Why we celebrate Halloween
While there are many thoughts and theories regarding the origins of Halloween, there is no one definitive answer as to why we celebrate this holiday. Halloween has its roots both in the Celtic Samhain festival and in the Christian All Saints’ Day, which overlap on October 31 and November 1. The Samhain festival celebrates the end of summer, or the passing from the “light” months to the “dark” months. All Saints’ Day commemorates all who have died in the previous year. Today, however, Halloween is primarily a secular holiday, celebrated by both young and old.
Some common Halloween festivities include dressing in costumes, either for parties or trick-or-treating; carving jack-o’-lanterns from pumpkins; bobbing for apples; or spooky activities like telling ghost stories, watching horror films, playing pranks, or visiting a Halloween haunted house. With trick-or-treating, children dress in costumes and go door to door asking for treats, with the implied threat of a “trick” or prank if no treat is given. In some cultures, children are expected to perform a trick, such as singing or telling a scary story, to earn the treat.
There are many ways to celebrate this holiday, from a fancy dress Halloween party to a more casual friends Halloween party.
For a children’s party, Halloween crafts, such as carving a Halloween pumpkin or making a Halloween mask, are good ways to keep the children occupied.
There are also many Halloween party games perfect for any age, such as “eyeball bounce.” The adult version is basically beer pong, with eyeballs painted on the balls with permanent, non-toxic markers or paint. For a children’s version, skip the alcohol and have them aim at cups of coloured water or hollowed out mini-pumpkins.
For adult parties, you might want to create a more scary Halloween party, such as hosting a Halloween horror film party. Popular choices for a Halloween film party include the Halloween series with the recent remake of Halloween 2, also known as Halloween 2009. Other Halloween DVD choices include the Friday the 13th series, or you can choose more classic horror films.
Make sure you have enough Halloween sweets such as Halloween chocolate, or you might just get a trick played on you! You can also make your house an annual favourite by adding Halloween decorations like a spider, a ghost, or a skeleton. Set the mood with Halloween lights, and play a Halloween CD as visitors arrive. You can also put a Halloween poster on your door or in your front window to complete the look. If you have small children, your Halloween decorations are not limited to scary monsters. There are many funny Halloween costumes that will not give your little ones nightmares.
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate, there are several items you will want to consider. First, think about your Halloween outfit. Even if you are just answering the door for the local trick-or-treaters, you can still choose an adult Halloween costume, whether you want something more basic or a fancy dress costume. Easy Halloween character choices include a vampire or witch, but you are really only limited by your imagination. Don’t forget the Halloween props, including a wig for your costume. It’s the little details that really complete the feeling. If you are hosting a party, check out the great Halloween recipes and treats that your guests are sure to love.
Whatever your Halloween needs, Price Inspector is here to make sure you get the best items at the best prices. We compare prices at all the UK shops to always bring you the best deals.
General information about Halloween Costumes
While Halloween costumes were traditionally scary creatures like skeletons, ghosts, devils, and witches, the selection has expanded in recent years. Now adults and kids alike can dress as their favorite fictional characters, celebrities, or popular figures such as princesses or pirates. The tradition of dressing in costumes began in the UK in the 19th century, spreading to the US in the early 20th century. As the popularity of these costumes grew, mass-produced Halloween costumes became available in the 1930s.
For a girls Halloween costume, some of the popular choices include a cat, witch, bride, or fairy, or she might like a female superhero such as Batgirl.
Boys may prefer either a funny Halloween costume such as a jester or something more scary like Count Dracula. There are also many childrens Halloween costumes available in toddler sizes as well, such as a cute little devil costume, a pumpkin, or a baby vampire.
For a teen Halloween costume, your teen may want to break away from the childrens Halloween costumes, such as dressing a little more provocatively for a girl or a little scarier for a boy. It is a good idea to review your teen’s choices to ensure you are comfortable with the level of flesh your daughter is showing or the gore or weapons displayed by your son. If they are attending a school party, make sure the costume follows any dress codes or bans on prop weapons.
