Saturday, November 1, 2008

I am Charlie Brown and I approve this message

While listening to NPR this week during one of my many vehicular missions to and from school/dentist/piano lessons/play dates, I was momentarily shocked out of media political and economical exhaustion when I heard a two minute light-hearted vignette about the psychology of Halloween costumes. In view of all the unconscionable immaturity displayed by both political parties, Halloween is actually more likely the least scary and more intelligent thing going on this month.
The basic gist of the story was that experts have suggested that your choice of Halloween costume is a reflection of your inner self. The mask you wear may represent an aspect of personal identity, symbolizing qualities that you already possess or qualities that you wish you possessed. I have a lot of fond memories of Halloween as a child (and still unabashedly love the holiday), but my costumes share less than fun-sized portion of these memories. I can only recall the year that I was a witch. I was known amongst my siblings as the slapper sister, so I believe that underneath my shy exterior lurked some definite inner-witchiness. I am a little distressed that I can't remember my other costumes, but that is beside the point of this blog.
I decided to put this theory to the test when I volunteered for Ansel's preschool Halloween party. Within the first five minutes, the Incredible Hulk, a Ninja Mutant Teen-aged Turtle (I know I am saying that wrong, but what a stupid name for a character however you scramble the words), the Iron Man, and Jack Sparrow were entangled in a brawl that produced real blood and tears, while the princesses and ballerinas were staring blankly into space. Maybe there is something to this costumology. I was so drained by the end of the school day, that for the first time ever, I did not have the energy to find a costume for myself.

My kids all chose to be animals this year. According to this researcher, animal costumes symbolize certain traits or attributes in myth as well as popular culture. In the tradition of the Native American, we may even regard an animal costume as being an individual's totem...a symbol of one's essential nature of potential. Hmmmm....

TOTEM ATTRIBUTES: Magic and mystery. Curiosity, independence, cleverness, unpredictability and healing. Protectors and Keepers of Secrets.
FINDINGS AGAINST: Emmy is very predictable, likes schedules, and doesn't like going anywhere independently.
FINDINGS FOR: Her peaceful nature does have a strong healing effect in our home. She is very protective of her siblings and keeps absolutely everything a secret. For example, when I ask her what she did at school, she says, "Stuff". When asked what she ate at a friend's house, she says, "Stuff". She does not give up information easily and is very mysterious about her daily activities. This leaves me more than curious, but since I have only seen a few papers come home from school with anything less than a perfect score, I don't think she is smoking in the bathroom. She is clever.

TOTEM ATTRIBUTES: Power, Speed, Focus, Brotherhood
FINDINGS FOR: Ansel is extremely fast when he is doing something he enjoys such as showing us how fast he is. Jumping onto my back when I am least expecting it is one of his beloved of activities. He knows how to stalk his prey. He is so efficient with the brotherhood attribute that I think he truly believes that his friends and cousins are his brothers. This helps alleviate the guilt I sometimes feel due to the fact that he doesn't have any "real" brothers.............yet.
FINDINGS AGAINST: When he is grocery shopping or in a situation where we are in a hurry, he is suddenly rendered powerless and UNSPEEDY.

TOTEM ATTRIBUTES: Grace, Determination, Aquatic, Etiquette, Self-Confident, Dreamer, Inter dimensional Existence,
FINDINGS AGAINST: Savanna is an awkward stage of development and is lacking in the grace and etiquette department. Give it some time.
FINDINGS FOR: Savanna can move with such determination that she actually doesn't move her arms. She loves swimming and has a self-confidence that is completely unfettered by the opinions of others. Those who know Savanna can vouch for her inter dimensional existence. I can't even begin to understand the workings of her mind, but I do believe that her creativity requires her to move frequently between worlds of fantasy and reality. If she doesn't remember entire conversations that we have had or if large chunks of her school day have mysteriously vanished without explanation, I can recognize and appreciate (still working on that) that she was visiting another realm during that period of time. She recently won her school logo design contest and is now working on her novel and some short stories, so something good must be going on in these other dimensions.

CONCLUSION: The bit of journalism that I heard on psychology of costumes may be a pile of phooey. All journalism is very likely a big pile of phooey.


emptynest said...

Always turn to you for info and a good laugh! The kids all look great in their costumes. Hope you had a happy one!

Lucy said...

You really are a well of information. What a funny new way to view costume choices. It doesn't work for me, though, because if (and it is a pretty big if) I dress up, I am a very boring witch.

Your kids, of course, look fantastic.

Christensen family said...

You are so informative... look how fun you are. Your kids looked darling. We need to get the girls together!!!

Joal said...

Hmmm...Elizabeth as a super hero, and me as a member of Abba? Maybe we are like shy children who dream of stardom. I am a dancing queen...