Halloween costumes reflect the times. Read on for what everyone was talking about—and, of course, wearing—the year you came into the world.
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The history of Halloween costumes
Halloween has a rich, centuries-long history (you know, what with the dead returning to earth and people attempting to drive away spirits), but dressing up in costumes and trick-or-treating as we know it today only came about in the 1930s. By the 1950s, kids could buy virtually any costume their hearts desired and go door-to-door on the hunt for candy.
Every year, though, one specific Halloween costume seems to be on every trick-or-treater’s mind. Why do these overwhelmingly popular costume ideas take hold, exactly? “The celebration of Halloween often illustrates what’s going on in our culture,” says Lesley Bannatyne, Halloween expert and author of Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America’s Fright Night. “Halloween feeds on zeitgeist in a way that other holidays can’t. It’s expressive of who we are and what we value, what we’re thinking about or are afraid of or love—from bird flu to Game of Thrones to politics to Frozen.”
These are the costumes that everyone had to have the year you were born—from 1950 all the way through 2005. Get ready for a serious walk down memory lane.
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When most people think of the 1950s, they imagine a poodle skirt or leather jacket. But what was the go-to costume in 1950? A good ol’ cowboy. Hollywood had an obsession with Westerns at the time. From John Wayne to Gene Autry to Roy Rogers, young boys and men alike had found their heroes, and that was reflected on Halloween night. Halloween 2020 will certainly different than any year in the past—find out how. Plus, here are some tips for trick-or-treating safely in the age of coronavirus.