Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Kenneth. Kenneth Wonders, “Why do people wear costumes on Halloween?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Kenneth!

It’s that time of year again! What time? It’s time to disguise yourself and run around your neighborhood, asking for free candy and treats. What are we talking about? Halloween, of course!

Do you enjoy dressing up for Halloween? What costumes have you worn in the past? Which one was your favorite? What do you want to dress as this year? Many people love to dress up for Halloween. But have you ever stopped to WONDER where this tradition came from?

Experts say it may have started with a Celtic festival called Samhain. This holiday fell on November 1 each year. Celtic groups considered it their New Year’s Day. They believed that the night before, spirits could travel from the afterlife into the living world. To protect themselves, children wore costumes to confuse the spirits. 

As the tradition spread to other parts of the world, it changed. The night before Samhain began to be called “All Hallow’s Eve.” Later, it became Halloween. Traditions like pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating were also added.

For a long time, all Halloween costumes were homemade. By the 1930s, though, many businesses saw Halloween as a chance to make money. Mass-produced costumes appeared for sale in stores. In addition to scary ghouls, costumes were based upon popular characters in movies and books.

For a long time, Halloween was mainly seen as a children’s holiday. Over time, though, adults came to love the holiday as much as children. It wasn’t long before a wide variety of costumes for adults became available, too.  

Today, custom Halloween costume stores offer thousands of options for those who want to play dress-up on Halloween. You can be a ghost, a werewolf, a vampire, a pirate, a fairy, or any of a number of other characters.

Why so many choices? Halloween is big business! How big? In 2018, Americans spent over $9 billion on Halloween. That’s an average of over $86 per household! Some of that money goes to buy candy and treats, but a significant portion goes to purchase costumes.

Will you celebrate Halloween this year? Making your own costume can be so much fun! What old clothes or other household items can you use in a costume. Get creative--there’s no telling what you’ll come up with!

Standards: C3.D2.His.2, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day may have you saying, “Hair today, gone tomorrow!”