Halloween is the culmination of more than a thousand years of cultural evolution as we celebrate it today. Although there are so many amazing facts abourt the lore of Halloween and Halloween, none may be more interesting than those related to costumes of Halloween.
While you’re likely to see a motley collection of firefighters, soccer players, clowns, and, of course, scary monsters on this Halloween, early Halloween costumes bore very little resemblance to those worn by early Celts and Europeans. The seasonal change at the end of October in the UK can bring unpredictable changes.
All factors that coincided with Halloween were shorter days, colder weather, and the need to consume more calories to make it through the impending winter. Combine this reality with the belief that ghosts on Halloween returned to earth, and you can see that our European ancestors had a real conundrum: the need to go out in the dark coupled with fear of ghosts.
The solution: disguise the house!
Early Halloween costumes were then more about survival and less about entertainment like today’s Halloween costume. As such, in contrast to a human, these costumes were often made of animal skins or hides to give the illusion of a wild animal. Another popular option was wearing frightening masks. The idea is wearing as a scary mask was that the ghost would see the scary mask and mistake the person wearing it for a fellow ghoul in case of being encountered by a ghost.
In Colonial America, where seasonal change is similar to changes taking place in the UK, Halloween’s spread to America has been seamless. However, Native Americans and Native American lore’s influence added a new element to America’s Halloween costumes. As with the variety of animal skins used in costumes, the integration of face paint into costumes began to increase.
Halloween costumes have followed a predictable course parallel to the cultures in which they evolve from that point in history, enabling unique differences in contemporary societies in Halloween costumes. However, what costumes of Halloween will look like years from now is the guess of anyone.