Halloween is nearly coming. It’s an annual holiday held each year on October 31. It’s a fun time for us to throw in big Halloween parties, enjoy Halloween spice pumpkin cookies and look for the best Halloween gift for your loved ones. It’s a great chance for kids and adults to dress up in ridiculous and spooky outfits and storm the streets.
Although it’s considered one of the best parts of Halloween you probably don’t know why do we dress up for Halloween. In this post, we will make you clear about the reasons why do we dress up for Halloween.
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Why do we dress up for Halloween?
Keep scrolling down to read the reasons why do we dress up for Halloween.
There’s no one explanation for how Halloween costumes started. Like the holiday itself, the habit of dressing up is the result of a combination of traditions from over the world.
Many theories say that the tradition has some basis in the Celtic festival of Samhain. Samhain marked the end of summer, the conclusion of the harvest, was also the Celtic new year, and the beginning of the dark and deadly season of winter.
The Celts believed that on the night before the New Year, the boundary between the living and death was at its thinnest, which made the ghosts come back to the earth on Halloween and made visible to humankind. That’s why Halloween decors tend to be a bit haunting in nature. People are often afraid of ghosts, so what we needed to do to ward them off?
To protect themselves from the evil spirits that might come up during Samhain, Celtic people wore animal skin costumes. They hoped to hide from evil spirits who might bring them misfortune. They believed that if they looked like a fellow spirit, it would be safer to go outside.
During Samhain, Celtic people gave food as a way to ward off the ghosts. In the Middle Ages on the ever of All Saints’ Day, poor people would go “souling,” visiting houses, and praying for the family’s dead to trade for food, called “soul cakes.”
Later, a variant of “souling” named “guising” appeared in Scotland, where kids dressed up and asked neighbors for food or money to trade for a song or poem. Scottish and Irish brought that tradition to America, where it later transformed into what we now know as trick-or-treating. While traditions varied, there was one thing for sure- the holiday was about spirits, so the Halloween costumes ran parallel with that idea.
Halloween Costume Development
Costumes started to transform into what they are now back in the ’20s, thanks to businesses like Collegeville Flag and Manufacturing Company. The business realized that Halloween costumes could be anything we imagined, not just spooky things.
Around that same time, H. Halpern Company came up with a similar idea and began searching for licensing rights for favorite cartoon characters at that time. The man who supposedly changed the game is named Ben Cooper: He strived to license characters well before they grew big. By 1960, he became the king of Halloween, and all pop culture-related costumes hit shelves quicker than you could think, all thanks to him.
Due in no small part to the Cooper family’s innovation, Halloween costumes became an accessible and even essential part of holiday festivities.
Today, Halloween costumes are large businesses. According to The National Retail Federation, Americans will spend roughly $3.2 billion on costumes in 2019 (of that, appropriately half a billion will spend on costuming pets).
While there is a broad selection of Halloween costumes in the modern-day, the most common is still the traditional costumes associated with the Halloween festival of Samhain.
Witches are the most popular outfits purchased by adults, followed closely by vampires, skeletons, cats, and other animals.
Since the 1980s, TV characters, celebrities, and well-known singers are among the costumes that dressed up on Halloween.
Nowadays, people tend to wear any kind of costume for Halloween celebrations, and thousands of people wear characters or objects which are in no way associated with the ancient Samhain traditions.
Fun Facts About Halloween
Here are 4 Halloween fun facts that will surprise you.
Now Halloween is the second biggest commercial holiday in the country.
The largest commercial holiday in the country is Christmas, followed by Halloween. According to National Retail Federation, customers spent about $9 billion on Halloween in 2019. Spending decreased a bit in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Americans still forked more than $8 billion overall or an average of $92 per person.
Most Americans invest in candy, decorations, and costumes.
When it comes to Halloween, where money do we spend on it? The biggest share is candy, with 95 percent placing it in their carts, 75 percent planning on purchasing decorations, and followed by 65 percent buying for costumes. In general, Americans spent an average of $1,048 on winter holidays in 2019.
Some Halloween rituals are used to find a husband.
During the 18th century, single women came up with Halloween traditions that supposedly help them find a perfect match. According to History.com, ladies would throw apple peels over their shoulders, with the hope of seeing their future husband’s initials in the pattern when they grounded. They even used to stand in a dark room, taking a candle in front of a mirror to seek for their future husband’s face to come up in the mirror.
Princesses and superheroes rank as the most favorite kids’ costumes.
According to the National Retail Federation, the most popular Halloween costume for adults is witches. In 2019, the most common costume for dogs was a pumpkin.
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Hopefully, this post helps you know why do we dress up for Halloween. For more fun Halloween traditions or the reasons why pumpkin is used on Halloween, check out our Halloween guide. If you find the post on why do we dress up for Halloween useful, don’t hesitate to share it with your friends and family members.