As fall kicks into high gear a lot of my attention is focused on the upcoming holidays. Thanksgiving is good, Halloween is always fun, and of course, there is Talk Like A Pirate Day.
My sisters and I went through a pretty hardcore pirate obsession phase right around the release of the third Pirates Of The Caribbean movie. Around the same time as my Dad found out about Talk Like A Pirate Day. He’s been celebrating faithfully every year since and manages to stay in character much better than I. Instead, I tend to go all out on the costumes.
As a child, I have fond memories of attending Renaissance Faires with my parents, and almost chose my college based on the fact there was a large festival held nextdoor to the school. I’ve attended several in the past decade and have amassed quite the collection of costume pieces. Hats with feathers, corsets, skirts and cloaks, belts and boots, I have enough to choose from that I haven’t ever repeated an exact costume in all the years I’ve celebrated.
Wearing a costume is something I find fun to do. Maybe it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but being able to be creative with my outfit and evoke the sense of some character that isn’t just plain old me is such a rush. I love getting the details just right. Last year, for example, I matched the shade of my skirt layers with my feathered hat.
If all this talk about pirate costumes gives you any indication, you would be right to assume that I also love Halloween. Really, any chance to dress in costume and not get too many judgy looks is just fine with me. I’ve had a lot of different costumes over the years as well, always homemade. Being able to pretend to be a different character for a day is just so much fun!
It’s kind of sad that as we age it becomes less culturally acceptable to dress up and play pretend. A friend of mine was trying to come up with a way to celebrate Halloween as grown-ups that wasn’t on either the beer-filled, haunted house, scary, rave-y end of the spectrum, but wasn’t just a group of adults awkwardly watching their kids go crazy on too much sugar.
Why are all the parties you get invited to after college either very childish or very adult? I have a few groups that will get together to play board games, but there aren’t many events that are publicly organized that are dedicated to adults being creative and carefree. Or if there are, they’re still lubricated heavily by some sort of alcohol. As someone who isn’t interested in drinking and is able to do silly things without liquid courage, I’d like to be able to find an opportunity to just be silly.
Being able to cut loose and goof off is a good thing for mental health. Laughter is the best medicine. The fall season, for me, is all about that childish delight. For others, it might be Christmas that makes them feel like a little kid again. Whatever it is, taking time to recognize and participate in that thing that makes you smile is a way to indulge your inner child and celebrate being alive.
We should all feel free to enjoy ourselves, without feeling self-conscious or immature just because of the nature of what we’re enjoying. If your thing is to watch a particular show, do it, love it, have fun being immersed in the world. If your thing is to cosplay or roleplay, do it, be yourself, unapologetically. If your thing is to collect toys or games, do it, enjoy those things that make you happy. Celebrate the fact that there is something in your life that gives you joy.