Although dressing up in costumes and begging door to door on or around the 31st of October goes back a few centuries, it appears our modern day trick or treating only took on its current form in the 1920s to 1930s. The top five most popular costumes of the time were ghosts, witches, devils, monsters and skeletons. Clown costumes seemed to be quite popular in the few photos I have come across too. The costumes of the time were almost always home-made with papier mache masks. Both children and adults would dress up in costumes. To me they seem almost creepier than modern day costumes. Here are some photos I found of early costumes:
When I was a child growing up in the 70s and 80s I remember there being a mixture of home-made and store bought costumes. I can remember favouring popular characters of the time. I do not remember many adults (aside from my parents) dressing up in costumes for Halloween. The best home-made costume I ever had was when my mother made me into Smurfette. The worst store bought costume I ever had was that of Apple Dumpling from Strawberry Shortcake, it was one of those horrid plastic costumes with the awful plastic masks just like the one in the picture below. I loved it right up until the strings got knotted at the back and I couldn’t get out of it.
Here are some more Halloween costumes from around the time of my youth:
Now days anything goes for Halloween costumes from home-made to store bought and anything in between. Popular characters from books, films and television as well as traditional spooky costumes all show up. Adults seem to be just as into it as kids and they sometimes have the most fantastic costumes. Make-up effects now look like they have been done by movie studios, contact lens change the way eyes look and vampire fangs that can really stick on your teeth (I have some) all of these make for pretty convincing monsters.
Here is a video highlighting the modern trends from last years NYC parade (it is a long one):
Oh and did I mention Halloween isn’t just for people anymore?
So what are you going to be for Halloween this year?