^ Cleene, Marcel. Compendium of Symbolic and Ritual Plants in Europe. Man & Culture, 2002. p.108. Quote: "Soul cakes were small cakes baked as food for the deceased or offered for the salvation of their souls. They were therefore offered at funerals and feasts of the dead, laid on graves, or given to the poor as representatives of the dead. The baking of these soul cakes is a universal practice".

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The custom of guising at Halloween in North America is first recorded in 1911, where a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario reported children going "guising" around the neighborhood.[25] In 19th century America, Halloween was often celebrated with costume parades and "licentious revelries".[26] However, efforts were made to "domesticate" the festival to conform with Victorian era morality. Halloween was made into a private rather than public holiday, celebrations involving liquor and sensuality de-emphasized, and only children were expected to celebrate the festival.[27] Early Halloween costumes emphasized the gothic nature of Halloween, and were aimed primarily at children. Costumes were also made at home, or using items (such as make-up) which could be purchased and utilized to create a costume. But in the 1930s, A.S. Fishbach, Ben Cooper, Inc., and other firms began mass-producing Halloween costumes for sale in stores as trick-or-treating became popular in North America. Halloween costumes are often designed to imitate supernatural and scary beings. Costumes are traditionally those of monsters such as vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts,[28] skeletons, witches, goblins, trolls, devils, etc. or in more recent years such science fiction-inspired characters as aliens and superheroes. There are also costumes of pop culture figures like presidents, athletes, celebrities, or characters in film, television, literature, etc. Another popular trend is for women (and in some cases, men) to use Halloween as an excuse to wear sexy or revealing costumes, showing off more skin than would be socially acceptable otherwise.[29] Young girls also often dress as entirely non-scary characters at Halloween, including princesses, fairies, angels, cute animals and flowers.
From at least the 16th century,[5] the festival included mumming and guising,[6] which involved people going house-to-house in costume (or in disguise), usually reciting verses or songs in exchange for food.[6] It may have originally been a tradition whereby people impersonated the Aos Sí, or the souls of the dead, and received offerings on their behalf. Impersonating these beings, or wearing a disguise, was also believed to protect oneself from them.[7] It is suggested that the mummers and guisers "personify the old spirits of the winter, who demanded reward in exchange for good fortune".[8] F. Marian McNeill suggests the ancient pagan festival included people wearing masks or costumes to represent the spirits, and that faces were marked (or blackened) with ashes taken from the sacred bonfire.[5] In parts of southern Ireland, a man dressed as a Láir Bhán (white mare) led youths house-to-house reciting verses—some of which had pagan overtones—in exchange for food. If the household donated food it could expect good fortune from the 'Muck Olla'; not doing so would bring misfortune.[9] In 19th century Scotland, youths went house-to-house with masked, painted or blackened faces, often threatening to do mischief if they were not welcomed.[6] In parts of Wales, men went about dressed as fearsome beings called gwrachod,[6] while in some places, young people cross-dressed.[6] Elsewhere in Europe, mumming and costumes were part of other yearly festivals. However, in the Celtic-speaking regions they were "particularly appropriate to a night upon which supernatural beings were said to be abroad and could be imitated or warded off by human wanderers".[6] It has also been suggested that the wearing of Halloween costumes developed from the custom of souling, which was practised by Christians in parts of Western Europe from at least the 15th century.[10][11] At Allhallowtide, groups of poor people would go door-to-door, collecting soul cakes – either as representatives of the dead,[12] or in return for saying prayers for them.[13] One 19th century English writer said it "used to consist of parties of children, dressed up in fantastic costume, who went round to the farm houses and cottages, signing a song, and begging for cakes (spoken of as "Soal-cakes"), apples, money, or anything that the goodwives would give them".[14] The soulers typically asked for "mercy on all Christian souls for a soul cake".[15] The practice was mentioned by Shakespeare his play The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593).[16][17] Christian minister Prince Sorie Conteh wrote on the wearing of costumes: "It was traditionally believed that the souls of the departed wandered the earth until All Saints' Day, and All Hallows' Eve provided one last chance for the dead to gain vengeance on their enemies before moving to the next world. In order to avoid being recognised by any soul that might be seeking such vengeance, people would don masks or costumes to disguise their identities".[18] In the Middle Ages, statues and relics of martyred saints were paraded through the streets at Allhallowtide. Some churches who could not afford these things had people dress as saints instead.[19][20] Some believers continue the practice of dressing as saints, biblical figures, and reformers in Halloween celebrations today.[21] Many Christians in continental Europe, especially in France, believed that on Halloween "the dead of the churchyards rose for one wild, hideous carnival," known as the danse macabre, which has often been depicted in church decoration.[22] An article published by Christianity Today claimed the danse macabre was enacted at village pageants and at court masques, with people "dressing up as corpses from various strata of society", and suggested this was the origin of Halloween costume parties.[23][24]
Customer Service When it Matters. Nowadays you can buy a Halloween costume pretty much anywhere. The online world is filled with pop-up stores and one-off sellers who only sell costumes in October and then disappear. Or, in addition to selling Halloween merchandise they also sell cell phones, copiers and staplers. At Halloween Express, selling Halloween costumes is our core business. It's what we do and we do it year round! In fact we've been doing it since 1990. You might say we're experts at all things Halloween. If you have a question about an item you see on our website or have a request, our team of Halloween specialists are here to help. You can reach us by phone, email or even Live Chat. During the Halloween season we're open 7 days a week to assist you. You can place your order here online or you can give us a call. Our call center is staffed by knowledgeable personnel who know what they're talking about. And if we can't answer your question, we'll follow-up. After the sale we want you to be satisfied with your purchase. We understand problems occasionally occur with orders and deliveries. We also understand that sometimes customers change their mind. Our commitment is to provide the best, hassle-free resolution we can. Simply put, if you purchase an item online on this website and are not satisfied with your purchase, you can return the item to us within 30 days for a refund. While we have a liberal return policy, there are some limitations so we encourage customers to make sure they review the details of our return policy here on our site.
At Halloween Express we stock more costumes in more sizes and more styles than anyone for Halloween but as one of the largest costume retailers in the country, we also offer costumes, accessories and party supplies for virtually every holiday or event you can imagine and we do it year round. In fact, no matter the holiday or event, we stock the unique and hard to find costumes, props and decorations in styles and sizes no one else has. That's why you'll find all of the latest styles and hard to find costumes and accessories right here in one place.
Halloween costumes are costumes worn on or around Halloween, a festival which falls on October 31. An early reference to wearing costumes at Halloween comes from Scotland in 1585, but they may pre-date this. There are many references to the custom during the 18th and 19th centuries in the Celtic countries of Scotland, Ireland, Mann and Wales. It has been suggested that the custom comes from the Celtic festivals of Samhain and Calan Gaeaf, or from the practise of "souling" during the Christian observance of Allhallowtide. Wearing costumes and mumming has long been associated with festivals at other times of the year, such as on Christmas.[1] Halloween costumes are traditionally based on frightening supernatural or folkloric beings. However, by the 1930s costumes based on characters in mass media such as film, literature, and radio were popular. Halloween costumes have tended to be worn mainly by young people, but since the mid-20th century they have been increasingly worn by adults also.

