Categorized | Mantell_Michael, USA

No, it’s not Purim; it’s Halloween

By Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael Mantell

Dr. Michael Mantell

SAN DIEGO — The National Retail Federation’s research is telling us “more than 157 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year, with eight in 10 millennials saying they are already planning something fun with their friends. Total spending in 2015 will top $6.9 billion, with the average American celebrating planning to spend $74 on decorations, candy, costumes and more.”  Are you going to be among the 68 million Americans that will dress in a costume this year?

20 million people are going to dress their pets in costumes this year. $350 will be spent on pet costumes and 1 in 5 millennials will dress their pets in costume vs 13% of average adults. Seriously? Do we do this for Purim?

And with Halloween upon us during these tougher economic times, dressing up—or down—may be one way to have some truly affordable fun.  Just be sure you know what your mask covers, or exposes, about your personality.  Your choice of costume isn’t random and may show more of you than you want.

Since the 1950’s when “trick-or-treating” and mass-produced costumes became a centerpiece of this “holiday” originally rooted in the Celtic Festival of Samhain, we have put on masks to escape, entertain, and even revel in feeling frightened. The “type T’s” among us, the thrill seekers, especially enjoy the ghosts, goblins, haunted houses and terrifying movies associated with Halloween.

Halloween is a “flip-flop” holiday for children, an inversion, where they turn the familiar parent-child role upside down. They demand and receive all of the candy and sweets they want from adults, dress up as adult characters and lead their parents by the hand from one home to next demanding even more treats.

So what “should” you be for Halloween?  Here’s what Google tells us are the most popular costumes of 2015:

  1. Harley Quinn
  2. Star Wars
  3. Superhero
  4. Pirate
  5. Batman

Yes, Harley Quinn, the Joker’s sidekick in the Batman comics and one of the main characters in next year’s Suicide Squad movie, has the number one spot.

For children Catwoman, Darth Vader, Evie from Descendants, Star Wars Stormtrooper, Halo’s Master Chief and Elsa from Frozen are among the top 10 most popular.

The most controversial costume choice of this year is Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce. Cecil the Lion and the American game hunter are another controversial costume that’s out there. The male “Lion Killer Dentist” costume features white gloves, a blood-stained smock and severed lion’s head for the wearer to hold.

So what does your mask say about you? For those of you who have spell-binding personalities, aren’t afraid to tell it like it is, and like having power, try the witch costume.

But if you want to show your hipness, cover your insecurities, have a real need for everyone to know your name, show your pop culture knowledge and your self-appointed VIPness, then you’ll be Lady Gaga, Cleopatra or Mad Men’s Don Draper at this year’s party.

Nobody who knows you will really buy you wearing an Angel costume. Don’t even go there.  Too holy and you come across as unsocial and untouchable.

Sexy characters like the French maid, hot nurse, or some other sexy costume theme? That vixen in you wants to be let out, at least on Halloween night.  You may simply be expressing the healthy and timeless struggle between being pure, chaste, and holy and a sex kitten who wants to be the center of attention.

Going the group route for this year’s party? Well, well, well, you are telling the world you belong, that people like you and you have friends.  You are a real groupie and enjoy the security of fitting in.

Like having pure fun and want to leave your serious work-a-day side at home? Then you’ll be donning a comic/cartoon/clown costume for sure.

While Erma Bombeck told us that grandmas pretend they don’t know who we are on Halloween, the real truth is that we may not know who we are on Halloween.  And it was Mark Twain who said, “Everyone is a moon and has a dark side, which he never shows to anybody.”

But our masks, costumes and the kind of thrills we expose ourselves to on Halloween can give it all away.  So, think about the information you will be giving away about yourself when you attend your office Halloween party, your friend’s yearly Halloween blast or just stroll through your neighborhood with your kids trick-or-treating.

For me, the scariest thing about Halloween is the amount of sugar and sweets our kids will be eating! After all, dental disease is likely the most common chronic disease of childhood.

Forget the kids…what about us adults? Remember that just 5 miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups have 220 calories and 13 g of fat. Think you can work it off? Running will take 17 minutes to burn those miniatures off, swimming will take about 15 minutes to burn them away, and you’ll need about 26 minutes of lifting to shed those calories.

Best to be sure you eat before you go out trick or treating with the kids, have very clear intentions and agreements of what you’ll do with the collection of goodies the family comes home with to avoid nibbling your way into unwanted weight, and perhaps even arrange for a system to “buy-back” the goodies from the kids with prizes in lieu of all that candy. Then again, it’s a fun holiday, so indulge a bit. Tomorrow there’s always a top notch workout to jump back into.

Happy and safe Halloween all, no matter how foolish we all look in our ridiculous costumes.  Remember Lady Gaga’s meat costume…really????

Dr Michael Mantell, based in San Diego, provides coaching to business leaders, athletes, individuals and families to reach breakthrough levels of success and significance in their professional and personal lives. Mantell may be contacted via [email protected]



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