Traditional Halloween Costumes

What is Halloween today? Halloween today is a day that involves trick or treating, dressing up in costumes and eating candy. What is the origin of Halloween? Halloween has a long history that begins with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which marks the beginning of winter and the Celtic New Year. The Celts believed that on October 31st, also known as the day before their New Year, the boundary between our world and the afterlife was blurred. The ghosts of the dead could easily return to earth. Many people tried to appease these spirits by offering gifts and food.

Today we celebrate this holiday by dressing up in costumes, trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and attending costume parties. If you are looking to attend a party this year and want to dress up as something traditional, check out our blog posts below on historical costumed and where they came from!

Halloween is one of the best times of year. It’s a time to dress up in crazy costumes, get tons of candy and have a great time with friends. Here at Costume Castle we love Halloween, but we also love history. We put together this article to help you learn more about these classic costumes and the history behind them.

Pilgrim & Native American Costumes:

The first Thanksgiving occurred in 1621 where the Pilgrims and Native Americans came together to celebrate the harvest that they had worked so hard on over the past year. Back in 1621 most women wore long black dresses with hats, aprons and white collars. Most men wore breeches, jackets and hats. The Native Americans wore a lot of different types of clothing depending on their location but generally leather was used for pants and shirts and furs were used as outerwear for warmth. Today these styles are still celebrated during Thanksgiving festivities but quickly changed at the end of November when it was time for Halloween.

Witch Costumes:

The witch is a very old character in folklore going back thousands of years and across many countries. Witches have always been portrayed as female characters who use magic to get what they want or need. As far back as Ancient Greece witches have been depicted

This October 31st, think beyond the typical costumes you find in the shops. Take a look at some of these traditional costumes, and the stories behind them:

The funny thing about Halloween is that the costumes that have become prominent today have a deeper meaning than many realize. Take witches, for example. According to, a witch is simply “a woman believed to have evil magic powers”.

It’s only when you dig a little deeper into history that you realize that the word ‘witch’ has evolved over time.

Back in the middle ages, when most people still lived on farms, they believed that witches were women who had made pacts with the devil in order to receive supernatural powers to use against their neighbors[1]. However, most of these women were actually midwives or herbalists who were very knowledgeable about plants and natural remedies. This knowledge was perceived as witchcraft by their jealous neighbors and thus led to accusations of being a witch and being punished for it[2].

Today, we use the word ‘witch’ in a very different way. It’s used as a general term for both men and women who practice witchcraft or other forms of magic[3]. It also refers to someone, normally female, who practices black magic in particular[4]. In fact, it is even used as a slang term for an ugly woman[5].

Halloween: a time for costumes, candy, and most importantly, fun! It is a holiday in both ancient and modern cultures, but Halloween’s history is often overlooked. Halloween has evolved into an event that is celebrated by children and adults alike. But where did it all begin?

The origin of Halloween can be traced back approximately 2000 years to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France. Their New Year was November 1st. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 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 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

The tradition of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays dates back to the Middle Ages and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. Shakespeare mentions the practice in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), when Speed accuses his master of “puling [whimpering or whining] like a beggar at Hallowmas.”

The custom of wearing costumes and masks at Halloween goes back hundreds of years, to celebrations before All Souls Day. There are many references in Scottish and English literature to the custom during the 18th and 19th centuries. It most likely came to North America in the 19th century with Irish and Scottish immigrants.

In North America, Halloween is the second most commercially successful holiday, after Christmas. Records show that Halloween spending topped $6 billion dollars in 2016.

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