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Halloween and Costumes Then and Now

Updated on June 11, 2015

History of Halloween and Costumes

Halloween brings about many visions of tricks and treats as well as some pretty amazing Halloween costumes. Where did the tradition of dressing up for Halloween come from?

Centuries ago, it was believed by many that lived in the countries that now comprise the United Kingdom (particularly the Celts) that the last night before the end of harvest was a night that the lines between dimensions of life and death were more easily crossed. This time was known as Samhain.

The tradition of dressing up for Halloween is thought by some to originate from the fear of evil spirits crossing over to claim innocent souls. If the spirits could not recognize the people they were trying to 'capture', the night would pass without incident.

Others say that dressing up is something that began when the Druids would celebrate a bountiful harvest with the wearing of animal skins.

Others still trace it back to 'souling' or 'guising' where children went from door to door for charitable gifts.

Wherever dressing up for Halloween began, the tradition of dressing up for Halloween (and other occasions) is something many people enjoy.

It is a lot of fun pretending and role playing for a night, and it's not just for kids! Costume parties and trick or treating with the family give the grown-ups many opportunities to have some fun. As far as variety for adults, there are more options for Halloween costumes to choose from than ever!

Halloween Costumes for Men

A hundred years ago, a man getting ready to go to a masquerade ball would usually pick from a variety of historical characters such as kings or other famous leaders. These types of costume parties included masks for the participants to wear that were removed at a designated time in the evening. It was fun trying to guess who was who! Trick or treating with the children was not popularly done until the 1930s, but as the tradition grew, the whole family celebrating it together grew as well.

As time went on, men's costumes came to include gangsters, superheros and popular characters from movies such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Today's costumes are limitless in what a guy can put together for a Halloween party or a trick or treat fest with the kids. Movie characters are still popular choices as are vintage costumes.

Imagine the fun of dressing up as a famous football hero or a swashbuckling pirate for Halloween as you go door to door with the kids. Trick or treating should be a time for the family to get dressed up and have some fun..and that includes dear old Dad! A Halloween party with other adults is another great opportunity to be that Jedi Knight or pro wrestling star.

Go back in time to play favorite childhood characters such as Popeye or the Lone Ranger. Today's costumes are more comfortable than ever to really enjoy the evening!

Halloween Costumes for Women

Women's costumes have changed a great deal over the years, although some would say that the attitude toward dressing up is actually drifting back to ancient times. Women of many cultures centuries ago wore costumes that were intended for seduction or to show off beauty.

Today there are no limits to what a woman can be for that special Halloween party; a famous movie starlet, a vintage 1920s flapper, or even costumes that had been predominantly worn by males in the past - women can have many choices instead of the typical witch or nurse costume.

Female costumes have entered the world most often associated with men in the past. A woman's pirate costume puts a seductive spin on a predominantly male character as well as a gangster or animal. What's important to remember is to enjoy whatever character or role being played and buy a costume of good quality. Outfits that are durable and comfortable enhance the experience of being anybody the heart desires!

As the plans are made for that Halloween party or take the kids out for their Halloween rounds, be sure and check all of the many options available to choose from for costumes. Adult costumes for parties can give more freedom for seductive outfits for any time of the year, so don't be afraid to express the inner beauty as a spectacular sexy vampire or a naughty Little Red Riding Hood.

Complimenting Halloween Costumes

Sometimes couples decide to go in costumes that compliment each other, such as Raggedy Ann and Andy or Lois Lane and Superman.

There really are no limits to what a couple can go as, with many costume varieties and combinations to choose from.

If it is a theme party, such as famous movie stars or characters from comic books, you can have a lot of fun as a couple figuring out what best combination to go as and be the hit of the party! It's also not limited to Halloween parties, as trick or treating is a fun opportunity to come up with some good ideas for couple's costumes.

Two people that are fans of the Star Wars movies can go as a variety of characters from those films. Maybe the more traditional airline pilot/stewardess or a famous couple from Hollywood or royalty would be preferred. No matter what couples enjoy doing or have in common, there is sure to be a Halloween costume combination that will be suitable for the occasion.

If the party that a couple is attending is adult themed, the imagination can go even more wild! A female cop and her prisoner in cuffs can be a fun idea as well as a sexy serving wench and a roguish highwayman. These kinds of parties are a lot of fun and lower the inhibitions for self-expression. After all--everyone else there will be having fun! Whether it's traditional or vampy, a couples combination Halloween costume can make for a special night of tricks and treats!

Halloween Theme Parties

While the most popular theme parties for Halloween include something spooky and scary, it doesn't have to necessarily be limited to the macabre. A popular television show or movie among a group of friends can be a great idea for a theme party. Create an in-house cemetery complete with gravestones for a zombie invasion or fake coffins and cobwebs for a vampire setting. There are many realistic (and fun) decorations to choose from as far as putting a theme party together.

Maybe a full blown haunted house is the order of the evening. Get a few friends to play the parts of the ghosts, ghouls, and other creepy creatures, get some decorative spooky accessories such as cobwebs, cauldrons, bats flying (or hanging) overhead and some 'blood' soaked hatchets and ghosts. With some more imagination and ideas, there are the beginnings for a haunted house that the neighborhood will be talking about for the rest of the year.

If the party is more of a humorous theme, getting some electronic decorations that actually sing and dance can be hilarious, especially when a group is getting together. Singing ghosties or dancing broomsticks can add a fun touch to a light-hearted theme party. No matter if the main idea is to be frightening or funny, there are plenty of accessories and decorations to suit the occasion and the imagination. Halloween parties are not just for kids - adults can find any theme and make a great night for friends to dress up and have just as much fun!


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    • Sneha Sunny profile image

      Sneha Sunny 

      7 years ago from India

      it was a nice read.... I like the Popeye.. :-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice hub- Fun to read. You pulled it all together with a very nice writing style too. Look forward to reading more.


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