Costume Creeps

Photo courtesy of
These guys deserve a high score.

Photo courtesy of These guys deserve a high score.

Kevin Chiang, Photojournalist

What do children and adults have in common on Halloween night? Costumes, of course! They’re the most widely known tradition of Halloween, dating back far before the jack-o-lantern. But how many people really know how this spooky tradition got started?


The oldest ancestor of Halloween is the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, where people would dress up as monsters to ward off the spirits and souls of the dead on October 31 or November 1, which were believed to be days which were particularly prone to being haunted. However, from the 16th century onward, the festival involved what was called mumming and guising, where people went house to house in costume, singing songs in exchange for food. So like Christmas caroling, but in October. These practices were pretty prevalent in olden times, and in some places, the young dressed as members of the opposite sex.


All of that stuff, however, isn’t what we would call Halloween Costumes. The first recorded instance of Halloween was in 1911 in the U.S., where a local paper reported children “guising.”  Now, this was the Victorian era, where taking off your hat (in the case of men) or showing your ankles (in the case of women) was the equivalent of stripping in public. So only children were allowed to dress up for Halloween. And those costumes were sad. They emphasized the gothic, spooky nature of Halloween, and all the children had massive amounts of makeup on them to look “gloomy” enough. Eventually, after the end of the Victorian era, corporate America caught on to the popularity of Halloween and started mass producing Halloween costumes, marking the start of “real” Halloween costumes.


And costumes aren’t just for kids anymore. People of all ages get involved in dressing up for All Hallow’s Eve. At Yorba Linda High School, everyone, from the littlest freshman to the oldest teacher, was dressed up for the event. During lunch, the school hosted a costume party, and we got appearances from Zombies, Kim Kardashian and North West, Edward Scissorhands, Charlie Chaplin, and even Darth Vader. Among the most popular costumes was the duo of Emmet “Doc” Brown and Marty McFly, portrayed by David Lazenby and Joseph Patrick Balderas Dabu, respectively.  “Halloween’s a fun time,” said David. “I just like to dress up, have a little fun. It’s great to be able to wear [a costume] and act silly,” David said as his mad-scientist hair bobbed on his head. His favorite part of Halloween? That “no one will ask you why” you’re wearing whatever you’re wearing.”


So pull on a suit, or dress, or cloak, or whatever. Make sure to wear a costume the one time of year no one will look funny at you for dressing like Johnny Depp.