ORIGINS OF HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
Most historians suggest the custom of dressing up for Halloween originated with the Celtic festivals Samhain and Calan Gaeaf and, in the 9th century when Christianity spread, from the practice of “souling” during the observance of Allhallowtide.
By now, it’s common knowledge. What I didn’t realize was is that Samhain is now believed to predate the arrival of the first Celts in Ireland about 2,500 years ago. Two hills in the Boyne Valley associated with the Samhain Great Fire Festival and the Mound of Hostages have entrance passages to the mounds which has been dated at 4,500 to 5,000 years old.
Hills of Tara ▼
Image Source: mythicalireland.com/hill-of-tara ▼ Image Source: tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink
The Celts believed that during the festival of Samhain, the world of the gods became visible to humans, resulting in supernatural mischief. Some people offered treats and food to the gods, while other wore disguises -- such as animal skins and heads -- so that wandering spirits might mistake them for one of their own.
Humming while wearing costumes is also associated with other festivals, particularly Christmas. The wearing of costumes while “humming”,”mumming”, or “guising” was intended to blend in with the spirits of Aos SI, Spirits of the Otherworld, which were on earth at that time. It was thought that by dressing up, one would fool the spirits into thinking you were one of them and would therefore be protected. [Like they couldn’t tell? It’s like Superman putting on a suit and glasses and becoming Clark Kent, and no one can recognize him. Yeah, right.]
At that time the costumes would have been based on the frightening supernatural and folklore beings they wanted to be protected from. Witches, goblins, and the like, I presume.
The first written references to costumes on All Hallows Eve comes from Scotland in 1585 and, apparently, the tradition continues through the 18th
and 19th centuries in the Celtic countries of Scotland, Ireland, Mann and Wales.
HALLOWEEN COSTUMES IN AMERICA
Large numbers of Scottish and Irish immigrated to America in the 18th century, bringing with them the Halloween customs, traditions, and costumes. The costume and Trick-or-Treat practice spread, each culture putting their own slant on the rituals based on their own festivals and beliefs.
At Chicago Art Institute's Halloween Ball, 1949
Image Credit: Robert Natkin/Getty Images
Image Source: history.com/topics/halloween
By the 1990s women reverted back to making costumes at home to replicate as because longed to dress like their favorite singers, actresses and musical groups. Couples costumes based on movie or TV characters became popular with everyone.
▲Image Source: amazon.com/Batman-Classic-Heritage-Costume
As Americans often do, we have turned our enthusiasm for Halloween costumes into a profitable business. No more of this homemade stuff.
In 2017, Americans spent $9.1 billion on Halloween and $3.4 billion on costumes. That’s a chunk of change. In 2020, that may drop some, but we’re quite innovative when it comes to spending money. In 2019, Americans spend almost half a billion [$490 million] on costumes for their pets, a particular favorite for millennials. Dressing like your pet has been a big trend since 2018.
Here are some extreme examples of men’s 2020 costumes. There were many more traditional costumes available but I chose some of the bizarre ones. Do men really wear these?
Would You Allow Your Husband or Significant Other in Public Wearing This? ▼
Image source: Image source: Image source: Image Source:
dogtime.com/dog-health/ moochmoochpets.wordpress.com/ time.com/sexy-halloween-dogs/ popsugar.com/smart-living/
This category of partner costumes is actually cute and innovative.