Back in the day, kids just did not get the concept of masks and how to match them up to a costume. Actually, some of them bypassed the masks all together and fashioned creepy Halloween costumes out of sheets that ended up looking like assorted versions of Ku Klux Klan inspired animals and public figures. Like a Ku Klux Klown. That kind of thing used to happen on the reg.
While going out at Halloween anymore is all about hipster Halloween costumes, meme play, and terrifying Halloween masks you can buy at the Halloween store, there was a time when kids had some newspaper, glue, and paint to fashion a great Halloween costume, and they did their best with these meagre supplies, which was not that great.
Let’s learn a thing or two about the history of the Halloween costume…
The celebration honored the end of light and the beginning of coldness and darkness…
Celtic people thought the boundary between the spirit and living world was weak on this night.
So evil spirits would be released into the world, terrorizing humanity…
The masks would then not only scare away evil spirits…
But would prevent the spirits from entering homes.
The masks would conceal their identities, so the spirits wouldn’t know who they are.
So the original act of dressing up for Halloween was an act of disguise mastery!
Fun fact: If you wear your clothes inside out and walk backwards, you will see a witch at midnight!
Or at least that’s what they believed back then.
During the Renaissance in Italy, people would wear Halloween masks…
But mostly at masquerade balls.
And even then it was to conceal the identities of the upper class.
The Italian aristocrats wouldn’t wear insanely scary masks, though.
They would usually have jewels, diamonds and the masks would be generally very fancy.
So there’s a reason it didn’t all start out as an adorable holiday for kids.
Hence these terrifying costumes on young kids. Think about it, cartoons weren’t around yet.
‘Samhainphobia’ is the word for the ‘fear of Halloween’.
Because of course it has a name.
Look at these people
Everyone looked like serial killers.
You can see why everyone would be scared of the holiday.
I mean imagine these kids waiting in your house as you turn on the light.
Fun Fact: On Halloween, children are more than twice as likely to get hit by cars.
Given how terrifying they used to look, maybe there was a reason for that.
Anyway, with the advent of TV, and other visual media, people have gotten less terrifying
I mean at least people are a lot less scary these days. But back to the history…
Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years
Salem, Massachusetts is the self-proclaimed Halloween capital of the world.
Originally America hated the holiday.
Remember what we used to do to witches?
The whole black cats thing exists cause they were once thought to be a witch’s familiars who protected their powers.
But then the potato famine happened, sending the Irish here in droves.
And only then did the holiday start to gain traction. Thanks, The Irish!
It ended up helping the entire economy because it is now our 2nd biggest commercial holiday.
We spend well over $6 billion on Halloween each year. And that’s just on obvious stuff.
I wonder if they count the booze…
Or thrift shops…
Or pumpkin spice flavored stuff…
Or funeral costs for all those kids…
The traditions go waaaaay back too. Like, Roman times way back…
When The Romans invaded the Irish in 1st Century, AD, they combined Samhain…
With two of THEIR holidays.
One of which honored their goddess Pomona, whose symbol was fruit trees, most commonly represented at the time by…
Orange and black are Halloween colors because Orange = Harvest and Black = Darkness
It’s kind of a lame goth-kid explanation for the colors, but people thought a lot dumber things about Halloween over the years…
Jack-O-Lanterns = people thinking that spirits scary enough to be afraid of would be spooked by pumpkins
There’s also an old legend that some guy named Jack tricked the devil…
… so he was forbidden entry to heaven AND hell.
So now he has to wander the earth forever, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths (everybody walked everywhere back then).
Owls are a Halloween thing because people people in Europe also thought THOSE were witches
Apparently if you heard an owl’s call, someone nearby’s death was imminent.
Trick-or-treating was another Celtic tradition the Irish brought over.