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Vintage Halloween Costumes

Old Halloween photos from the 1800s & 1900s.

Halloween probably originated with the Celtic festival of Samhain, which celebrated the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. During Samhain, the spirits of the dead, as well as other spirits, were presumed to walk the earth. Some of the less pleasant spirits needed to be kept away, thus bonfires were lit and some people dressed up as fearsome beings to scare away the evil.

In the mid-18th century, the term "All Hallow's Eve" became popular and our current customs started. It was in the beginning of the 20th century that Hallowe'en made it to America, although it wasn't until the 1950's that store made costumes became popular.

Below are some examples of early Halloween celebrations and costumes as well as some ideas for costumes for this Halloween!

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Taken in United States of America .
A bicycle outing for two - when one of the two is a skeleton! An obvious... more
Shared on Oct 26, 2012 by
Taken in United States of America in .
In the 1950's, science fictiton and robots were the "big thing" - in the... more
Shared on Oct 26, 2012 by
Taken in United States of America .
It looks like this Daddy is ready for Halloween but the little girl? Not so... more
Shared on Oct 26, 2012 by
Taken in United States of America .
A photo of several children dressed as "lil' devils", probably on Halloween... more
Shared on Oct 26, 2012 by
Taken in United States of America.
A family dressed up for Halloween - before the Adams family. Actually, the... more
Shared on Oct 26, 2012 by
Taken in United States of America.
A group of adults celebrating Halloween in style! Or, if not necessarily with... more
Shared on Oct 26, 2012 by
Taken in United States of America .
A photo of a Halloween egg, perhaps from the 1920's. The name of the woman... more
Shared on Oct 26, 2012 by
Taken in USA in .
Nan Grey was an American actress who was born July 25th, 1918 in Texas, and... more
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Shared on Oct 26, 2011 by
Taken at Smallwood Studio, Chicago, IL USA in .
Photo taken by G.S. Smallwood: A double exposure "spirit" photograph of a... more
Shared on Oct 21, 2011 by
Taken in USA.
"Our cousin Dale Forsyth from Minnesota...59 pound pumpkin..good old... more
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Shared on Aug 24, 2011 by
Taken in USA.
Checkout these old homemade halloween costumes! I can make out a clown, a... more
Shared on Jul 13, 2011 by
Taken in San Jose, Santa Clara County, CA.
A photo of the house built (continuously, until her death) by Sarah... more
Shared on Oct 24, 2016 by
Taken in .
A photo of Ted and Steve, October 1967, carving a pumpkin on Grandma Ruth's... more
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Shared on Aug 5, 2014 by
Taken in Eau Claire, WI United States of America in .
This is my grandmother Josephine Reinhard Harstad, sitting far right, and... more
Shared on Oct 31, 2013 by
Anyone know the Halloween Fairytale of the Gnome and the four kitties? I... more
Shared on Oct 23, 2013 by
The man in the mushrooms never achieved the popularity of the man in the moon... more
Shared on Oct 23, 2013 by
These Halloween costumes are scary on the "face" of them - homemade costumes... more
Shared on Oct 23, 2013 by
Now THIS is a Halloween costume - if you can outrun Orkin! And evidently,... more
Shared on Oct 23, 2013 by
These three amigos would terrorize your neighborhood on Halloween! Homemade... more
Shared on Oct 23, 2013 by
Before the 1950's, almost all Halloween costumes were homemade. This is... more
Shared on Oct 23, 2013 by
I don't know what year this is, but it looks like a homemade Halloween... more
Shared on Oct 23, 2013 by
Taken at Parents' front yard, Houston, Harris County, TX United States of America .
Adrian Loraine Sinclair dressed as Peter Pan for the fall Church bazaar ca... more
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Shared on Oct 31, 2012 by
Taken at classroom or Sunday School room, Springfield, MA United States of America in .
That's me, Peter Smith, 2nd from Rt.1951 Halloween party, Springfield,... more
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Shared on Oct 30, 2012 by