The Lure of Halloween Costumes
Halloween is an exciting time of year, with costumes, candy and fall activities. The earliest known mention of Halloween costumes dates back to 1911 when a newspaper in Kingston, Pennsylvania reported that they were worn by young people at Halloween parties.
In the 1920s and 1930s Halloween costumes included hobos, scarecrows, gypsy girls and flappers. Other popular costumes of the period included Charlie Chaplin and Mae West.
Vintage Halloween Costumes: The 1940s
The 1940s saw the first significant increase in the amount of store-bought Halloween costumes, which was due to companies like Ben Cooper, Inc. During WWII Ben Cooper produced a variety of licensed and unlicensed Disney costumes for boys such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Pinocchio. For girls there were Dopey and Snow White. The decade also saw a number of homemade costumes for women including witches and cats which were made from black crepe paper.
Vintage Halloween Costumes: The 1950s
One of the most famous costume contests during the 1950s was held on television’s popular show “Lucky Pup.” In order to promote their dog food brand, Ken-L Ration sponsored a contest that offered $100 for the best dog costume each week
Halloween has become a popular holiday for children, teenagers, and adults of all ages. The costumes and ghoulish decorations are especially appealing to the younger generation. Halloween is also a lucrative business for costume manufacturers and retailers, who are constantly striving to create the latest and most exciting Halloween costumes each year.
The Halloween costume industry has grown significantly over the past few decades. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Americans spent $10.1 billion in 2011 on Halloween costumes, candy, decorations, cards, and greeting gifts. The NRF expects that spending in 2012 will reach about $8 billion for Halloween purchases with 33% of consumers surveyed saying they plan to spend more this year than last year.
It’s no surprise that parents are expected to spend an average of $75 per family on Halloween costumes this year as compared to $68 last year according to the NRF survey. Popular children’s Halloween costumes in 2012 include animals such as an owl or a lion; mythical creatures like wizards; Disney characters such as “Brave” Princess Merida; movie characters such as Batman; and superhero favorites like Spiderman and Captain America.
Teenagers prefer more scary or sexy outfits while adults opt for humorous or scary costumes. Whatever your costume preference may be, there is
Halloween is a time of fun and frolic. Kids and adults alike dress up in unusual costumes, go trick-or-treating, or just have parties. The most common question that arises during this season is – “What to wear?” Well, the answer to this is not very difficult. You can choose from a variety of themes. But there are some ideas that are perennial favorites.
One such costume theme is elves. These characters seem to be popular year after year as people like dressing up in elf costumes and attending parties. This costume is also a favorite because it does not require much thought or effort and you can pick up an elf costume from the store without any difficulty at all. Nowadays, you do not even need to visit a brick-and-mortar store for your costume; you can go online and purchase it from the comfort of your home.
Halloween costumes for both children and adults have become a multi-million dollar industry. The National Retail Federation found that in 2009, consumers spent $66.28 on average on Halloween products and decorations. This is up from $56.31 in 2008.
It . . . should come as no surprise that Halloween costumes have become so popular over the years. In many ways, they represent the ultimate freedom of expression. For one night, we get to be someone else and completely transform into an entirely new character or identity. More importantly, Halloween offers us a chance to temporarily escape our everyday realities and enter into a world of fantasy and fun where we can pretend to be something we wish we were, or at least imagine being[…]
The tradition of dressing up in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.
The Celts believed that on October 31st, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31st they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source
Like most holidays of the year, Halloween inspires decorations and costumes that are often inspired by a particular theme. In recent years, the LARPing community has embraced fantasy themes such as those found in the Lord of the Rings or Dungeons and Dragons. This fascination with elves is also reflected in popular culture, with shows such as True Blood and The Hobbit.
While elves have been around since folklore began, they’ve never been so popular as they are today. To find out why, we spoke to elf historian and enthusiast Charles Tolbert.