The Everlasting Appeal of Halloween

December 30, 2010 by  
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The Everlasting Appeal of Halloween

The Everlasting Appeal of Halloween


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The Everlasting Appeal of Halloween

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Masks were originally worn on Halloween to copy the images of evil spirits, or placate them. As old as the festival is, dating back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, the costume aspect did not really become popular until the 1930s, when the first mass-produced costumes went on sale in American shops. Nowadays people spend masses on their fancy dress outfits, with .96 billion being spent on outfits in the United States alone in 2006. For many years these costumes were all based around the traditional theme of evil spirits, with people generally dressing up as witches, skeletons, ghosts and vampires.

Of course, these traditional costumes are starting to become less and less popular – something rather strange after so many years of enduring popularity. It shows a natural progression and a slight change in the values of Halloween. Far from being the preserve of little children looking to dress up as beasts and their favourite cartoon characters, it has now become equally popular among adults, with many women (and indeed men) using the opportunity to flash the flesh and dress up in revealing outfits. Naturally, it is very difficult to make a witch or a ghost costume sexy, so it is understandable why these outfits aren’t so popular now.

Vampire costumes, however, are probably one of the most popular choices for Halloween costumes these days, in no small part due to the rabid devotion of hundreds of thousands of fans of the Twilight books and films. Of course, these vampire outfits are totally different to the cape-and-eveningwear get-up of Dracula. Vampire costumes nowadays mainly consist of flash designer gear and a haughty attitude.

Aside from these Halloween costumes, the most popular outfits these days seem to be characters from television shows and films. These are instantly recognisable and iconic, making them the easiest way to look cool, while getting into the spirit of Halloween. This sort of thing also informs other peoples’ choices of costumes, with many people dressing up as people in the news. Obviously, dressing as characters from history can depend on personal taste – for example, dressing as Hitler or in a Nazi costume could be considered in very bad taste. However, dressing up as characters from recent events is generally though to be allowed. In 2009 one of the most popular costumes was Bernard Madoff, the disgraced stockbroker, while another was Sarah Palin, the colourful Republican vice-presidential candidate.

So these days Halloween has grown from being the preserve of children and trick or treaters to an annual event that people of all ages enjoy. There may have been something of a deviation from the innocent days of dressing up as witches, ghosts and monsters, with costumes maturing into skimpy catwoman costumes and Jack Sparrow get-ups. However, this is just indicative of the enduring appeal of the event and its importance to our culture. Far from being just a multi-billion dollar industry, it is an eagerly-anticipated opportunity for everyone to let their hair down, dress up and have a great time.

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