Skip Nav

Psychologists Explain the Meaning Behind Halloween Costumes

What Your Childhood Halloween Costume Says About You, According to Psychologists

Psychologists Explain the Meaning Behind Halloween Costumes
Image Sources: Getty / Tang Ming Tung; SusanGaryPhotography; RichLegg and Photo Illustration: Aly Lim

As a kid, Halloween doled out magic the same way our neighbours handed out candy bars: quickly and plentifully. Now, the holiday still holds a childlike kind of enchantment thanks in large part to one classic Halloween tradition: dressing up. Whether we were coordinating with siblings to go trick-or-treating or we had special ensembles just for school, our Halloween costumes set the tone for a night of fun and mischief. With the help of a few experts, we're reflecting on some of the most popular Halloween costumes for kids and what they say about our personalities.

Excited to dig deeper into the psychology of Halloween costumes, we asked Dr. Natalie Jones, PsyD, LPCC and members of POPSUGAR's Mental Health Advisory Board — including Israa Nasir, MHC-LP, Dr. Lynn Saladino, PsyD, and Aliza Shapiro, LCSW — to share their opinions about the potential correlation between our personalities and our costume choices as children. None of the following analyses are rooted in psychological sciences and cannot be backed up by scientific studies. Still, their conjectures overlap enough to indicate that our temperament as kids might have had more impact on our Halloween costumes than we thought.

"This is the one day where you can transform."

As adults, the meaning behind our Halloween costumes are typically intentional. But as children, what we wanted to dress up as could've been an indication of qualities we weren't aware of at the time. By putting on a Halloween costume, we were able to tap into those subdued sides of ourselves. "We talk a lot about play in therapy. A lot of times, when we're pretending to be someone else, it allows us access to pieces of ourselves that we may not get to access on a regular basis," Dr. Saladino tells POPSUGAR.

If you've ever wanted to know why you got so much use out of that Superman cape as a kid or what drove you to make the most detailed witch costume three years in a row, see what our team of experts has to say ahead. Who knows? It might even inspire you to get extra creative with you next Halloween costume.

Latest parenting