On Halloween night children would dress up in scary costumes and go house to house. Phrases like "Help the Halloween Party" and "Trick or Treat" were the cries to be heard at each door. Halloween beliefs, customs, and costumes migrated with the first wave of Irish and Scottish immigrants that arrived in the United States in the 18th century. These immigrants came from Ireland and Scotland.
Immigrants from Ireland who were escaping a potato famine brought the tradition of Halloween to the United States in the 1840s. At that time, some of the most popular pranks in New England consisted of knocking down outhouses and removing fence gates off their hinges.
According to Irish folklore, Samhain was a time when the boundaries between our world and the Otherworld — the place where the souls of the deceased and other spirits reside — were at their most porous or even completely disintegrated. By the time the year 1500 rolled around, it can be said for certain that two customs were already in place: guising and mumming. Mumming is a term that refers to the plays performed by mummers. These plays often contain some type of conflict and the resurrection of a figure who has previously died. Guising was an early version of trick-or-treating that included youngsters dressing up in costumes and going door to door in search of presents like food or money. Some sources link the practice of guising to the belief that dressing up as monsters or spirits would protect one from them if they crossed over from Otherworld. It was believed that these beings would avoid humans because they wouldn't be able to tell humans apart from other types of creatures if they wore masks or costumes.
Around the start of the nineteenth century, Halloween began to transition into being seen as a holiday that was more appropriate for the whole family.
Following the adoption of trick-or-treating and neighborhood Halloween parades throughout the United States, it was only a matter of time before commercial enterprises began to capitalize on the holiday's growing popularity. During World War I, greeting cards with Halloween imagery first became available. In 1919, Ruth Edna Kelley published her seminal work titled The Book of Hallowe'en, which brought together a lot of the history and folklore of Halloween for the first time in one place. The following year, the Beistle Company began to introduce a range of Halloween decorations, such as paper skeletons. Today, Halloween is celebrated all over the world. During this same time period, new archetypes for Halloween costumes started to emerge, such as children dressing up as soldiers, police officers, or firefighters. In the 1930s, the A.S. Fishbach, Inc. firm raised the bar by being the first to get a license from Walt Disney to manufacture costumes based on characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
Where did the custom of dressing up in costumes for Halloween originate?
The custom dates back to the ancient Celtic holiday known as Samhain, during which time people lit bonfires and dressed up in costumes in an effort to fend off spirits. Pope Gregory III, who reigned in the seventh century, established November 1 as the day on which all saints are honored.
Who was the one who created the very first Halloween costume?
It is thought that the first reference to dressing up for Halloween occurred in Scotland in 1585; however, it is most probable that the practice was a common occurrence before that time. The ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain is credited with being the origin of the custom of dressing up in costumes. During this time, people would burn bonfires and dress up in costumes in order to fend off spirits.
This tradition of wearing Halloween costumes also dates back to Celtic times. On the special night when the living and the dead were at their closest, the Celtic Druids would dress up in elaborate costumes to disguise themselves as spirits and devils in case they encountered other devils and spirits during the night. By disguising they hoped that they would be able to avoid being carried away at the end of the night. This explains why witches, goblins, and ghosts remain the most popular choices for costumes.
When did people in the United States first start dressing up for Halloween?
As trick-or-treating gained popularity throughout North America in the 1930s, a number of companies, including A.S. Fishbach and Ben Cooper, Inc., started mass-producing Halloween costumes for retail sale. These costumes could be found in shops. At Halloween, people often dress up as monsters and otherworldly creatures to scare their friends.