Halloween Costumes 101


Did you know that people have been dressing up for Halloween for around 2,000 years? Historians think that the ancient Celts, who founded many of the Halloween traditions we still practice today, would dress in costume on the night of Oct. 31 to disguise themselves from spirits of the dead roaming around. These days, most of us probably aren’t worried about encountering unfriendly ghosts on Halloween night, but picking the perfect costume is still of utmost importance.

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Kids’ Costumes

For kids, Halloween costumes go hand-in-hand with trick-or-treating. Since boys and girls will probably be walking around in their costumes all night, parents should keep safety in mind when helping them pick one out. Adorable superheroes and fairy princess should make sure that their capes and dresses aren’t dragging along the ground. Any fancy footwear should also fit well and not pose any tripping hazards. In addition, masks can block visibility, so makeup might be a safer alternative.

This year, the National Retail Federation predicts that the five most popular kids’ Halloween costumes will be princess, witch, Spider Man, pirate and pumpkin. Other classic characters such as cowboys, rock stars, athletes and animals are also cute choices.

Adult Costumes

Dressing up isn’t just for kids, however. More than 50 million American adults donned Halloween costumes in 2008. When selecting a costume, older partygoers should first consider where they’ll be wearing it. Halloween shindigs in a family or work atmosphere call for more all-ages outfits like famers and friendly witches. But if you’re heading to an adults-only fiesta, the sky’s the limit.

If you’re interested in a unique Halloween getup, you might want to stay away from the most popular adult costumes. For 2009, those are witches, vampires, clowns, pirates and wenches. Can’t think of anything interesting to be? Maybe a personality from a favorite movie, television show or band could be fun to dress up as. Or, perhaps political figures, famous couples or supernatural creatures (zombies, ghosts, etc.) are more up your alley.

Once you’ve come up with the right Halloween costume idea, think of ways to personalize it. Wigs, makeup, fake teeth and prosthetics can all transform a generic dress up outfit into a one-of-a-kind costume. Just don’t get spooked about being creative and get into the true spirit of Halloween!


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