Even when I was younger and I felt insecure about my appearance, I looked forward to Halloween. Although picking a costume was always something that gave me a bit of headache – you have to pick the perfect one, not just any one – once I had settled on the look I wanted, I couldn’t wait. I LOVED dressing up, layering on makeup and transforming into someone else.
I still love Halloween. One of the biggest reasons for that is because the rules go out of the window. You can wear anything or be anyone you want to be. You emulate your favourite celebrity or copy an iconic look. You can be more confident, braver, cheekier.
Over the years, I have had many brilliant Halloween costumes and I have loved dressing up in each and every one of them. From a Lynx fallen angel to Poison Ivy to an Oscar winner to a zombie to the black swan and many, many more, dressing up as someone else has been great fun.
In the past, having a costume meant more than just dressing up. Halloween was great because I didn’t have to be myself. All the usual worries I had about my appearance disappeared. Before a Halloween night out, I just got into my costume and headed out of the door without a second thought. What’s there to feel insecure about when you aren’t yourself for the night? No one cares what you look like on Halloween – they just want to see your costume.
That feeling of freedom when it came to dressing and how I thought of myself was something I missed as soon as Halloween was over, but it is something that over recent years I have done my best to adopt throughout the year.
I’ve learnt that you don’t have to pretend to be someone else to feel beautiful. You don’t have to look at yourself and only spot your flaws. You don’t have to pick at yourself until you walk out of the door wishing you had an excuse to cancel. You really can go out and be confident in yourself, as confident as you would be if you were hiding behind the costume of being someone else.
I still love Halloween. Fancy dress parties are amazing and coming up with creative costumes still gets me excited, but I love that I see them for what they are now – fun events, not an opportunity to hide my insecurities behind pretending I am someone else.
It’s been a journey to get to a point where I can talk about body image and self acceptance like this, but it’s been wonderful to realise that I didn’t need a mask or a costume or stage makeup to feel beautiful – I just needed confidence.