Halloween is celebrated annually on October 31, which this year falls on a Tuesday. The holiday is a celebration of everything creepy, scary, and fun in the autumn season. One of its most well-known traditions is wearing a costume, for trick-or-treating, parties, or simply for fun. But where does this essential part of Halloween come from?
Wearing Halloween costumes has its roots in the very origins of the holiday. The practice of Halloween is derived from several sources, chief among them being centuries-old Celtic winter festivals from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, such as Samhain, combined with the archaic Christian holidays All Saints Day and All Hallow’s Eve: both observances mark the night when the souls of the dead could return to the world of the living. To ward off or hide from the spirits, people would dress up in costumes and masks imitating them.
Festivities like these also gave rise to the tradition of trick-or-treating, in which dressing up in costume to go door to door for candy isn’t technically required but is considered a major part of the fun. Costume parties are also a Halloween staple for children and adults alike. Some even hold contests with prizes for the best costume.
In keeping with the holiday’s roots, Halloween costumes are traditionally something scary, such as ghosts, skeletons, classic monsters like vampires or werewolves, or characters from horror movies. However, this is not a hard and fast rule: celebrants are encouraged to be creative in their costume choices, whether they buy costumes, make them at home, or just throw something together from whatever they have in their closet.
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