Early Halloween costumes were designed to protect the wearers from the dead and were designed to be as gruesome as possible. These costumes were always home-made and people would spend a great deal of time perfecting theirs in time for Halloween.
These Halloween costumes were not pleasant to look at as they were intended to scare spirits away. Most of these costumes were made from animal skins and many would wear animal heads as masks. Others would simply fashion masks from plants, skins and trees and make them look as evil as possible. This gruesome Halloween traditional remained even when the Romans occupied parts of Great Britain and other areas where the Celts lived.
The Romans also celebrated two festivals around the time of Halloween - one was to remember the dead and the other was to celebrate the Roman goddess of the trees. The Romans were very keen on wearing costumes during celebrations and their costumes for these festivals were incredibly elaborate.
Popular Early Halloween Costumes
Throughout history, there were different Halloween traditions in various parts of England, Scotland and Wales regarding the traditional of Halloween costumes which include:
Irish Halloween costumes - here a man who was dressed in white robes with a wooden horse's head in his hand would lead a group of people who were also dressed up. They would proceed through villages until they had reached an area set out for a feast.
Scottish Halloween costumes - these costumes centered around people dressing up as beggars who were also known as skelkets. The aim of these costumes was to haunt people's imaginations and terrify them.
Welsh Halloween costumes - early Welsh costumes were quite simple and would often involve girls dressing as boys and vice versa.
Costumes In The 1930s
By the 1930s the tradition of dressing in costumes had spread to America and early Halloween costumes were commonplace. While people would still create their own costumes at home there was now a large market for commercially made Halloween costumes.