Halloween costume trends follow cultural trends.
Before mass-produced costumes existed, people made their own witch and ghost outfits.
Popular costumes have included crepe paper aprons, blood and gore, and “sexy” versions of anything.
Ever since the late 19th century, Americans have been dressing up to celebrate Halloween. The costumes people choose to wear are always changing, influenced by popular culture and current events.
For example, bloody, gory Halloween costumes became popular in the 1980s following the release of the horror movie “Halloween,” and the sales of presidential masks have successfully predicted nearly every US election.
INSIDER spoke with Lesley Bannatyne, a Halloween expert who has authored several books about folklore and popular culture, to track popular Halloween costumes through the years.
From the 1870s to the 1890s, people mostly made their own witch and ghost costumes.
There were no store-bought costumes in the late 1800s, so people dressed up as classic symbols of the Halloween holiday with looks they made themselves.
“The things that appealed to people were the things that they loved about Halloween, so you saw a lot of handmade witch costumes and ghost costumes,” Bannatyne said.
Victorian America was also fascinated by the Far East.
Any costumes that were what people would have called “oriental” or “exotic,” such as Egyptian princesses, were popular choices in the late 19th century.
“Anything that was exotic and in another world, either on this planet or another dimension, was really interesting,” she said.
Mass-produced paper costumes and buckram masks hit stores between the 1900s and the 1920s.
Halloween became more popular at the turn of the century, celebrated in civic institutions such as schools and parades. Almost everyone was wearing mass-produced costumes made by Dennison Paper Company.
“Everybody looked the same, those were aprons with cats or little witches printed on them, or hats or paper masks. They were meant to be worn once and thrown away, like crepe paper,” Bannatyne explained. “That’s the first time Halloween got a standard color scheme — yellow, black, orange, purple — with paper products.
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Source:: Business Insider