Halloween is all about having the best costume and the best party. It revolves around over-priced pumpkin flavored foods and drinks and candy that looks like scary items. There’s nothing better than sipping on a craft pumpkin ale while having a scary movie marathon on Netflix. And who doesn’t love picking out a pumpkin at the patch and carving your favorite character in the front? While many think that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, others think that it’s all about Halloween. It’s a celebration of everything weird and freaky and a big excuse to wear black every single day. Each year is a new opportunity to find the best costume, eat more pumpkin flavored things, and watch even more scary movies. But the best season of all hasn’t always had this sort of element to it. No, Halloween used to be a hell of a lot scarier than it is now.
Halloween 100 years ago was way different than it is today. Like most things that develop in a capitalist society, Halloween is a holiday that now revolves around consumerism. Companies use the holiday to market their products, and each year we spend more and more money in the autumn season. But Halloween used to have an entirely different purpose. It was all about the celebration of the season and scaring each other around you. It was more of a ritual-filled season rather than a candy-filled one. Some things have been lost through this new found perspective, but some things we’re a little glad to leave behind. Here are 15 creepy vintage Halloween pictures that will make you glad you live in this decade.
15. Costumes Used To Be A Disguise
Back in the early days of Halloween, it was more about actually disguising yourself with your costume. Many believed that Halloween was a time when spirits came back to walk amongst us. By wearing a costume, you could more easily hide from ghosts who might have unfinished business with you. But wearing costumes was also useful in another way. It helped those spirits have the ability to blend in among those around them. They were hoping to have a chance to walk around and possibly visit family members or just take a trip to their favorite spot. By everyone dressing up, the spirits were also able to blend in with the living, helping them have a more enjoyable time for this small moment they got to live again. Nowadays, it seems like some people have the goal of wearing as little as possible. But hey, maybe dead people have caught on to this too and there are actually still spirits roaming around us.
14. Trick Or Treating Hasn’t Changed Much
When trick or treating first started, it actually was pretty similar to what it is now. The tradition has several different origins, but the process all revolved around dressing up, going to someone’s house, and saying something for the exchange of food. Some believed that it started as people actually performing mini-plays for different residents so that they would feed them. Others believed that it started with people visiting houses, offering prayers for the resident’s loved ones, and receiving food in exchange. It’s definitely become a lot simpler than the original process used to be, but the basic premise is the same. The biggest difference now is actually that it’s primarily children who participate in the process. People of all ages used to go from house to house begging for food while dressed in silly costumes. Someone must have realized that it was a little strange at some point, and decided to send just their kids instead.
13. Samhain Was The Original Halloween
Samhain is an Irish holiday that was believed to be the original Halloween. The celebration was on the same day as Halloween, and was meant to celebrate the end of the harvest season as well as to honor the dead. Not only was it the celebration of the end of the harvest, but it was also the celebration of the beginning of winter. The beginning of winter was thought to be the beginning of a dark time as well. People can’t grow crops in the winter, and it can be a tough season to live through, as you have to ration your food and protect yourself from the outside forces of nature. The people who celebrate Samhain also thought that it was necessary to worship the dead during this time so that they would have protection during the winter. They did this by dressing up and disguising themselves on the day of Samhain and going to different houses to put on shows honoring those who passed on.
12. Halloween Was The Celebration Of The End Of The Season
Halloween became a celebration of the end of the season for people other than just the Irish who celebrated Samhain. During the fall months, farmers have to harvest their crops and aren’t able to plant anymore due to the weather. They also have to bring their animals in from the pasture and find other ways of sheltering and protecting them from the harsh weather. No matter what form it is in, Halloween has come to be a signifier of the end of one part of a year, and the beginning of another. Nowadays, it seems to sort of symbolize the beginning of the holiday season. Everyone has a blast during the summer, but as soon as that first fall leaf falls, we start adding pumpkin spice to our coffees and sweaters to our wardrobes. You might not know many farmers personally but you probably know a ton of people who celebrate Halloween.
