It’s that time of year again! What time? It’s time to disguise yourself and flit about your neighborhood, brazenly asking for free candy and treats. What are we talking about? Halloween, of course!

Do you enjoy dressing up for Halloween? What costumes have you worn in the past? Which one was your favorite? What do you want to dress as this year?

Dressing up for Halloween is one of the most popular traditions in America. You might be surprised to learn, though, that it’s still a relatively-new tradition.

The tradition’s roots come from the Scottish custom of “guising.” Wearing costumes, masks or other forms of disguise began in Scotland in the late 19th century. Scottish children hoped to prevent evil spirits from doing harm by dressing like them.

Dressing like evil spirits explains why so many Halloween costumes are on the scary or creepy side. At first, Halloween costumes were exclusively homemade.

By the 1930s, however, mass-produced Halloween costumes began to appear in stores as trick-or-treating started to become more popular. In addition to scary ghouls, costumes based upon popular characters in movies and books began to appear.

At first, Halloween was mainly promoted as a children’s holiday. Early costumes were targeted at children. Over time, though, adults came to love the holiday as much as children. It wasn’t long before the types of available costumes began to expand to include a wide variety of costumes for adults, too.

Today, custom Halloween costume stores offer thousands of options for those who want to play dress-up on Halloween. You can be a ghost, a werewolf, a vampire, a pirate, a fairy, a clown, a superhero or any one of a myriad of other characters.

Why so many choices? Halloween is big business! How big? In 2011, Americans spent over $6.8 billion to celebrate Halloween. That’s an average of over $72 per household! Some of that money goes to buy candy and treats, but a significant portion goes to purchase costumes.

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    • Hey there, Laserdudle, we’re glad you’re back!! We bet your costume for Halloween is going to be great! We hope you have a fun time safely trick-or-treating with your family and friends, dressed as a ninja! :)

      We appreciate your super comment and are so glad that you enjoy visiting Wonderopolis– we are always happy when you’re here! We are having trouble deciding on a favorite costume, but some of our Wonder Friends have said they enjoy dressing up as a wizard, a scientist, and a superhero! We like these costumes because they involve LOTS of WONDERing! :)

  1. Dear Wonderopolis,

    We have many different Halloween costumes.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder might be about a flood that you would need boats to get around or about Venice because they have water for streets.

    Thank you for the wonders,
    Mrs. Tillman’s class

    • That sounds great, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Tillman’s class! We bet you are all getting ready for Halloween– we hope you can sport your costumes at school, too! :)

      We LOVE your guesses for tomorrow’s Wonder… we really think you’re on to something! Thanks for commenting today and joining the WONDERful fun! :)

    • WOHOO, we are excited that you liked today’s Wonder, Jacob! We Wonder if you have a favorite Halloween costume from the past, or if your favorite is the one you’ll be wearing this year! :)

    • That sounds pretty cool, FaZe TriCks! We think a cowboy costume, complete with his trusty animal, sounds like a great costume! We hope you have a fun time trick-or-treating! :)

  2. YAY!!! I loved today’s Wonder! I am going to be the Greek Goddess Nike this year. My favorite costume is ummmmmm…….I have so many! Anyway, Thanks!

    • WOHOO, we are glad our Wonder Friend Bryleigh is here today! Your Grecian costume sounds great! We bet it’s hard to choose when there are so many cool costumes from the past! We hope you have a SUPER time getting ready for Halloween, Bryleigh! :)

    • WOHOO, that sounds like a great Halloween costume, Jany! We think the mask will be a mysterious accessory this year! We hope you have a SUPER time, safely trick-or-treating! :)

    • WOHOO, what a SUPER idea, Amazing Reggie! We think being SUPER is a great idea for Halloween– we bet you’re going to have a great time trick-or-treating with all your pals! We are glad that you are WONDERing with us today– we hope you have a SUPER rest of the day! :)

  3. There are a myriad of costumes on Halloween! Halloween is exclusively in October. You can dress up as anything as you want. You can be a ghoul or a werewolf. Usually on Halloween in America we dress up, but in other countries they may not. I liked learning that Halloween started in Scotland.

