Halloween costumes in the contemporary Western world sometimes depict people and things from present times and are sometimes read in terms of their political and cultural significance. Halloween costumes are sometimes denounced for cultural appropriation when they uncritically use stereotypical representations of other groups of people.[38][39] Immigration and Customs Enforcement Secretary Julie Myers was involved in a scandal when she awarded "Best Costume" at the ICE Halloween party to an 'escaped Jamaican prisoner' dressed in dreadlocks and blackface.[40]
This Halloween, make sure you stay on trend with all the hottest and most popular Halloween costume ideas! We have brand new 2019 costumes based on your favorite pop culture events and movies from this year including NASA astronauts, llamas, the Avengers, sloths, Game of Thrones, and even the Descendants 3 costumes! Check out our 2019 costume guide down below for great Halloween costume ideas!

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^ 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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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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This makes a perfect couples costume! Start with a piece of yellow presentation board and use silver and black paint and washi tape to make it look like a taxi. You can even print a faux license plate onto paper to tape to the front of it. Then, use velcro strips to make straps that can go around your necks and easily detach when you need them to. Accessorize with a boom box and microphone, and you're done!

[32] Researchers conducted a survey for the National Retail Federation in the United States and found that 53.3 percent of consumers planned to buy a costume for Halloween 2005, spending $38.11 on average (up $10 from the year before). They were also expected to spend $4.96 billion in 2006, up significantly from just $3.3 billion the previous year.[33] The troubled economy has caused many Americans to cut back on Halloween spending. In 2009, the National Retail Federation anticipated that American households would decrease Halloween spending by as much as 15% to $56.31.[34] In 2013, Americans spent an estimated $6.9 billion to celebrate Halloween, including a predicted $2.6 billion on costumes (with more spent on adult costumes than for children's costumes) and $330 million on pet costumes.[35][36] In 2017 it was estimated that Americans would spend $9.1 billion on Halloween merchandise with $3.4 billion of that being on spend on Halloween costumes.[37]
Some characters tend to have costumes that follow a trend. For example, Coach Z often dresses up as a rap or hip-hop icon, The Cheat usually dresses up as a cartoon character, The Poopsmith typically dresses up as a science fiction character, The King of Town normally dresses up as a food mascot, and Marzipan occasionally dresses up as a (often male) musician. Other characters tend to dress up as something that suits their body type, though not necessarily their personality.

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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]
Looking for Costume Ideas? If you're having a difficult time deciding what you want to be for Halloween - or anytime of year - check out our HALLOWEEN COSTUME IDEAS section where we have assembled more than 300 costume ideas segmented into 15 different categories to help with your search. Of course you'll also find the latest costumes from your favorite movies. If you're interested in making your own DIY Halloween costume, we can help there too! Our collection of over 60 DIY How-To-Videos are a wealth of knowledge to help you make the most of your Halloween costume this year.
Before you rush to the craft store or start filling up your Amazon cart, take a closer look at what you already own because most of these homemade costume ideas, which range in price, theme, and crafting ability, are simply an elevated version of what you have hanging in your closet. With minimal effort and materials, you can easily throw together these last-minute looks to bring color, puns, and pop culture to the party. That makes these genius, party-ready picks the best costumes ever, right? Your wallet and Instagram feed vote yes.

halloween costumes

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