The historical reason why we wear costumes on Halloween

Published on October 30th, 2009 | by Admin


National Geographic has an interesting article about the history of (and the business of) Halloween.

In addition to sacrificing animals to the gods and gathering around bonfires, Celts often wore costumes—probably animal skins—to confuse spirits, perhaps to avoid being possessed, according to the American Folklife Center at the U.S. Library of Congress.

By wearing masks or blackening their faces, Celts are also thought to have impersonated dead ancestors.

Young men may have dressed as women and vice versa, marking a temporary breakdown of normal social divisions.

In an early form of trick-or-treating, Celts costumed as spirits are believed to have gone from house to house engaging in silly acts in exchange for food and drink—a practice inspired perhaps by an earlier custom of leaving food and drink outdoors as offerings to supernatural beings.

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3 Responses to The historical reason why we wear costumes on Halloween

  1. In Wales, they still have a ‘Gray Mare’ night…men go around with a horse skull on a stick and sing and drink beer.

    I read today that ‘bonfire’ comes from ‘bone fire’ because of the Druid custom of burning people. Do you know anything about the veracity of that statement?

    Thanks for your articles!

  2. Mikaela Parrett says:

    I am writing a report on why people wear costumes on Halloween and i stumbled upon the website and i need more information can u get it and get it back to me?

    Thanks for the info you have given me so far though 🙂

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