The Horror Of Halloween Costumes
Just like fashion has evolved throughout history, so too have Halloween costumes. Over the years, the costumes have transitioned from truly frightening, homemade disguises to ward off bad spirits, to costumes that were often mass-produced. The costumes of the past were often truly ghoulish rather than just horror-inspired. And when the pictures of the old costumes are colorized, the horror becomes more alive.
The early costumes reflect the history of the holiday itself. It started with a Celtic festival, Samhain. For Samhain, people lit bonfires and donned costumes to keep ghosts away. Samhain marked the end of summer and the return of the darkness of winter. They believed that during Samhain, the gods were visible to mankind and ghosts, faeries and imps roamed freely. This, of course, allowed for supernatural mischief. To ward off that mischief, some gave treats to the gods and others dressed in disguises to keep the spirits from mistaking them for a fellow spirit. Some wore all white, while others dressed up as animals. They built bonfires and made sacrifices, both plant and animal, to the gods. In 9th century Wales, boys and girls dressed up as the opposite gender and went out on the 9th century version of trick-or-treating.