11. Halloween Is A Dangerous Night
Like most holidays, Halloween can be a dangerous night. Everyone gets a little intoxicated on holidays, but Halloween is definitely known as being one where people take their celebration a little further. One of the leading causes of death that occurs on Halloween night is alcohol poisoning! Not only is alcohol poisoning a fear that some people have on Halloween, but so is getting hit by a car! Children are twice as likely to get hit by cars on Halloween night. Part of this is due to the fact that they are outside during the night more, but the other part of this high risk is, unfortunately, alcohol playing a factor. Halloween seems like one of the last nights that people have to run around and drink outdoors before the bitter cold catches up. But regardless of how hard you like to celebrate the season, make sure you’re always remembering the kids! Maybe not scary ones like these though; let’s try and forget these scary costumes when we’re walking home alone on Halloween night.
10. Peanuts Helped Inspire Trick Or Treating
One cartoon strip, Peanuts from the 1950s is said to have been very influential on people celebrating Halloween! Pop culture is always known to have an influence, but it’s crazy to think that a simple guy like Charlie Brown had such a big influence on the season. The infamous comic strip turned into the TV special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! The iconic special plays on television every year to this day! There’s no doubt that Charlie Brown and his gang have had a big influence on our society in general, but Halloween has become such a large thing that it’s strange to think part of it started with the strip. People always celebrated Halloween in some form or another, but television series and movies have definitely helped hype up the season, and Charlie Brown played a big role in that as well!
9. The Average Person Spends $60 On A Costume
Everyone knows that Halloween can be expensive, but many people have been creating their own amazing costumes at homes since the beginning of the celebration. It can come as a surprise, then, that people spend an average of $60.00 on a Halloween costume a year! That seems like a pretty high number, but averages mean a middle amount of what people spend. So if you think about it, there are probably plenty of people who don’t spend anything on a costume, but for every one of those, there’s probably a person who spends hundreds on a costume! Some people take this season very seriously, and the costume can be the biggest part! Others might just throw a wig on to get some free candy, but some people live for crafting a hundred-dollar replica of their favorite character! That average has definitely gone up over the years, as some of these people look as though they just threw a pillowcase with holes on! They’re still pretty creepy looking, however.
8. Native Americans Influenced The Introduction Of Face Paint
Halloween has been a part of American history since the beginning! It’s no surprise, then, that Native Americans had some influence on the way we celebrate Halloween as well. When people started dressing up in early American times, many people started to incorporate face paint and animal skins into their costumes because of Native American influence! It seems as though we started appropriating their culture for our vanity long before we started just wearing headdresses at music festivals! Back in early Halloween times, people would even wear real animal heads as their costumes! If someone ever tried to do that today, there’s no doubt they’d be trending on the internet the next day with multiple threats from PETA and other animal rights groups! But that was the norm when Halloween first started. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty satisfied knowing that most of the animal heads I see people wearing now are fake. At least hopefully.
7. Chocolate Has Always Been The Favorite Halloween Candy
Everyone’s got a kind of Halloween candy that’s special to them. Some people love candy corn while others gag at the site of it. However, in recent years, studies have proven that at least seven out of 10 people who participate in Halloween agree that chocolate is the best type of candy to get on Halloween! Chocolate has always been a popular choice, but it’s surprising to think that it isn’t that neutral of an opinion and everyone agrees that it’s the best type of candy! If you’re unsure what to give kids this Halloween, just remember that chocolate is a safe choice. And if you’re a parent of a trick or treater and don’t know what to do with all the leftover candy, just know that a lot of it can last for up to two years after Halloween! That’s definitely different than in the early days of Halloween when people would pass out full meals instead of “fun size” candy bars.
