A Time to Pretend
Or: Halloween Forever
By Patrick M. Kennedy
That time is nearly upon us when we can become somebody else, a masquerade. Put on a mask, or some face paint, floppy shoes and pants, or even a short skirt and a wig: Whatever makes you feel like some personality of your aspirations. Halloween is just around the corner and it is almost time to act, play the scene, and pretend to be another. If done right, seniors can even become movie stars, athletes, teens, or even tweeners. Or the opposite end of the span, a ghost or zombie or a werewolf. A half human like Frankenstein is popular so the creature and creepy side of your personality can come out, at least for one night.
Now let’s get down to it: Pretending is to give a false appearance of being, possessing, or performing; to make believe. “Acting is a nice childish profession - pretending you’re someone else and, at the same time, selling yourself,” said one senior citizen we know, Katharine Hepburn. A childish business that senior citizens can snag on to for one evening: October 31, Halloween, All Saints Eve, observed especially with dressing up in disguise, trick-or-treating, having a costume party, and displaying jack-o’-lanterns during the evening. It is a night to discard that rusty, dusty image that all seniors are tagged with and become someone else for a change. Or really bust the crust and go out trick-or-treating. ‘Oh, what will the neighbors say,’ you may wonder and worry. Who cares, besides, if your disguise is good enough they won’t know who you are.
Or better yet, visit the local haunted house, every town has one or two on this special spooky eve. They are entertainment venues designed to thrill and scare patrons, you, but you’ve seen it all before so you’ll have to fake it. Or to really scare the heck out of your neighbors and the trick-or-treater kids, put up a couple of tomb stones in your front yard with some sort of warning: ‘Those who pass into here will ….’
Of course, seniors are accustomed to pretense. That is, pretending to be healthy, when they’re not, pretending to exercise and eat only eat fit foods, when they’re not, and pretending to be happy, when they’re not. Pretending in these cases could almost be defined as deceiving, or, or maybe even the worst, being insincere and maybe even lying. In most cases it’s not that, it’s just avoiding the bad things in life and trying to live life in a comfortable fashion without worrying family and friends. Every now and then these same people become too concerned and make life a little bumpy for senior citizens who don’t want to eat that mess called food, or stretch those muscles that hurt-hurt when exercising to gain a day’s worth of extra life. Yes, for these seniors the world is a stage and they are the sole star.
But then, on the other side of the stage, there are those who don’t pretend but gripe, be grumpy, complain about everything, and still don’t do the right things. “Happiness depends upon ourselves”, said Aristotle. Or said another way, “A sure way to lose happiness, I found, is to want it at the expense of everything else,” said Bette Davis another well qualified senior citizen.
But then again in the backstage seniors can dress up to be anything/anyone they want to and present themselves to the world on Halloween night. It is that night to howl, growl, purr, sing, or even beg for candy from house to house. Be a different person. It only comes once a year, but the attitude can carry over from day to day, Halloween forever. “Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions; it is governed by our mental attitude”, Dale Carnegie, and that attitude can carry over from one night to a better year.