Halloween was a big deal at our house; the young boys became hugely excited by the costumes that I concocted. I can tell you, painting chain-mail rings on long underwear is no trivial task. Once I sewed matching dinosaur costumes with spikes and big stuffed tails. Our younger son loved his outfit until he saw himself in the mirror. Terrifying! It looked so real to him at that age that it somehow crossed the line from pretending to some sort of reality.
The younger son almost always wanted a matching costume to his brother, so we had the Grim Reaper and the Grim Reaper's assistant, and the Knight and Squire. As the boys grew older, this coordination of outfits extended to include friends. For several years they were a small mob touring the neighborhood as a company of medieval fantasy characters. There were problems like furry hobbit feet absorbing massive amounts of water and the wizard's tome (a dictionary) becoming too heavy, but they were all so excited to be pretending that one year they forgot to go to the neighbors' houses until reminded. Oh yes, candy.
I dress up every year too. Why should the kids have all the fun? This year I am a cat, last year, a pirate. Our young helpers always dressed up too, sometimes at the last minute. (We enlisted helpers because we typically get well over a thousand Halloween visitors.) My husband makes wonderful costumes out of kitchen utensils.
We as grown-ups become so set in our identities that we forget to pretend or even act silly. This wonderful skill often goes dormant, except in those precious souls who act or dance or tell stories. Let's remind ourselves to let go of our dignity once in a while and let our imaginations play.