the right costume also lights up the memory banks. Can you recall all the things you were? Batman? Tinkerbell? Bullwinkle?

For a while as a kid I was seriously asthmatic. For some reason during these years I always dressed up as a skeleton, maybe because I felt weak. There I was in the freezing Michigan night, shivering in my skeleton costume running door to door with my asthma pump in one hand and a trick-or-treat bag in the other.

Later, when I approached the age when I would start to test limits (and my parents’ patience) I always dressed as the proverbial hobo, symbol of anti-establishment individualism, personal freedom and adventure.

Much later still, as an impoverished grad student, I dressed up as an existentialist (scary!) in my tweed jacket, borrowed pipe and a book by Sartre under my arm, looking thoughtful and distracted and, well, like an impoverished grad student. “There is no exit from the meaningless suffering of my fleeting existence,” I told people when they asked what I supposed to be. And looking back at the joke, it was a period in my life when I was questioning a lot of the basic assumptions of life.

I haven’t dressed up as anything in a long time, and maybe I should. In costume, we liberate ourselves from our daily persona. Yet we also get closer to a self we don’t always get a chance to acknowledge. Sometimes pretending to be someone we aren’t helps us to understand who, in fact, we really are. And that’s a Halloween blessing that even my ancient ancestors would have recognized.

Meanwhile, I discovered something spooky in the office the other day…an irresistible candy bowl. Very silly but you should take a look at the video.

Remember, Halloween is fun. Boo!

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of GUIDEPOSTS Publications.

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