Oct 29, 2019 | 5
Minute Read

What Drives People to Choose Unique Halloween Costumes?

girl in halloween costume

Every October, revelers are presented with the same annual dilemma...what to be for Halloween. What makes one person decide to be a princess while someone else transforms into a bottle of ketchup?

Our drivers, the motivation that drives us to action in all we do, play a big part in all our decisions, including choosing our Halloween costumes. Knowing a little more about a person’s drivers, and which ones are most dominant, can help explain why the mild-mannered nurse, by day, transforms into an evil witch or why the stoic company president becomes a modern-day Elvis impersonator, fully equipped with sideburns and his best version of Hound Dog.


Understanding Drivers

To fully understand how drivers may impact costume selection, an understanding of what drivers are must come first. There are six categories of motivation, and each keyword has two unique aspects to it. The six categories of motivation include: knowledge, utility, surroundings, others, power and methodologies.

Every category has two very unique ways of approaching each keyword. Neither is “better” or “more preferred” than the other, they are simply different. Each driver favors a specific way of dealing with a specific situation.

It’s important to note that people typically have a primary cluster of drivers that motivate their actions a majority of the time, so it’s more likely that they would choose a costume that coincides with one of their four strongest drivers.


Breaking Down the 12 Driving Forces®

Knowledge (Instinctive and Intellectual)

For example, the knowledge keyword is divided into Instinctive or Intellectual “Driving Forces.” A person who is highly Intellectual craves learning, and wants to learn all they can about a subject. The opposite is the Instinctive learner, who prefers to trust experience and gut instinct, learning only what is needed to complete a specific task or project. These are two different, unique ways to approach the same thing - learning.

So what would these individuals be for Halloween? The Intellectual may want to show off their love for learning by representing someone known for his or her own intellectual prowess. Scientists, such as Albert Einstein or Dr. Steven Hawking would be great choices. 

The Instinctive person may think about what costumes they’ve worn in the past, recalling one particular outfit that resonated positively at a costume party. Remembering this, they decide to wear the same outfit, hoping to achieve the same positive outcome this year. Not because they are a creature of habit, but because their gut feeling tells them that this costume was a winner before, and likely will be again.

Whatever costume they choose, they likely won’t put a lot of planning into it. If they decide to go with something new, they’ll choose a costume on the gut feeling they think is right while they are in the store. They very likely won’t come to the store with a preconceived plan or idea. 


Utility (Selfless and Resourceful)

For the Utility keyword, we have the Selfless and Resourceful individuals. The focus of the Selfless person is the costume itself. It won’t matter how much time it takes to make the outfit or what it costs, the end result is the only thing that matters. 

The Resourceful person puts a premium on investments of time and resources, so they are looking for a bargain, or a costume that comes together very quickly. The Resourceful person is most likely to go to their neighborhood Spirit store, with coupon in hand, to grab a bargain-priced costume as quickly as possible. This differs from the Selfless person who is much more likely to take the time to actually create the costume, sparing no expense in the process.


Surroundings (Objective and Harmonious)

These two ends of the spectrum truly represent opposing views and approaches to life. The person with the Objective driver focuses on the functionality of the surroundings. The space needs to make logical sense, without any attention paid to how that space looks. 

The Harmonious person, on the other hand, prioritizes beauty and balance in their surroundings. How it looks matters, and functionality will be sacrificed if it takes away from the optimal appearance.

The Objective person will likely create or purchase a costume that serves some sort of purpose or performs some type of function. Maybe the Objective person has the plug costume while their significant other is the lightswitch - costumes that illustrate a purpose. Maybe the outfit is a functional beer consuming device such as a beer bong that serves the dual purpose of being a costume and a useful way to consume one’s favorite beverage. 

The Harmonious person will work tirelessly to create or find a costume that is visually pleasing and imaginative. Examples may include a beautiful princess outfit or a decorated knight or warrior costume. 


Learn more about Driving Forces by downloading this informative infographic!

Learn More about 12 Driving Forces


Others (Intentional and Altruistic)

This set of drivers speaks to why people help others, and why. The Intentional person always helps or assists others with purpose. The person is looking to achieve a specific purpose and sometimes helping a particular person can advance his or her own wants or needs. The Altruistic person, on the other hand, looks to help as many people as possible. Helping others is reward enough for this person, with no further return or recognition needed for helping. 

Therefore, the Intentional person will create a costume that makes a statement to serve a specific purpose. Maybe a mainline worker who wants to become a manager will show up to the company holiday party dressed as a manager, with the costume meant to send a message. 

Being that an Altruistic person eagerly wants to help others, likely costume choices would include nurse, police officer, firefighter, doctor, or other professions where helping others is the focal point of the job.


Power (Collaborative and Commanding)

Power speaks to how people operate when it comes to authority, status and controlling their own destiny. Those on the Commanding side of power like the spotlight; they want to be noticed. Those on the Collaborative side enjoy being part of a team and do not need, or even want, to be in the spotlight or showcased. 

The person with a Commanding driver will likely take on the costume of a high-profile person or character that will get them noticed and start a conversation. Sports lovers may dress up as Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Mike Trout or Aaron Rodgers. Music lovers may transform into Michael Jackson, Carrie Underwood, Elvis or one of The Beatles. Those who really want to mix it up will dress as their favorite current or former US President to ensure the conversation gets heated quickly. 

Those who are Collaborative may also dress up as a sports figure, but not necessarily a specific player. They may simply be a football, baseball, basketball or soccer player, without identifying with one specific famous celebrity. Collaborative types may choose a costume in conjunction with others; part of a group representing one theme, such as “Thing 1 and Thing 2” from Dr. Seuss fame, or maybe they’ll go out as individual crayons, together creating a whole “set.” 


Methodologies (Receptive and Structured)

Here again we have a case of polar opposites. Those with Receptive drivers love to switch it up and try new things, while Structured folks love doing things the same way, day in and day out. Those with Structured drivers crave routine because routine provides comfort. Receptive people get easily bored with routine and have a need for regularly trying something new. 

People with Receptive drivers will very likely have a different Halloween costume every year, and they may even have more than one per season. Their motto is, “out with the old, in with the new!” The Receptive folks will push the limits and probably create or find the most extravagant and envelope-pushing outfits because they are constantly in search of doing something different. If they went big last year, they need to go bigger this year. The sky's the limit.

This is very much unlike the Structured person who likes to keep things the same. Status quo may be a Structured person’s favorite two words. Of the 12 drivers, the Structured person is most likely to use the same costume year after year, with little variation, if any, from year to year. They find a costume they like and they stick with it. 

As far as what that costume might be, very traditional, career-based costumes are often popular, such as a firefighter, police officer or doctor. While these costume choices may coincide with some that an Altruist would choose, the reasons for choosing these costumes are different. The Altruist would choose this type of outfit because these costumes represent someone who is helpful to others while the Structured person would choose it because this type of character is a traditional staple for Halloween. 


Final Thoughts

No matter what you choose to be this Halloween, having insight into why people choose the costumes they choose, based on drivers, might help you see others’ costume choices a little differently this year and it might help uncover a little more about that friend or coworker than you knew before. 


Want to understand more about what drives you in your actions? Download this free eBook!

Are your Driving Forces satisfied? Start feeling engaged, rewarded, and energized. Download the Ebook


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Dave Clark

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