Halloween Countdown with Molly Weir: Day 13

Oct. 13
Have you ever wondered why we dress up in costumes on Halloween and where this came from? In this article, I will answer that question.

Before we dive into why we wear costumes on Halloween you need to understand a little bit about the origin of Halloween itself. The Celts were people who lived 2,000 years ago in Ireland and England. They used to mark the end of summer and the harvest with a festival. People would eat, dance and celebrate a great harvest season, this celebration was called Samhain. During Samhain, the people would wear costumes made from animal skin and heads. Some people believe this was due to the Celts wanting to hide their faces. They believed that if they hide their faces it would be easier to connect to spirits and ask them for a safe winter.  

With that in mind, in the 15th century children would visit houses singing songs, reciting poems or stories to get money, fruit and cakes from housewives. However, the costumes were not made out of animal skin and heads but were made out of cloth.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Halloween became very popular in North America. They decided that they wanted to keep as true to the holiday as they could, so they adapted the idea of costumes, however, they twisted the meanings to fit that society. 

Today, American people spend an average of $1.5 billion on costumes for all ages. Even with the variety of modern costumes, many people still wear an altered version of traditional costumes from the Samhain festival. 

The most popular adult costumes are witches, vampires, skeletons, cats and other animals. However, famous celebrity costumes are not far behind on the list. 

No matter the origins of Halloween, it is a fun tradition for people of all ages and allows for one night to be someone different. Until next time, have a spooky day!

19th century costumes courtesy of Wikimedia.

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