Adults are not left out of costume selection, even including plus size Halloween costumes and fancy dress costumes. If you want to add a little fright to your celebration, consider a Michael Myers Halloween costume or an evil jester. Whatever you choose, don’t forget the costume accessories like wigs, masks or makeup, or props. These can turn a basic white Halloween costume into the perfect ghost or bride, for example.
Women’s Halloween Costumes
A popular trend for some, although by no means all, women is to use the excuse of Halloween as an opportunity to dress in sexier or more revealing costumes than they would normally would wear. If you choose not to dress more provocatively, especially for situations like an office party, you still have plenty of choices. There are many sophisticated costumes, such as a countess, gothic fancy dress, or a diabla costume. This costume is a sexy but not racy devil, with a long, elegant dress. A sexy witch costume can be as revealing or as tame as you choose.
Today more and more women are choosing scary costumes, such as a dark angel, ghost, dead bride, or Ms Kreuger, the female version of the infamous Freddy Kreuger from the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” films. Other choices include a Lady Brimstone, [pd:widows web fancy dress:widows’ web], zombie, monster bride, or Princess of Darkness.
Some costumes can be either sexy, serious, or scary, depending on your makeup and props. Some of these include a nurse, witch, devil, spider witch, or vampires.
Whether you want to be horrifying, beautiful, or naughty, a hooded cape is the perfect finishing touch for many costumes. It can keep you warm in chilly weather, and depending on the colour and material, it could work for many different looks. Consider white for a nurse or bride, tatty black for a witch, or velveteen materials for more elegant costumes.
Men’s Halloween costumes
Men are not left out of the Halloween costume fun, and they have the choices of handsome hero roles, fantasy characters, and scary costumes. For handsome heroes, you can be a surgeon
or a count
, while a popular fantasy choice is a sorcerer
. Men can also choose funny costumes, such as a horny devil
. Hellvis portrays the King of Rock and Roll in the afterlife, with the trademark jumpsuit in red, complete with horns and forked tail.
For scary costumes, vampires are always popular, from the famous Count Dracula to any number of variations, such as purple or red vampire costumes. For even scarier ideas, consider horror film favorites like Freddy Kreuger, Jason, the Scream robe, also known as [pd:Mr screecher fancy dress:Mr. Screecher], or Leatherface.
There is practically no limit to the scary costumes for men. Create your own character, or choose from perennial favorites like a ghostly ghoul, mummy, night phantom, sinister devil, skeleton, Grim Reaper, or other monster from the grave.
Many couples like to dress in coordinating costumes. If you want a scary duo costume, you could be the dead groom to her dead bride, or you can be the ghostly gentleman to her ghostly countess. Just make sure that your makeup and accessories coordinate for a more uniform look.
Halloween masks can help complete your costume in a way that makeup can’t. Whether you are looking for special effects, want to change the shape of your face, or create furry additions, a mask for Halloween can give a more professional appearance. However, there are times when makeup will be more appropriate. For example, for trick-or-treating, it is recommended that children use makeup instead of a mask to ensure they have full vision. For a party, however, there are many fun Halloween masks that are appropriate for children, such as a child size Dracula mask, a child size devil mask, or a franky mask.
If you are deciding between a mask and makeup, some questions to ask yourself are: How long will you be wearing it? Is it hot, heavy, or itchy? Can you breathe well for long periods of time? Can you eat and drink while wearing the mask? A Halloween party might not be much fun if you are uncomfortable and can’t partake of the refreshments. A final consideration before purchasing a mask is that many of them are made of latex. This makes them relatively lightweight and flexible, but some people are allergic to latex. If this is a concern for you, you should choose makeup instead.
If you decide that a Halloween costume mask is your best choice, there are so many too choose from that you may have trouble deciding. Some people even like to select their best mask, and then build the costume around it. For example, if you find a great wolfman mask, you can build the rest of your costume with some hairy gloves, torn jeans, a ripped shirt, and some glue-on hair to show through the rips.
