Halloween is an exciting holiday celebration where kids and adults share in the fun and express individuality in a very creative manner. Children are fond of collecting Halloween treats as they go out on the streets trick or treating. On the other hand, adults enjoy partying in their colorful and artistic costumes while others scare themselves talking about horror stories and meaningful coincidences.
In an experiment done by Ed Diener and colleagues, they related Halloween costumes to greater instances of children cheating in getting more share in Halloween treats. According to the researchers, Halloween costumes encourage anonymity which heightens the occurrence of deindividuation. Meaning, the sense of anonymity as children hide their real identity in costumes make them braver to exhibit antisocial behavior such as cheating in getting more treats.
In the experiment done by the researchers, the group of children who went on trick or treating in a house and were not interviewed (i.e. real name, age, residence) by the house owner were more inclined to get extra candies even if they were told to get only one candy per person.
The level of inclination to cheat in getting extra candies is lower as compared to the group who came into the house and was lightly asked for personal details by the house owner. Therefore, it would be best for house owners to initiate a little chit chat with the children who come in for trick or treating. Anonymity encourages playing pranks, greed in taking more candies and other sort of negative behavior.
When children are in their Halloween costumes, it gives them the impression that it is alright to violate social norms especially that it is either you get tricked or you get a good treat on Halloween.
Ironically, Halloween celebration is also a time when fear seems to mix well with fun. Do you ever wonder why sometimes you are thinking of say, your father and then all of a sudden, the phone rings and the next thing you know you are already speaking with him as you were just thinking of him a few minutes ago. Coincidence? Maybe not.
Psychologist Carl Jung introduced the concept of “synchronicity” to give meaning to the significant coincidences happening around us. In another example, you normally associate objects of special significance to magic or special powers. This is so because you connect the special object with the person who used it who is similarly important to you. This is better explained by the law of similarity and contagion which is best exemplified when you tend to believe that by wearing the jacket that your crush had put on, will make you attractive too. Or when you believe that by wearing the same lipstick as the model in the print ad will make you as attractive and sexy.
Indeed, Halloween is the time when old and new beliefs and tradition come together. It is the emergence of art and imagination. But most especially, it is the time when fear is celebrated in a fun and comical way. Now, isn’t that a bit of magical?
If you’re having a party with halloween, contact me to entertain the heck out of your guests with a show that really gets inside of their minds.