Creative Juice: You Don’t Need a Holiday to Play Make-Believe

November 3, 2014

Last Friday was a day of pretending.

I don’t think Halloween is a day of evil. Not when I have a kid dressed as a whoopie cushion show up to my door. No, Halloween is a day when we celebrate the power of the human mind to make believe.

There were ninjas and princesses who came to my door. Cheri dressed up as Marge Gunderson and practiced saying “I’m not a hundred percent with you on your police work there, Lou.”

Of course, we’ve all noticed that Halloween has become a lot more of an adult holiday over the last twenty years. It’s no longer confined to just kids getting treats. Lots of adults want to take part in the pretending.

Kids are great at pretending, and they do not need a holiday to tell them to pretend, though. Every day can be a pretend day for them. But for adults, we’ve kind of lost that ability. We live in the world of bills and responsibilities and pretending seems like maybe its a waste of time and money. We look at kids pretending and we wish we could go back to a time when it came much easier to us.

But I have come to believe that pretending is not just a children’s pastime. It’s an essential human skill. It is the pretenders who imagine a world that does not yet exist. It is the pretenders who pursue “silly” ideas and change the world. It is often the pretenders who make other lives better. Pretending is not an avoidance strategy (though it can be). It is the human imagine getting lost in itself, making a new reality. Some of the most influential, creative people were simply the people who were the least afraid to pretend.


What if we did not just confine our pretending to one silly day each year? Would we be happier?