College students dressed up for Halloween.
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An early 20th century Irish Halloween mask (a “rhymer” or a “vizor”) displayed at the Museum of Country Life.

Halloween costumes are [3] Early costumes emphasized the pagan and gothic nature of the holiday, but by the 1930s costumes based on characters in mass media such as film, literature, and radio were popular. Halloween was originally promoted as a children’s holiday, and as a means of reining in the wicked and destructive behavior of teenagers. Early Halloween costumes were aimed at children in particular, but after the mid-20th century, as Halloween increasingly came to be celebrated by adults, the Halloween costume was worn by adults as much as children.


[edit] History of Halloween costumes

Although Halloween is often claimed to be a cultural descendant of the [6]

The holidays of [9]

While wearing costumes at Halloween is recorded in Scotland in 1895, there is little evidence of costumes in England, Ireland, or the United States prior to 1900, however.[3] Early Halloween costumes emphasized the pagan and gothic nature of Halloween, and were aimed primarily at children. Costumes were also made at home, or using items (such as make-up) which could be purchased and utilized to create a costume. But in the 1930s, A.S. Fishbach, Ben Cooper, Inc., and other firms began mass-producing Halloween costumes for sale in stores as trick-or-treating became popular in North America.

Halloween costumes are often designed to imitate supernatural and scary beings. Costumes are traditionally those of monsters such as vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts,[10] skeletons, witches, goblins, trolls, devils, etc. or in more recent years such science fiction-inspired characters as aliens and superheroes. There are also costumes of pop culture figures like presidents, athletes, celebrities, or characters in film, television, literature, etc. Another popular trend is for women (and in some cases, men) to use Halloween as an excuse to wear sexy or revealing costumes, showing off more skin than would be socially acceptable otherwise. Young girls also often dress as entirely non-scary characters at Halloween, including princesses, fairies, angels, farm animals and flowers.

Halloween costume parties generally fall on or around October 31, often falling on the Friday or Saturday prior to Halloween.

[edit] Economics of Halloween costumes


[edit] Politics of Halloween costumes

Halloween costumes in the contemporary Western world sometimes depict people and things from present times and are sometimes read in terms of their political and cultural significance. Halloween costumes are sometimes denounced for [17]

[edit] References

  1. ^ “Halloween,” 2008, p. 63-64.
  2. ^ Addis, November 1895, p. 540-543.
  3. ^ b Dunwich, 2007, p. 17.
  4. ^ Northrup, 1993, p. 37-39.
  5. ^ Rogers, 2002, p. 24-26.
  6. ^ Rogers, p.76.
  7. ^ b Lherm, 2001, p. 194.
  8. ^ The first mention of Halloween in the United States was in 1849. Lherm, 2001, p. 199.
  9. ^ Lherm, 2001, p. 194-195, 204.
  10. ^ Rook, Dennis W. (Dec 1985). “The Ritual Dimension of Consumer Behavior”. Journal of Consumer Research (Univ. of Chicago Press) 12 (3): 251–264. Accessed November 14, 2010.
  11. ^ Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  12. ^ Grannis, Kathy; Scott Krugman (September 20, 2006). “As Halloween Shifts to Seasonal Celebration, Retailers Not Spooked by Surge in Spending”. National Retail Federation. Archived from the original on 2006-12-27. Retrieved 31 October 2006.
  13. ^ “Halloween – Retail Horror Story?”. Orlando Sentinel. October 29, 2009.
  14. ^ Richards, Terry (October 31, 2011). “The Economics of Halloween”. Veterans Today.
  15. ^ Kjerstin Johnson, “Don’t Mess Up When You Dress Up: Cultural Appropriation and Costumes“, Bitch magazine, 25 October 2011.
  16. ^ Lisa Wade, “Race-Themed Events at Colleges (Trigger Warning)“, Sociological Images, updated 11 October 2012.
  17. ^ Lipton, Eric (April 9, 2008). “Official Had Controversial Photos Deleted, Report Says”. New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-09.“The staff member who won the “most original costume” prize wore a dreadlock wig, what looked like a prison jumpsuit and black face paint. “I’m a Jamaican detainee from Krome — obviously, I’ve escaped,” the employee, referring to a detention center in Miami, announced to the judges…”

[edit] Bibliography

  • Addis, M.E. Leicester. “Allhallowtide.” Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly. 40:5 (November 1895).
  • Dunwich, Gerina. A Witch’s Halloween. Avon, Mass.: Adams Media, 2007.
  • “Halloween.” In Encyclopedia of the End: Mysterious Death in Fact, Fancy, Folklore, and More. Deborah Noyes, ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008.
  • Lherm, Adrien. “Halloween — A ‘Reinvented’ Holiday.” In Celebrating Ethnicity and Nation: American Festive Culture From the Revolution to the Early Twentieth Century. Geneviève Fabre,ed. New York: Berghahn Books, 2001.
  • Northrup, Lesley A. Women and Religious Ritual. Washington, D.C.: Pastoral Press, 1993.
  • Rogers, Nicholas. Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

[edit] Further reading

  • Galembo, Phyllis. Dressed for Thrills: 100 Years of Halloween Costumes and Masquerade. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002.

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