Some of the most popular masks create scary Halloween looks that you can’t achieve with makeup alone, such as an alien mask that changes your face shape, special effects like a bleeding Scream mask, or dramatic looks like a zombie mask. Common choices include a bandaged mask for a mummy costume, a skeleton or skull, or a devil mask with horns.
Other popular choices include:
You can also choose a Halloween fancy dress mask in a masquerade style masks to hide your identity, even if you are dressed in a more sophisticated look like Prince Charming. Some of the popular colours are red and blue, although your choices are fairly unlimited.
Halloween body parts, props and hats
No Halloween costume would be complete without the appropriate props and accessories. Imagine how much more frightening and realistic your costume would be if you added a blood splattered cleaver, fake blood, or a severed finger. No serial killer would be complete without at least one of these props.
A skeleton or werewolf costume would look unrealistic using your bare human hands, so be sure to include skeleton gloves or a werewolf hand patch. It’s easy to leave out these little details, but you will be much happier with your costume if you pay attention to them.
Little touches can add so much to your costume. For a vampire, you’ve probably already thought of the vampire teeth, but a Dracula medallion can add as much finishing touch as the teeth. Similarly, a devil’s costume might include a [pd:devils trident:devil’s trident], devil horns, and devil ears or red pointed ears. Depending on your costume, other propos might include a caveman club, axe, or skull axe.
Women can add a glam touch to their costumes with specialty fake eyelashes like spider web lashes. Halloween is the perfect time to go glamorous, with dramatically long lashes, outrageous colours, and sparkly details. Spooky costumes might benefit from a witch nose or horror nails.
Whatever type of costume you prefer, remember those finishing details to make your costume stand out in the crowd.
Halloween is also a great time for hats. They can keep you warm on a chilly evening, hold your hair or wig in place, and provide their own dramatic contribution to your costume. For example, who can picture a witch without the classic witch hat? Today, witches’ hats are as varied as the costumes themselves. No longer limited to basic black, you can find these hats in a variety of colours, materials, and designs. They may have fringe, fur trim, or sparkly accessories, depending on the style of witch you are portraying.
For a devil costume, you can use a mask with horns or a headband with horns, or you can choose from a red devil hat. One example of this hat is a red stocking hat complete with stand-up wool horns. This may not create the most sinister devil in the crowd, but it will be warm on a cold night, and for some devil costumes, it’s the perfect look. Another option is a ski mask that has horns on top and a devil face printed on the front, great for chilly trick-or-treat outings.
Every good magician, or magician hopeful, knows you need a sorcerer hat or wizard hat to complete the fantasy. These hats are generally interchangeable, as they are tall peaked hats, usually in midnight blue or purple, decorated with silver or gold celestial designs. However, if you are wanting a Harry Potter theme, the wizard hat should be plainer, such as a basic brown. For the most realistic look, you can buy a Dumbledore wizard hat that replicates the headmaster’s hat.
Many costumes would be perfectly completed with a top hat, anything from a vampire to a count, a dead groom to a period costume. Just consider the mood you are trying to achieve. Count Dracula or another elegant figure would have a sharp, well groomed top hat, while a dead groom’s hat should be dusty or covered in cob webs.
Whether you are throwing a Halloween party for adults or children, creating your own haunted house, or just like to decorate your home for the holiday, there are numerous choices available to give you the perfect look.
- Picture a large cauldron in the corner of the room, bubbling with a mysterious witch’s brew. This can be achieved just a little dry ice, or there are battery-operated inserts that will generate fog and eerie lights. Just make sure it is placed in an out-of-the way corner, where your guests will not accidentally knock it over. If you choose dry ice, make sure it is not placed where children can touch it.
- Spiders are some of the creepy accessories for Halloween decorations. You can scatter small plastic spiders around the room, or you can achieve a more dramatic affect with a large hairy spider hanging from a fake spider web.
