What Halloween Costumes Tell Us About Our Dreams

The following two tabs change content below.

Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

Latest posts by Catherine Hughes (see all)

What Halloween Costumes Can Tell Us About Our Dreams

Each year on October 31 in my sleepy little Santa Rosa, California town, McDonald Avenue comes alive to resemble a mini-Mardi Gras sans public drunkenness and bare breasts — minus thousands of people throwing beads.

Row upon row of Victorian homes in this historical section of our town are decorated in themes to scare the hell out of trick-or-treaters.

There’s really more costumed adults than kids.

When you step on to this street after 7:00 p.m., you are suddenly transformed into another world — something right out of Alfred Hitchcock’s, The Birds – or George Lucas’, Star Wars movies.

Psychology experts say that our Halloween costume choices are not random, even if we like to believe they are.

Halloween is an occasion for people to either dress up as someone/something they love – or someone/something they hate.  When you dress in costume, you are living a fantasy and revealing parts of your inner self.

Halloween crows on McDonald Avenue in Santa Rosa, California

Psychology professor John Suler reveals that by studying the different characters people choose to be they …

” . . . may reveal something about them that otherwise is not immediately obvious. … maybe not even obvious to themselves . . .  People may simply say that they are wearing a particular costume because ‘I like it.’  When asked, they’re not sure what it says about them. One theory states that our personality operates in polarities. There is our conscious self that we present to everyone during our everyday life — but then there is a hidden side to our personality which may be the exact opposite . . .”

Halloween costumes allow you to look at other parts of your personality and say a lot about what you like to keep hidden from the world.

But what does dressing in an alien costume Halloween have to do with dreaming big?

Often we want to change our lives and decide on a dream, but we have no idea what we want. Believe it or not, this is actually a pretty common problem for many people.

It can be difficult to trust the right voice in our head telling us what we really want — and need.

This is a common problem for people who grew up in highly dysfunctional households where their needs weren’t met, or voices weren’t acknowledged. It can also be difficult for the mom who put her family needs first until everyone was out of the house, or the dad who was laid off mid-life from a job he thought he would retire from and now is completely lost.

There can be any number of reasons why you might not know what your dream is, but there are signs in your life that can tell you how to find your dream. You just need to uncover what those signs are and interpret what they mean.

In last week’s post How Passion Can Help You With Your Dream, we looked at the things you loved to do before the age of 12 and how they made you feel. My guess is there are some of you who struggle with this and can’t remember what you enjoyed when you were a kid.  If this is your problem, then we need to take a look at the opposite of “things you loved” just like putting on a Halloween costume that is opposite of who you really are.  Looking at the opposite can help us figure out what we do want, by looking at what we don’t want.

Get out a piece of paper and a pen and turn off the TV, we are going to make a list.

This I hated list

Split your paper in three sections.  In the first column you are going to list the things you hated or didn’t like, in the middle column you are going to put the opposite, and on the right column you are going to put what the opposite you might love. Start first with just filling the left hand column with all the things you didn’t enjoy.  Don’t censor yourself or think of reasons why you shouldn’t list them. Just list all the things you didn’t like.

For example, here’s some things I didn’t like doing growing up: homework, running long distance, and eating when I wasn’t hungry – just to name a few.

Now I list the opposite of these irritants –  or the opposite feeling. For example, my opposite list might look like this:

homework = (the opposite) no homework = (means to me that) I love the freedom to do what I want in the evenings
running long distance = no running = I love walking and hiking or going fast when I don’t have to use my legs
eating when not hungry = eating when I want = I love having the freedom of my own schedule

Run a list until you can’t think of anything more that you don’t like.  Then fill the middle column with their exact opposites.  When you have completed both the left and middle column begin to look at what doing the opposite would mean to you.

The opposite is where what you love is hidden.  If you looked at what I wrote on my sheet last week, you will notice that freedom and independence are big in my life.  What I do has to offer me a large amount of freedom and independence.  I also know that I don’t like doing math all the time (even though I am good at it, and worked in banking for years) but I love writing.  Wouldn’t you say that math and creative writing are opposite? Is creative writing a free and independent pursuit?  I would say yes, and it’s probably the reason I enjoy it so much.

You can find what you love by looking at what you don’t.

Sometimes we need to clear away old negative memories to get to realize what it is we enjoy.

Once you have your list of opposites, leave it sit for a few weeks and see if you begin to notice what your dream might be.

It may come to you in the middle of the night, when you are taking a shower or driving down the freeway.

Once you’ve explored the things you don’t like, it’s time to take that costume off and revel what it is you were meant to do with your dream life.


  • Laurie

    I love McDonald Ave. I must do that again even though my kids are done with all that Halloween stuff. You can find what you love by looking at what you don’t. That is a good one. Yogi types
    ( like my husband ) ask that you quit talking about what you don’t want and decide what you do want.
    Nice post Cat…..why did I always dress as an angel type whore, hmmmmmmm?
    Love, L

    • Thanks – I thought of you last night as we were checking it all out. It was a tough post today – I must be ready to set my clock. Some days of writing are like that for me – maybe not for you tho.

      Angel whore … hmmm so the opposite would be devil saint . . . now that’s interesting!


  • Mariska Smith

    I hate sitting for more than an hour, so it’s why I like work where I am up and around moving all the time. I hate working where there is too much noise and distractions. I like quiet when I am concentrating. I see where you are going with this. I’m going to have to write it all out and see where it takes me. -M