Masks & Villains

Photo of Scott Allison

Scott Allison, professor of psychology, is a leading expert on heroes.

Allison can speak to several psychology-related topics specific to Halloween, including the popularity of masks and how that fits into identity, and how the choice of costume — are you a villain or a hero? — can tell us all something about ourselves, each other, and society at large.

"Children wear Halloween costumes for different reasons. Some want a costume that frightens; others want a costume that is easy to assemble," Allison says. "But some kids want to dress up as their hero, whether it be Superman or their favorite celebrity or sports idol. When we dress up as a hero, we can slip into that heroic identity and raise our self-esteem for those few hours on Halloween night."

Contact Sunni Brown (, director of media and public relations, to connect with Scott.