    • WOW, we are very impressed with the great vocabulary and comment from our Wonder Friends, Tigers 3rd Grade! Nice work! We are glad that you shared the key points that you learned in our Wonder today– it’s important to remember that other cultures and countries may not celebrate this holiday the same way we do! You are ROCKSTARS! :)

    • Alright, KK! We LOVE your enthusiasm! We hope today’s Wonder inspired your costume or is helping you to get ready for safely trick-or-treating with family and friends! Thanks for commenting, KK! :)

    • SUPER guess, Jake L! We love hearing what our Wonder Friends’ guesses are for the next day– we think you’re “smooth sailing” with your guess! :)

    • We are glad to Wonder about one of your favorite holidays, FR3D! It’s so much fun to learn about new customs, like dressing up for Halloween! We are glad you joined us today, Wonder Friend! :)

    • Oooh, how very cool, Wonder Friend “Hi”! We bet your Halloween costume is very cool! We are glad you shared your favorite costume with us today– have a SUPER day! :)

    • Sometimes it’s fun to switch it up, Destinee! We bet you were a great Halloween vampire! We sure hope you have a good time WONDERing what your costume will be this year! :)

  4. Every Halloween that I can remember being: Darth Vader (Star Wars) twice, Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of The Carribean, Captain Rex (Star Wars The Clone Wars), Harry Potter (Harry Potter), and I don’t know what to be this year, can you help me with some ideas WONDEROPOLIS & commenters?

    • Hi there, Wonder Friend Mystery, we’re glad you’re back today! We think your costumes sound AMAZING– you must have used your imagination when you dressed up as those characters! We bet you can do some WONDERing of your own about what you will be this year– you have a super imagination, Wonder Friend! :)

    • We sure do like the candy that comes with Halloween, Pokemonlover! We always remind ourselves that it’s important to eat just a little bit of candy, otherwise we’ll end up with a stomach ache that night! We also LOVE your guess for tomorrow… we can’t wait to row along with you soon! :)

    • That sounds like a very creative approach, Wonder Friend Mystery! We hope to hear what you decide to be for Halloween! :)

  5. We liked how we learned that Halloween is a special tradition in the United States and Canada. We love trick-or-treating so much! We think it’s really cool that Halloween started out in Scotland! People always like getting candy. You can be a zombie, a cat, or dog or any type of animal. We love to dress up for Halloween. You can be anything that you want, homemade or bought!

    • Great summary of today’s Halloween Wonder, Tigers 2nd Grade! We are so proud of all the great information you gathered today! WOHOO! :)

      We really enjoy your point about creating a costume that you enjoy– it doesn’t matter if it’s purchased from a store, borrowed from a friend, or a homemade creation! As long as you are having fun and using your imagination, that’s all that matters! We’re so glad you commented today, Wonder Friends! :)

    • Hey Gabe, zombies and Halloween go together so well! We bet you’ll Wonder up a GREAT costume this year, too! We think it’s fun to dress up as a favorite character– from a movie, book, TV show…! The options are endless! :)

    • WOW, we are sending you a virtual high five for your creative costumes, WONDERman! Ghost Busters is a great film and Halloween costume choice! If we are ever have “ghost issues” in Wonderopolis, we’ll be sure to call you! :)

    • Va bene (It’s all good), WONDERman! We think you’re sailing along with your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder! We bet living in Venice would be a very cool experience! Please keep all of us posted if you and your family moves to Italia! :)

  6. Dear Wonderopolis,
    I was wrong.

    My favorite costume was my Indian and some of my neighbors thought I was Sacajawea, the indian. That was made by me and my mom. Who did invent Halloween?

    I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about sun burns or boats.

    • Hi there, Alexis, thanks for sharing your Halloween favorites with us today! We bet it’s fun to prepare a costume with your mom– it sounds like you are both very creative! :)

      We know that Scotland hosted the first of the Halloween festivities, but perhaps you can do some more WONDERing about the first people who invented Halloween! Thanks for sharing your comment and Wonder for tomorrow– we will see you then! :)

    • WOW, your costume sounds like sPoOkY, Avery C! We bet you’ll have lots of fun trick-or-treating in your vampire gear this Halloween! Thanks for sharing, Wonder Friend Avery C! :)

  7. HI wonderopolis this is me Isaiah again my favorite costume is Batman and Ironman I don’t know which one to pick for Halloween my favorite superhero is Batman so will be picking out my Batman costume then bye wonderopolis. :)