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A stealthy ninja, scurvy pirate, sexy peacock, or huggable bunny — or are you looking for a Halloween costume a bit off the beaten path, like a whoopee cushion? Whatever your budget, intent, and tastes, Party City has the right costume for you: hilarious group Halloween costumes so that you and your friends can celebrate as a united front, thousands upon thousands of Halloween costumes for kids and adults, carefully matched couples costumes sure to draw looks of admiration, and sexy Halloween costumes almost too hot to handle. Everything is priced to move — our Halloween costumes for 2018 are as easy on the pocketbook as they are on the eye. All costumes are tested for quality and safety; many come fully accessorized, creating an instant character straight out of the package. Other Halloween costumes give you a choice of wigs, wings, shoes, jewelry, and other optional accessories to purchase, allowing you to complete your character in a way that's uniquely your own. Our online selection of costumes for kids and adults is backed by over 800 retail stores across the United States and bolstered by nearly 35 years in the Halloween costume business. We invite you to comparison shop — the more you look the more you'll love our prices, our exceptional selection, and our friendly sales and customer service representatives. Questions about costume availability, material, and fit? To have your questions answered promptly and courteously, please visit your local Party City store, or contact one of our customer service representatives, who'll help you place an order or address concerns you may have about anything Halloween costume-related! 

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