According to History.com the beginning of wearing costumes for Halloween can be dated back to the Celts. During the festival of Samhain it was believed that ghosts would return to earth. To celebrate the event the Druids built bonfires and burned crops and animals for sacrifice to the spirits. During their celebration they would wear costumes that were made from animal heads and skin. To avoid being recognized by their ghostly family members, these masks were often worn.
Later on in history rather than dressing in animal skins and heads, the Christians decided to honor the dead and wear costumes such as angels, saints and devils. While its timing varied from culture to culture, it also varied by name. In time the All Saints Day celebration become known as All Hallows Eve and later on Halloween.
When Halloween came to Maryland and the other colonies, the diverse beliefs from each ethnic group melded together forming what were referred to as play parties, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, dance and sing in celebration of the dead. In the 19th century new immigrants helped to make Halloween popular nationally. Originally more of a supernatural and superstitious celebration, the day became more a holiday for the colonies and states.
Through the history that started the tradition, it has now grown to a cultural phenomenon. Though dressing up as witches, ghouls, angels and devils is still done today, now even more types of costumes have become popular. The costumes of clowns, angry birds, mermaids, mythological gods and goddesses, and pumpkins are also commonly worn. Or for the adults more risqué costumes such as bartenders, French maids, or flappers are available.
To add to the fun and tradition of dressing up for Halloween there are often events such as costume contests hosted by night clubs, casinos or radio stations. In some cases school activities or church events offer costume contests as well.
As each generation continues on, the spirit of Halloween and dressing up in costumes goes on and grows. While nowadays children and adults dress up in costumes for fun and not to avoid evil spirits the generations continue to have fun with it and show off their creativity and culture. For this year and every year on, pop culture icons such as Freddy Kruger, Michael Myers, and the Scream mask will live on as well.
Costumes at one point in history were meant to keep the spirits away, but now it is all about having fun, trick or treating, and having a good time with friends and family alike. No matter what the costume is during the season, Halloween is a great season and dressing up can be fun. Happy Halloween.