    • We like your choices for Halloween costumes, Isaiah! We don’t think you can go wrong with either super hero, and we are glad to hear that you will be trick-or-treating as Batman this year! We Wonder if you’ll meet a fellow trick-or-treater dressed as Alfred, or perhaps someone riding around in the bat mobile!? :)

    • HOORAY, we think those are SUPER costume ideas, Karla G! We bet you will have a WONDERful time trick-or-treating… wearing your cape OR howling at the moon! :)

  8. Hi My name is Avery. I Love Halloween. This year I am going as a Vampire. I have fangs and a long red and black dress. I have been a witch, a princess, Elmo, and Tinkerbell before. The vampire is my favorite costume so far. Thank you,

    2nd Grade
    Sycamore Creek Elementary
    Pickerington, Ohio

    • Hello there, Wonder Friend Avery! We LOVE your enthusiasm about this candy-filled holiday! We bet your vampire costume is going to be SpOoKy and fun to wear– and all of your costumes sound very creative, too! Thanks for sharing your comment with us, Avery! We hope you have a SUPER day in 2nd grade today! :)

    • Hi there, Heidinet! We bet you can use your WONDERful imagination to think of a SUPER Halloween costume! We Wonder if you have a favorite character… from a book, TV show, or movie, that you would want to dress up as this holiday? :)

  9. I thnk tomorrow’s wonder is going to be about how to adapt and learn from our surroundings. Some of my favorite Halloween costumes are a black cat, and a zebra. I am being a zebra this year!!!!!!

    • What a SUPER guess, Ashley R! We think you are using your imagination, Wonder Friend– NICE WORK! Also, we really enjoy your zebra idea for a Halloween costume– we bet you’ll be a super zebra! :)

  10. HI GUYS!!! I L-O-V-E-D today’s wonder because dressing up for Halloween! YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!

    • Hello there, Betsy! We are oh-so-glad that you are WONDERing about Halloween costumes with us! We bet you have a SUPER costume in mind… is it a secret? Or are you still deciding what you will be? Have a WONDERful day! :)

  11. Hi Wonderopolis,

    My favorite costume is my spiderwitch costume I never knew we spent over 6.8 billion dollars on Halloween!

    Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. :) :)


    • WOW, a spiderwitch costume– that sounds GREAT, Fitz! We imagine that Halloween can be an expensive holiday if you buy everything! We bet making costumes is just as fun– it’s a way to add your own creative spin to your trick-or-treating adventure! :)

  12. I love Halloween! My mom helps me find the best costumes. One of my friends has peanut allergies and can’t eat most candy. I feel really bad for her. I hope this year she gets lots of peanut free candy! What are you going to be for Halloween?

    • Hey there, Ellie! We bet it’s fun to Wonder about Halloween costumes with your mom– using your imaginations together sounds like a great time! Also, it’s very important that you know about your friend’s peanut allergies– that way you can make sure she doesn’t eat something that she will have an allergic reaction to! We aren’t sure what we will dress up as for Halloween yet, but we are thinking perhaps a scientist, narwhal or a favorite character from a book! :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Chilly the Penguin! We bet you will have a great time trick-or-treating this year! We hope you stay nice and COOL! :)

  13. Hey there Wonderpolis I’m back! I would love to be a witch this Halloween. The only thing is I don’t know where to buy a full witch costume with a wig.

    Hope to hear from you soon.
    (P.S.) Wonderopolis rocks! Coolest website ever!!

    • Welcome back, Wonder Friend CC! We think your Halloween costume sounds very cool, complete with a wig and all! We think once you find a costume you like, it will be very difficult to recognize you under that disguise! Have a SUPER day, and thanks for WONDERing with us today! :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Y! We really appreciate your comment about Batman– he is certainly a great superhero! One of the cool things about Batman is that he uses his powers for good, to help protect the citizens of Gotham City! We hope you have a great time trick-or-treating this year– thanks for sharing your Wonder! :)

    • Thanks for sharing your SUPER costume, Emmy! We hope you have a fun time WONDERing what your costume will be this year, too! Have a WONDERful Wednesday! :)

  14. I am friends with Bryleigh and her sisters and I, are all Greek goddesses. I am the goddess Aphrodite. She is the goddess of love and beauty!! She is soooo pretty…. JUST LIKE ME!!!!

