What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “Halloween?” What about when you read it? What about when you think it, what’s your very next thought? What does Halloween and an average play have in common?
The answer to all those questions is “costumes,” if your mind is playing into my ledes. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, that’s our topic today. Time to learn about how to not be yourself.
Depending on who you ask, Halloween costumes may have their origins at one of two very different times. For the ease of organization, I’m going to ignore the disagreement and just go with the older one.
This theory puts the origins of costumes back with our old friend samhain. During the festival, which was ripe with spirit activity, people would don animal skins to confuse said spirits because for some reason they really didn’t like to possess animals.
Sometime after, in the 15th century costumes got invented a second time, this time appearing in accordance with “guising.” This practice involved throwing on a costume and going door to door to ask for food, which is pretty much just being a bum with a bit more style and creativity.
In the 1800s, Guising made its way to the United States and got the ball rolling on Halloween costumes. Before anyone knew it, mass produced costumes hit the shelves in the 1930s and people across the nation went door to door dressed as celebrities, movie characters, monsters, and pop culture icons. Little else happened in the evolution of costumes after that, quite frankly. Basically we took an engineer’s approach of “keep taking things away until you can’t any more.”