See how people dressed up for Halloween through the decades

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Evolution of Halloween costumes over the decades
Evolution of Halloween costumes over the decades

"What are you going to be this year for Halloween?" Uttered every October, the question brings endless possibilities, with devout Halloween enthusiasts utilizing all their creative fortitude and discretionary income to craft a costume of pure, horror-filled delight. But elaborate Halloween costumes aren't something that have just popped up in recent years, the spooky tradition hearkens back to the 1800s.

From ornately-decorated costumes full of color and pizazz to simple bed sheets with holes cut out for eyes, these Halloween costumes show us just how much our spooky fashion has evolved and how much it's remained the same over the years.


Cabinet photograph of a young woman and five boys in full Halloween costume, Lexington, Oklahoma, circa 1890.
Transcendental Graphics/Getty


Portrait of theatre perfomers dressed up, circa 1900s.
PYMCA/UIG via Getty


A 'coven of witches' line up for a Halloween portrait dressed in festive witch hats and improvised costumes, circa 1910, United States.


October 1922: An apple bobbing game at a Halloween costume party.
Topical Press Agency/Getty


Three girls amuse each other with their masked costumes as they prepare for Halloween festivities in the College Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, 1929.
Cincinnati Museum Center/Getty


October 10, 1930: The Hon Mrs Roland Cubitt dressed as 'Three Candles' in a costume made by L & H Nathan Ltd, for the "Pageant Of The Superstitions" in London.


Circa 1935: A costumed woman shakes hands with a life-sized Halloween skeleton decoration hanging on a wall. A paper jack-o'-lantern sits on the floor.
Hulton Archive/Getty


Circa 1940: Four kids join in the fun at a Halloween party in New York City.


Children in costumes arriving at a Halloween party, USA, circa 1955. A sign on the door warns "Beware Ghosts are within!"
Joe Clark/Hulton Archive/Getty


Portrait of three people in Halloween costumes as they pose behind a carved pumpkin, 1965.


Oct 1969: Kids trying on costumes that will be for sale at the Secrest Elementary School carnival in Arvada, Colo.
The Denver Post via Getty


Children wearing Halloween costumes stand in front of a woman's door, trick-or-treating, circa 1975.


October 31, 1978: Nurses from the University of Colorado newborn nursery collect contributions from costumed Halloween night customers at a bar in Denver.
The Denver Post via Getty


Night-time view of participants in elaborate costumes during the annual Halloween Parade, New York, New York, late 1970s or early 1980s.
Anthony Barboza/Getty


Spiderwoman-costumed Minnie Mouse welcomes a Japanese girl during Tokyo Disneyland's Happy Halloween Pumpkin Parade on October 31, 1997.
Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty


A child in a pumpkin outfit sitting next to a pumpkin, Halloween, United Kingdom, 2000s.
UIG via Getty


Stylist Hannah Bhuiya and jeweller Lara Bohinc at the 3rd annual Browns Focus Halloween Party held at the Shepherd's Bush Pavilion, London on October 30, 2009.
Dominic O'Neill/Photoshot/Getty

PHOTOS: Vintage Halloween costumes through the decades