Halloween is an interesting holiday in that it lets people experiment with their identity in ways they normally cannot. (However, many only "experiment" in stereotypical ways. For instance, women's prepackaged costumes are almost universally sexy.) What I really don't like - a sentiment I adopted from my dad - is how people use it as an excuse to abdicate restraint and responsibility. The usual social controls are absent or lessened. As I thought about this yesterday, I was reminded of all the research done on online identities. Online, people can "try on" different personalities different from the ones they usually have. In fact, they're even less constrained than they are on Halloween (or many other historical and current holidays, such as Mardi Gras, Robynne reminds me): though people's traces may be recorded permanently, they can interact anonymously (or pseudonymously). Somehow, while Halloween bothers me, this doesn't, though I suppose there are aspects of online interactions that I do find particularly odious.