More Than A Costume: What Your Couples Costume Reveals About Your Relationship

We get it — couples costumes are cute and trendy. Every women’s magazine and website has an article about how to match your outfits for this goofy holiday, but maybe there’s more to the idea of wearing matching costumes than meets the eye. On top of being a lot of fun to dress up as your favorite characters or to play out a pun with your partner, couples costumes may also suggest a lot about how your relationship plays out in public.

Showing Satisfaction…

One of the primary psychological motivations for dressing up in couples costumes is that, by planning a costume together, you and your partner are taking deliberate steps to demonstrate your closeness. This is an extension of what we do more subtly and unintentionally on a day to day basis when we use a collective pronoun for ourselves and our partner or how we display our bond through body language. For couples in a happy and healthy relationship, then, choosing a couples costume can be a way of demonstrating that satisfaction.

Or Anxious Attachment?

On the flipside of the satisfaction argument there are other couples who choose matching couples precisely because they’re feeling nervous about the state of their relationship. Just think of those couples that are constantly posting pictures together on Instagram — people experiencing “anxious attachment” or uncertainty about their partner’s feelings are more likely to do this, and they’re also more likely to insist on a couple’s costume.

It’s important to remember that you can’t use your holiday wardrobe to avoid having meaningful conversations. Getting your partner on board with a couple’s costume may help you feel more secure about their feelings toward you, but you still need to learn to talk about your anxieties in your relationship if you want things to last.

It’s All Impression Management

Ultimately, choosing whether or not to wear a couple’s costume is a type of impression management — you’re broadcasting to the world how you want to be perceived as a couple. This may be embedded in the costume choices, such as when couples choose a costume from a fandom they’re passionate about or because they’ve chosen a costume that’s meant to be smart or witty, or it may just be a way of marking your territory as a couple.

Anxious or new couples are more likely to wear couples costumes because they want to make sure no one flirts with their partner, or that their partner doesn’t flirt with anyone else. More secure or established couples, though they may wear matching costumes, are more likely to do so in a playful way that contributes to the narrative or history of their partnership.

If you want to wear a couples costumes this Halloween, you don’t have to overthink it. You can just have fun — it’s that sort of holiday. Just know that there might be a little more going on beneath the surface of that silly outfit.