Being My Shadow Self for Halloween


Halloween costumer, New Orleans.

Image via Wikipedia


As theories go, this has more validity than most:

Most people dress up as themselves for Halloween.

And I can buy this. We tend to select costumes that are merely extensions of or amplifications of parts of who we are every day.  Or who we think we are.  After all, many of us haven’t the vaguest idea of who we grew up to be though most of us don’t spend as much time over-thinking it as I do.

But for something completely different this Halloween, the premise of really personifying one’s shadow self was recently put on my table.

What is a shadow self?

It is the “you” that cannot be allowed to be for reasons that only you would know but are probably too hesitant, outright fearful or have completely buried.

Shadow Self is potential you.

Carl Jung put it this way,

“in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness—or perhaps because of this—the shadow is the seat of creativity.”

Keeping in mind that “creativity” is a highly subjective term then, the shadow of who you could be is being held in reserve, or check, by you, the expectations – outside and self-imposed, denial and/or fear. And we haven’t even talked about simply being a clueless, completely indoctrinated lemming though I have to wonder what the shadow of a lemming might look like.

So while dressing up as a sexy witch or maid or princess or vampire is just an extension of sexy you that you very likely hint broadly at most of the time anyway, shadow you could be Thomas Edison. Unless someone is Mrs. Edison, Thomas is about as far from naughty librarian as it gets.

This is not to say that your shadow is devoid of characteristics you express strongly or vaguely on a daily basis.  Shadow you is someone who no one would expect to meet – ever – let alone on Halloween, locked and loaded.

I wonder then about my shadow. Because if shadows are not extensions, she is not a writer or teacher. Perhaps I embraced her on the yoga mat? But that seems like an extension of known aspirations and qualities to me.

‘Tis a puzzlement. And an exercise of interest, but perhaps not one that needs to be indulged in for such a frivolous occasion.

7 thoughts on “Being My Shadow Self for Halloween

  1. Assertiveness. The answer might be assertiveness. I sometimes (perhaps often) lack it. My shadow self has assertiveness to the point of aggression; I shy away from it, but I must, MUST learn to be assertive, in this lifetime.

  2. I actually delved into this a bit. To start, my costume choices would run to feline or princess- unsurprising.

    Next, when I created a list of adjectives describing characteristics I dislike or see as my opposite, I came up with an ultra-conservative, religious zealot, who works (perhaps) for a school board, setting policy.

    I’m not sure that’s my shadow self, though. Unless perhaps if what we mean by shadow self is the person we avoid being/becoming, deliberately. Perhaps, if I had stayed in my small town, near the urban hub of Canada, I would not have developed the more loving, tolerant, expressive sides of myself. Perhaps that is what is meant by the seat of creativity: that by making a conscious (mostly) choice to be this warm and loving person, I am creating from my dark side. I dunno- could be, I guess.

  3. i’d have to de-couple halloween and “shadow self” – for most of my life, halloween has been as much about pulling together bizarre costumes (suitable for play) as it has been bothering strangers for chocolate.

    shadow self is something to think about, though. i’ve often wondered about my untapped abilities as an athlete (mind you, i am NOT one, but love that lifestyle – active, engaged, pushing physical limits, strength, speed…). pretty sure that’s where my shadows lie…

  4. Curious… some of my friends really get into the whole dressing up thing and there were some very interesting costumes… get’s you wondering, for sure.

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