I

n the blur of yesterday—or what I have come to understand to be our annual Halloween experience—I noticed that a friend had linked to a piece about costumes and the important role imaginative play has in the growth and development of our children. Edifying, no doubt, but not the kind of thing I would ever manage to read in time for the event itself, not when there’s face paint to poorly apply and pants to ineptly pin.

It could be that I won’t ever get around to reading that story, though, because I don’t really need to. After spending more than a decade’s worth of Halloweens in the company of my own children, I have learned a thing or two about the power of a night spent pretending to be someone wholly other than yourself:

That it doesn’t take much to become something else and that you can always—always—find one sliver of commonality between you and whatever it is you’ve decided to be for the night.

That you can’t go wrong with a good wig. Keep one or two in the closet just in case.

That even half-realized disguises can be enough to give you an evening away from being yourself. And whether your eight or 48, all of us could stand to take escape from ourselves at least once a year.