Breaking Through the Masks

With Halloween now behind us, it was interesting to reflect on the kinds of people I saw, how the interactions were and what all this means for you, which is obviously why I do this.

I will say that when I went out last night, there were some very creative and interesting costumes. I mean I was really impressed with what I saw. I saw 4 guys dressed up as the crew from Entourage, a few Marilyn Monroes, a firefighter, Robin Hood, security guards, Jesus, cats, a keg, Tom Brady (on crutches), Tony Montana, Power Rangers (yeah, they’re still around), Amy Winehouse and a bunch more. It was fun.

Standing in line, waiting to go inside of a bar, I noticed that everyone was approaching each other asking what their costumes were. Everyone was out to have a good time and meet people. It was so cool to see and be a part of. And it sounds crazy because you would think that people go out to have fun and meet people all the time. But this was much different.

I realized a few interesting things. Halloween is one of the holidays where people are most likely to hook up. Makes sense, really. Besides the alcohol-induced entertainment going around all over the city there is something else that is going on here.

When we wear costumes, we are literally putting on a mask and assuming that identity. Which means we can act however and say whatever we want and it’s justifiable because we are in costume – it’s not who we really are. When in this costume for this one night, we feel like there’s nothing to lose because we’re not hurting our own identity – it’s just a costume. And why does it matter anyway? It only happens once a year. As a result, there is a huge increase in people projecting confidence and people are much more open to conversation because not only do they want to be approached, they want people to talk about their costume and say how cool it is.

Think of the costume itself as a great icebreaker that will work every time.

The easiest opener last night was, “who are you supposed to be?” Just like that – instant conversation. What was cool was paying attention to where the conversation led. If someone was just interested in the costume, they would keep asking questions about the costume like, “how did you come up with that?” or, “where did you get all the gear?” If someone was actually interested in the person behind the costume, they would stop talking about the costume and asking questions about the person.

“So who are you here with?”

“What brings you here?”

“Have you been to this place before?”

It’s just a shame that it has to take a holiday for people to make an excuse to hide behind a false identity and be more social. If we could work on it everyday, who knows what could happen. Fortunately, with Halloween being on a Friday, this celebration will continue throughout the weekend. So if you’re going out, if you see someone dressed up in something cool, all you have to do is ask, “Who are you?”

But let this also be a lesson that it’s so easy to approach people and start conversation. Remember the whole thing about stating the obvious? Well a costume couldn’t be a more obvious thing to talk about. But when this holiday is over and people start wearing normal clothes again, the same rule applies. Notice something about them or the environment around them and make a comment on it. The kind of comment where you know the both of you are thinking the same thing except you have the guts to actually say it. Get it?

So who are (were) you for Halloween?