Can you remember every halloween costume you’ve ever worn? Okay, me neither… How about your most memorable costume? I bet you that costume came from something influenced by the media: a movie, a book, tv show, or video game, they all stem from the pop culture consuming our ever virtual world. Originating from the Celtic festival of the dead over 2,000 years ago, halloween traditions have evolved year to year but one thing has stayed the same: halloween is the one night a year you can be whoever you want to be.
Halloween costumes are an incredible opportunity for you to put on whatever bizarre ensemble you want and live fearlessly. Pop culture has been the driving force behind halloween costumes for centuries. Costumes used to be exceedingly simple, being based off of categories like clowns or witches instead of the complex getups we have now. Characters like the Invisible Man, Bo Peep, and Jack and Jill were popular back in the day, mostly stemming from literature and children’s stories. As technology has advanced, and creation in the media has progressed, costumes have been almost solely inspired by pop culture figures. The halloweens of the past decades have been scattered with Wonder Women, green-haired Jokers, terrifying Pennywise clowns, Minecraft characters, magical Harry Potters, the intermittent stormtrooper, and pretty much anything else you’ve seen in the media. Though I love a good homemade costume (a hodgepodge of goodwill runs and hot glue gun burns), with the opportunity to buy costumes online, or even at a halloween store, options are becoming narrowly fixated on the media. Emoji masks, Fortnite jumpsuits, and even Donald Trump masks are being highlighted at local Halloween stores.
Halloween has come a long way from being that blip between back to school and Thanksgiving. Thanks to influences in the media, it is now a full blown affair. The amount of money spent yearly on halloween has nearly tripled in the past decade, with an expected total of nearly 7 billion across the U.S. this year. Sites like Instagram and Pinterest are scoured for costume ideas and decorations every year leading up to the festive night.
Perhaps this year while you trick or treat with a little sibling, venture into a haunted corn maze, go to a party, or even try to score some candy yourself, keep an eye out for the costumes around you. Notice the Black Panther costumes, the cringingly adorable families in matching Incredibles suits, and perhaps, an anticipatory Captain Marvel… But most of all, have fun!