Costume and Anachronism
Anyone who’s ever wondered about the appeal of Renaissance Festivals can usually get their curiosity satisfied by one good costume party. It doesn’t take much more than a few hours in a great costume to discover why people like to pretend they are someone else. For the really good Halloween costumes , there is often a sense of time and place as well as identity, and the costume will reflect something about this someplace else. For a little while, one can be transported into that other world.
Some of this sense is reinforced with the usual games of social play. When one dresses up as Death, for example, people usually have strong responses. It might begin with a bit of shock, but then it soon evolves into a playful kind of repartee, where the conversations can become quite funny. And also quite pleasurable. So when someone decides to wear the costume of a Midnight Fairy, they consciously or unconsciously adopt an attitude toward the world that is much more flirtatious, and mysterious, than their normal every day masks.
As the night wears on, the games become more elaborate, and there are also moments of slippage. It’s an interesting moment at any costume party when all the guests are talking about an important issue, and they forget how they look for a brief time. Then comes a moment of recognition, and the roles kick in again, and that’s when the appeal of dressing up becomes more profoundly understood.