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Halloween Costume History

Updated on September 17, 2011

Are you thinking about foregoing a Halloween costume this year, and leaving the holiday to the children? Before making a final decision about getting a costume for this year’s festivities, it’s a good idea to think about where the concept of Halloween costumes originated. By looking at the history of Halloween, it becomes clear that the costume is an important part of the celebration of this holiday.

Adult Halloween Costume Ideas

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Little Red Riding Hood capeNapoleonGibson GirlGas MaskMaleficentSpiderella
Little Red Riding Hood cape
Little Red Riding Hood cape | Source
Napoleon | Source
Gibson Girl
Gibson Girl | Source
Gas Mask
Gas Mask | Source
Maleficent | Source
Spiderella | Source

Historical Background of Halloween Costumes

The history of Halloween costumes and their connection to Halloween dates back centuries, to when the observation of Halloween and the practice of trick-or-treating first began. Halloween as we know it actually evolved from a pagan festival called Samhain, which was long celebrated by the ancient Celts. For Samhain, the ancient Celtic people donned costumes that were made to look like animals. While wearing these costumes, which were typically animal skins, the Celts would try to tell each other’s fortunes.

All Souls Day

As Samhain evolved into an All Souls Day celebration, the Celtic people continued to dress in costumes, but expanded from just dressing up like animals to masquerading as saints, angels, and devils. Eventually, the All Souls Day celebration that originated with the pagan Samhain festival eventually has evolved into what we know as Halloween today. While trick-or-treating is frequently associated with children, it wasn’t always that way. Many moons ago, in County Cork, Ireland, a common Halloween tradition was for grown-ups to dress up in Halloween costumes and go from house to house, begging for a Halloween feast.

Halloween Costume Parties

As you can clearly see from looking at Halloween from a historical perspective, Halloween just isn’t reserved for children. Halloween can be just as much fun for adults as for the youngest generations. There is no reason at all for adults to shy away from selecting a Halloween costume and joining in the festivities.

Some moms or dads wear a Halloween costume, just to take their kiddies trick or treating. It can be a great deal of fun for parents and kids alike to dress up and go door to door collecting candy and other goodies from friends and neighbors.

However, enjoying dressing up in a Halloween costume isn’t reserved just for those who have children. Many adults throw or attend grown-up Halloween parties and even costume contests. There are plenty of Halloween activities for adults who want to show off their creative Halloween costumes.

Finding Costumes

Of course, before you can show off your Halloween costume, you first have to find one. There are many different choices when it comes to selecting the perfect Halloween costume. Some of the most popular adult Halloween costumes include witch outfits, devil disguises, vampire capes, and many other fun and interesting selections. You might even want to go as the mascot for your favorite sports team or as the symbol of another holiday. It might be great fun to dress up as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny for Halloween!

You may have the perfect Halloween costume hanging in your closet, or you might find a great bargain on one at a local thrift store. Some of the most attractive and creative adult Halloween costumes are the ones that you piece together from old dance costumes, prom dresses, and leisure suits. You may also find many other costume options at department stores, party stores, and online retailers.

Adult Halloween Costumes

As an adult, do you dress up for Halloween?

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Submit a Comment
  • Reynold Jay profile image

    Reynold Jay 

    7 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

    I'm gett'n out my Halloween stuff this weekend! I found I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. I must give this an “Up ONE and awesome.” I'm always your fan! RJ

    Based upon your HUB, you might enjoy this HUB…


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