The Origin of Halloween Costumes

The Origin of Halloween Costumes

Kaya Whittaker, Journalist

For centuries, people all over the world have celebrated Halloween by dressing up and trick-or-treating.  But, back when the holiday was first started, Halloween costumes had an entirely different purpose.  It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.  During this festival, people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.  Over time, the costumes have changed.  

2,000 years ago, when Samhain was first introduced, costumes were terrifying.  They gave off that eerie vibe that made you not want to approach the people in the costumes.  Some examples are matching creepy bags on their heads, Celtic face paint, and even a huge, poorly-carved pumpkin on their head.  For a long while, there were a variety of costumes.  Now you still have your scary costumes, but a lot more people are dressing up as nice things, such as a Disney princess or whatever they want to be when they grow up. 

My favorite Halloween costume that I’ve worn is when I was a vampire one year with my soccer friends.”

— Maddy Winter

Society as a whole has taken the original meaning of Halloween and Samhain and switched it up to be a fun holiday for kids to dress up.  Today, most people don’t even know how Halloween was started.

Freshman Gianni Orlando made his best guess on the reasoning behind the costumes we wear.

“Judging off of what I have learned about witches and stuff, I think it [Halloween costumes] was probably used to scare off ghosts or witches, or something like that,” said Orlando.

Props to him, as he wasn’t that far off.  But, most of the others interviewed hadn’t even thought about the potential reasoning behind Halloween, let alone gotten close to the real reason.

While it’s not exactly important information for everyday life, knowing about the holidays that people celebrate makes sense.  Children all across the world learn about Christmas, what happened, and why they celebrate it.  Why shouldn’t Halloween be given the same treatment?