Why is Halloween so popular and how does it affect the human psyche?

Published on 30, Oct 2017

Psychologists tell why dressing up in evil spirits is useful and how terrible costumes help curb their dark side.


How gloomy holidays affect the psyche

Attempts to ban Halloween are done annually. This year in Russia, politicians have proposed to ban the celebration of Halloween in schools and kindergartens. Deputies consider this unacceptable from the educational and moral points of view.

Psychologists, on the contrary, note that carnival costumes, even the most macabre, do no harm to the psyche. Attire on the occasion – try to have fun. But the opponents of the holiday perceive it as a protest, which must be defended, which should be banned, told psychiatrist-consultant Adriana Imzh. According to her, over the years people will get used to Halloween and the level of aggression will begin to subside.

We must understand that serial killers, people with mental disorders, sectarians usually do evil without costumes and demonstrativeness. The make-up on Halloween is good because it can be applied – and washed away.

Adriana Imzh, counseling psychologist

Completely close from all these gloomy topics, which are actually always near us, is an extreme, says psychologist Oksana Istomina. When we completely reject all darkness in us, our hidden negative aspirations can accumulate and break out suddenly and uncontrollably. The other extreme is to completely surround yourself with gloomy attributes, to fill your space with only a shadow.

The balance is somewhere in between, and Halloween is an excellent way to maintain this balance.

Oksana Istomina, psychologist, psychology teacher

Medical psychologist-consultant Maria Elets notes that Halloween does not harm a person with a healthy psyche. If a person already has disturbances in the psychic spectrum, then the additional excitement even with such controlled fear can do much harm. But this is the sphere of work of psychiatrists.

It’s not a holiday, but in already existing problems in the psyche.

Maria Yelets, medical counselor-psychologist

So there is no harm to a healthy psyche from Halloween. On the contrary, disguise in evil spirits can benefit.

What is useful in gloomy holidays

Halloween is not the only holiday when people change into carnival costumes, including very scary ones, and behave a bit recklessly. Dates, in which the streets are freely roaming all evil spirits, is in the calendar of almost every country. For example, caroling on the eve of Christmas has much more in common with Halloween than it seems. Children and adults also change into costumes and go to the neighbors for sweets.

Adriana Imzh notes that the carnival is a place where some parts of oneself go free, which are less appropriate in ordinary life. For example, in Spain it’s normal for the whole family to dress up with Red Riding Hats – for both father and elder brother. This helps them better understand what it’s like to be vulnerable, to be afraid of male strangers, to walk in bright and unusual clothes.

The days of carnivals, eating to dumps, dances are almost in all cultures just to let off steam, to be in another role, to laugh a little at the rigors of everyday life.

Adriana Imzh, counseling psychologist

According to Maria Yelets, for a long time people have been characterized by fear of the unknown darkness of the night and what happens to the person after death. Their psyche drew various monsters that hide in the shadows of the night twilight. These could be the ghosts in which people after death are transformed, and vampires who steal human life through blood, and many other creatures of human fears. And such holidays as Halloween, give people the opportunity to laugh at the terrible, to cast off the fetters of mystery, turning themselves into that which frightens.

Laughter helps to relieve a person of stress and negative emotions. This is a way not only to not damage the psyche, but also to help it gain control over its fears.

Maria Yelets, medical counselor-psychologist

Many gloomy topics in our society under the strictest ban, says Oksana Istomina. It is not customary to talk about illnesses, imperfections, troubles, fears, and even more so of death. All these topics are an integral part of our lives. What we hide in the shadow is part of our personality, which usually does not manifest itself. But it sometimes needs to be released at will. Holidays such as Halloween, just fine let it do it.

In a playful, non-destructive, controlled form, we frighten everyone and are frightened ourselves, allowing this part of us to be lived and released, not to accumulate negative.

Oksana Istomina, psychologist, psychology teacher at the Higher School of Economics in Russia

So it’s nothing to worry about celebrating Halloween, most likely, nothing bad will happen. As soon as the first roosters scream, all evil spirits will turn into students, office workers and other respected citizens.

What kind of costume did you make for the Halloween party?

Published by Sergey Ermilov

Editor in chief and author of the Picaster.com. Traveller, blogger, designer etc. Living all around the World, share the best experience.