    • We love when all our Wonder Friends hang out and use their imaginations together– we think it’s cool that you are all dressing up as Grecians this Halloween, Barbie Doll! We bet it’s fun to research all the different qualities of the Greek goddesses– have a SUPER time trick-or-treating! :)

  15. The video is boring. But cool wonder. My friends and I are gonna be 1D. You should do a wonder about One Direction! Lots of girls would enjoy it! Oh and just asking…do you have any wonders about Mustaches? OR Bow ties? ORRR CHICHILLAS! ORRRRRRRRRRRRRR SUSPENDERS?

    • Hi there, Wonder Friend EE! We bet dressing up like One Direction will be a very fun way to spend your Halloween! You’ll have lots of fans for sure! :)

      We think your WONDERful ideas are SUPER– thanks for sharing what you Wonder about… who knows, perhaps it will be a Wonder in the future! We hope you’ll join us again soon! :)

  16. Hi this is Kai I lovve wonderopolis and I am going to be a doctor for Halloween but I prefer police or FBI or something like that.

    • Alright, we like your costume ideas, Kai! Your SUPER costumes just so happen to match this week’s Wonderopolis background– how COOL! We hope you have a fun and safe time trick-or-treating! :)

    • WOHOO, thanks for sharing your favorite Halloween costume, Gabby! We hope you have a SpOoKy good time on Halloween! :)

  17. MY favorite costume would HAVE to be the costume of either the greek god Hades, or Batman! I love Halloween! I hope all you guys/gals have an awesome time trick-or-treaking!

    • Hi there, Wonder Friend! We like your “I love Wonderopolis” name today! Thanks! :)

      We like your creativity with Halloween costumes! It’s so kind of you to wish all Wonder Friends a Happy Halloween! We hope you have a great, safe holiday, too! :)

  18. WONDEROPOLIS I now know what I am going to be for Halloween. I am going to be a ……. 1920 Golfer, both of my Grandmas are using old stuff and sewing them. :D I AM GOING TO LOOK SOOOOO OLD!! :D :D :D :D :D :D WHY AM I SO HAPPY!?

    • WOW, what a COOL costume, Wonder Friend Mystery! We bet you’ll be a great 1920s golfer– and it will be an original creation thanks to your Grandmas’ belongings! Have a SUPER day! :)

    • Very cool, Wonder Friend Wow! We bet you’ll be the cream of the crop tonight while you trick-or-treat! Have a very WONDERful day! :)

    • We bet you’ll have a SUPER time trick-or-treating as a vampire tonight, Cassandra! Happy Halloween, Wonder Friend! :)

    • We Wonder if you have a favorite costume for Halloween, Wonder Friend Y? We bet you had a SUPER time trick-or-treating earlier in the week! Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

  19. I like Holloween because it is fun to dress up and get a lot of candy! I like to see a lot of really scary kids dressed up and the houses really scary Holloween is one of my favoriote hoildays! What is one of your faviorte things about Holloween?

    • Those are some of our favorite things about Halloween too, Abigail! We think it’s a lot of fun to try to come up with creative costumes! What are you dressing up as this year? :D

    • Hello, WonderKid! Here is a WONDER about one of our favorite types of Halloween candy. Wonder #379: Can You Grow Candy Corn? Yummy! Thanks for WONDERing with us!:)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What’s your favorite Halloween costume?
  • When did people start dressing up for Halloween?
  • Can you make your own homemade Halloween costume?

Wonder Gallery

Halloween costumes 3 kids shutterstock_87871930Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Not sure what you want to dress up as for Halloween yet? Don’t fret! There’s still plenty of time to come up with a fabulous costume.

In fact, with a little help from a friend or family member, you can even make your own homemade Halloween costume! Of course, you first may need to make a trip to the store for a few supplies.

Check out the links below for instructions on how to make several different homemade Halloween costumes:

When you’re finished, post a picture of you wearing your homemade costume on Facebook. We can’t wait to see what you make!

Still Wondering

Explore ArtsEdge’s Keeping Up With the Addamses feature to check out Halloween decorating secrets from theater designers!

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