6. Costumes Used To Be All About Folklore
Costumes were more based on fictional characters from folklores and tales rather than celebrities or clever puns. Vampires, witches, and werewolves are still popular costumes now, but 100 years ago, you’d definitely see way more of those types of costumes than you would today. Most of that is due to the rise in popular culture. They didn’t really have pop stars and comic book heroes to dress up as in the early days of Halloween. Instead, there would be a bigger focus on the characters from stories that they knew, and many of those characters would often be of the monster variety. If you didn’t want to just dress up as a vampire or witch, then dressing up as a scary faced monster was more favorable. Masks were made to be creepy distortions of faces. While it’s still slightly popular to dress up scary nowadays, it was definitely more favorable to have a spooky costume hundreds of years ago.
5. The 1930s Saw The Rise Of Pop Culture Costumes
The 1930s was the first time that people would start dressing up more like characters in popular culture. Comic books and radio shows started getting more and more popular, and people chose to dress up as characters from these instead of the vampires they were sick of seeing every year. Once the television was invented, stores realized that they could make serious money off of selling wigs and clothing that people wore on television for Halloween costumes. Once this trend caught on, it seemed everyone forgot about scaring each other and started to focus more on coming up with a creative costume. In our present time, you rarely see someone all spooked up and are more likely to see someone dressed in a version of the biggest movie star of the year. Now we wonder what started the beginning of the trend of dressing as “sexy” versions of characters?
4. Halloween Was Used To Deter Crime
Like any holiday, and as previously mentioned, people used to go a bit crazy around Halloween. Not just in the way that we get a little wild now by drinking too much cider and rum. The night before Halloween was known to some as “Mischief Night,” or a time to vandalize and wreak havoc in neighborhoods. People from all over have celebrated this night in different ways, as well as have different names for it, but typically it’s known as the night before Halloween in which young children participate in minor vandalism. Some areas of the country reported that things would get taken too far and go beyond just minor vandalism, so as an attempt to alleviate some of the effects of this night, people put a larger emphasis on trick or treating! If kids were busy dressing up and taking your candy, they wouldn’t have time to mess up your yard!
3. There Was A Sugar Crisis In The ’40s
During the second World War, there was a food shortage problem. One of the things that was hard to get in the shortage was sugar. Candy wasn’t as nearly as accessible as it is now during this time. Now you can walk to any convenience store or supermarket and load up on sugary sweets. But during the war, these goods were way harder to come by. People would be limited in how many sweets they were allowed to buy. This deeply affected Halloween. Unfortunately, some people even stopped celebrating the holiday. Some thought it would be the end of the holiday, but of course, after the war ended, we could finally have easier access to all of the candy we needed to rot away our teeth! Luckily the war didn’t last as long and people didn’t forget about the greatest holiday to ever exist.
2. Some Fear Poison on Halloween Night
One urban legend that has been circulating since the beginning of Halloween is that taking candy from stranger’s houses results in being poisoned! Many people have always gossiped about the possibility of putting poison and damaging objects in food meant for children! Rumors have always circulated of kids finding nails and razor blades in their candy. But when most of these situations are actually investigated, they always turn up to be a hoax! There have been very few actual reports of people finding hazardous objects in their candy bags on Halloween nights. Most incidents that occur around the time of Halloween involving any sort of poisoning have always been proven to be related to something else that doesn’t have anything to do with Halloween. Though there have never been any actual reports of a murderous Halloween candy passer-outer, the rumors, and the urban legends, have never ended! That’s one thing that’s remained the same throughout all the years of Halloween.
1. Halloween Has Grown Into A Billion Dollar Industry
Halloween has grown over the years into a billion-dollar industry! People spend billions of dollars a year on Halloween candy, costumes, and decorations! It is the second biggest revenue maker after Christmas! What was once just an opportunity to get free food from neighbors has turned into a marketing scheme for all businesses to profit off of. Soon enough, pumpkin spice will probably become a billion-dollar industry on its own! One of the biggest differences from how people celebrated Halloween 100 years ago has to be how we spend and consume money around the holiday! It’s all about going all out with your décor and costume, and people pay big bucks to have the best! You used to just be able to put a freaky mask on and get free candy, but now it’s much more serious than that. Who knows what Halloween in 100 years from now will look like!