The Origins of Halloween

Every year on October 31 little kids dress up as some of their favorite characters from books and horror movies and go door to door looking for candies.  It’s a great holiday and kids have a ton of fun creating their costumes.  It is not only children that get into the spirit of Halloween there are plenty adults that enjoy playing dress up for a day and heading to a party.  During all the revelry of Halloween how often do we stop and think about the origins of Halloween.  Here are how some of the traditions of Halloween got their start.

All Hallows Eve

The word Halloween is derived from All Hallows Eve, the day before All Hallows Day.  It is a pagan tradition that precedes Christianity, a Celtic festival that is called Samhain.  It was used to mark the end of the harvest season in the Celtic culture.  The holiday is also associated with the festival of the dead.  Many scholars believe that this holiday in the Celtic culture was the beginning of the New Year.  The holiday was celebrated with food, bonfires late into the night and people dressing up in animal skins.  Here is a look at the traditions of Samhain.

All Saints Day

In the 7th century Pope established the Catholic Feast of All Martyrs Day, later on Pope Gregory moved the festival to November 1.  Around the 9th century Christianity was spreading throughout the British Isles and the traditional Celtic holidays would blend with the Roman traditions and that would give us Halloween.  Both holidays had similar celebrations with food, bonfires and now the costumes would include those of the saints and martyrs.

Coming to America

In early Colonial America there was very little in the way of celebrating Halloween, it was more celebrated further south.  But as the European traditions combined with the Native Americans it was here that modern Halloween traditions began.  There were ghost stories and parties but it still wasn’t widely celebrated across the country.  In the latter half of the nineteenth century Irish immigrants started arriving after the potato famine and the brought the Halloween celebrations with them.

Trick or Treating

Americans borrowed from Irish traditions began to dress up and start going door to door asking for food or money and that practice eventually turned into trick or treating.  In the 19th century there was a move to make Halloween about community celebrations rather than about ghosts and goblins.  In was in this effort that Halloween lost most of its scary or grotesque nature, although that has made more of a comeback recently.

 

Adult Costume Ideas

Adults can have just as much fun at Halloween as kids do, dressing up in a costume and partying all night with friends is a great time.  You get to put together a fun outfit and try something crazy and exciting you wouldn’t do in everyday life.  Deciding what to wear is not always easy, you want something unique that fits your personality.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

Celebrities and Famous People

Dressing like the latest movie character or celebrity is always a popular choice but you probably won’t be the only person at the party with that costume on.  But you can still dress up as someone completely recognizable and stay unique.  You will definitely get noticed if you dress as someone that everyone knows but no one else is dressed as will grab some attention.  Here are some ideas, try Michael Myers from Austin Powers or one of Lady Gaga’s many costumes.  Lady Gaga has been capturing attention since her career started and you certainly have a lot to work with.  Here are some more celebrity costume ideas.

Homemade Costumes

There is no end to the number of fun costumes that you can get for Halloween and it only depends on your creativity.   If you really want to get creative then you need to get creative and make your own costume.  Homemade costume are always unique whereas store bought costumes sell dozens of the same costume.  When you make your own you’re creating a work of art.  If you are handy with a sewing machine then you can make absolute magic.

Women’s Costumes

There is no shortage of Halloween costumes for women, but they tend to run on the same theme…short and revealing.   You need to think outside of the box and open yourself up to some different ideas this year.  Give yourself more options than a nurse or Elvira.  You can check online for some really creative costumes.  Remember to check shipping information before you buy, you can end up with a beautiful Halloween costume that arrives at your door on November 2nd.

Most costumes need a bunch of accessories to go with it so double check to see if they are included or not.  That is sometimes where you end up spending the most money.  Your Glynda the Good Witch costume dress is fairly inexpensive but the tiara, gloves and the wand you need to make it work end up costing you a small fortune.  You make be able to get the accessories you need fairly inexpensively at your local Walmart.

Just remember Halloween is a time to get creative and think up something unique and you can be totally weird.  It is a great time to express yourself in a way that you can’t get away with the rest of the year.