- Inflatable decorations, such as skulls, skeletons, bats and ghosts are inexpensive options that store easily and compactly until next year.
- Whether real or fake, Halloween pumpkins are some of the best Halloween decorations. Put some pumpkins lining the walk to your front door to greet your guests, then continue the theme inside. A pumpkin door curtain can be both decorative and functional, hiding storage areas or cutting off rooms that are not open for the party. A giant pumpkin could be used in a number of ways. Hollow it out to use as a serving bowl, paint with a custom message, or create your own Linus’s pumpkin patch.
- Consider some of the many party accessories, such as Halloween printed balloons, party banners, Halloween invitations, and Halloween napkins. A less expensive option to printed balloons is to use solid colour balloons in appropriate colours, such as black, orange, and purple. Helium balloons will look good, but you can also hang non-helium Halloween balloons from the ceiling as an alternative.
- Sound effects can really help set the mood. Good choices include a CD of spooky sound effects playing in the background, such as moaning, chains rattling, or bone-chilling screams. There are also CDs with instantly recognizable classic horror film songs, such as the theme to “The Exorcist.” For a lighter mood, play Halloween pop songs such as Monster Mash or Thriller.
- Sound effects can also complete your costume. Some masks have built-in voice disguisers, so you can breathe and talk like Darth Vader, for example.
- Don’t leave your pet out of the fun. Some animals love to dress up, and a Halloween pet costume is the perfect way to express your pet’s inner personality. Choose from the obvious or the unusual. For example, your small dog could be a princess or a biker. Just make sure it’s safe and comfortable.
Take extra precautions with your pets as well. Some dogs or cats may be agitated by the unusual activity, such as the unusual costumes and sounds. Cats who are loose at night may encounter teasing or worse, so keep them inside. Finally, make sure all candy, especially chocolate, is kept where your dog can’t get to it.
Things to think about when shopping for Halloween
When buying your Halloween costumes and accessories, there are a few considerations:
Read the description on any costume carefully so you know what is included and what isn’t. Many will offer suggestions for accessories to complete your costume, but they are usually sold separately.
Check the sizing charts and read any sizing comments provided. Sometimes the costume will have a note that it runs small across the chest, for example, so you will get a better fit if you pay attention to these notes.
Make sure you understand the return policy in the case the costume does not fit. Sometimes the costume cannot be returned at all, while other times, it is returnable before a certain date.
For props and decorations, read the size description carefully. The item may look large and impressive in the picture, only to be much smaller in real life. On the other hand, it might be larger than you imagine and not fit in your available space. If you have any concerns, use a ruler or measuring tape to picture the exact dimensions.
Consider how you will store the decorations in the off-season. Inflatable decorations are less realistic than some other props, but they are much easier to store. You will need to weigh your available storage space against the look you are seeking to determine the appropriate solution.
For treats and snacks, it’s better to have more than you anticipate using, whether it’s for party guests or trick-or-treaters. If you do not want the temptation of leftover candy in the house after Halloween, consider taking it to the office or donate to a charitable organization in your area.
Be prepared for guests at your party who have food allergies. While you can’t prepare for every possible allergy, make sure you have treats that do not contain nuts or peanuts, which are common allergens.
Some Halloween Jargon explained
When you are shopping for Halloween props, you might see a few terms you don’t recognize. Price Inspector is here to clear away any confusion.
|Latex||A natural or synthetic rubber material. It is a common material for Halloween masks. If you have an allergy or sensitivity to latex, make sure the mask you are buying is not made from latex.|
|Bucky & Blucky||Buckies are life-size, quality skeletons such as those used in classroom demonstrations. Bluckies are inexpensive models made of blown plastic.|
|Ground breaker or ground burster||This is a half-body prop that looks like it is half buried, such that it is climbing or buster out of the ground. In truth, it’s a flat-bottomed prop that can be placed on any surface.|