There’s no arguing the growing popularity of Halloween. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF), 7 out of 10 Americans expect to celebrate Halloween this year, the highest number recorded in the survey’s nine-year history. And despite the challenges to the global economy, Americans plan to spend $72.31 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $66.28 in 2010. Perhaps this trend is an indication of America’s reprioritization of consumer spending.
Folks can’t afford a lavish vacation this year, but they can shift a few dollars to their Halloween activities. And the fact that Halloween is a non-gift holiday makes it a perennial favorite!
The NRF says that the average U.S. consumer is expected to spend $26.52 on costumes. And did you know that $310 million will be spent on pet costumes? Fido is so humiliated; he’d rather have a few extra Snausages.
There is almost no mention of a Halloween costume in England, Ireland, or the United States until 1900. Early costumes were made at home and emphasized the pagan and gothic nature of the holiday, but by the 1930s costumes based on characters in film, literature, and radio were popular. A.S. Fishbach, Ben Cooper, Inc., and other firms began mass-producing Halloween costumes for sale in stores as trick-or-treating became popular in North America.
Halloween was originally promoted as a children’s holiday, and as a means of reining in the wicked behavior of teenagers. Early Halloween costumes were aimed at kids, but after the 1950s, as Halloween increasingly came to be celebrated by adults, the Halloween costume was worn by adults as much as children.
Throughout Halloween history, costumes have typically included monsters such as vampires, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. Pop culture figures such as presidents, athletes, celebrities, film or television characters (e.g. Star Wars or Star Trek), and comic book heroes are also incredibly popular. A modern trend is for women (and sometimes, men) to use Halloween as a justification to wear revealing costumes, showing more skin than would generally be socially tolerable.
According to the NRF, what were the top five costumes for children in 2010?
5. Disney Princess (not to be confused with regular ol’ “princess”)
What were the top five adult costumes?
1. Witch (and wanton witch)
2. Vampire (and vampy vampire)
3. Pirate (and painted pirate)
4. Nurse (and naughty nurse)
5. Wench/Tart/Vixen (nuff said)
So what will you “be” this Halloween? The Retroist will take the entire month to explore the subject of retro Halloween costumes. We’ll delve into couples in costume (e.g. Frankenstein and bride of Frankenstein), creepy costumes, pet costumes, Halloween parades, and more. Plus, we’ll give you the opportunity to guess the mystery costume!
To get the haunted heads rolling, let’s start with a classic character costume suggestion often featured through the Halloween ages: Raggedy Ann.
Raggedy Ann is a fictional character created by American writer Johnny Gruelle (1880–1938) in a series of children’s books. The character was created in 1915 as a doll, and was introduced to the public in the 1918 book Raggedy Ann Stories. Raggedy Andy Stories (1920) introduced the character of her brother, Raggedy Andy, dressed in sailor suit and hat.
And you thought Raggedy Andy was Ann’s boyfriend, you creep.