Why we love Victorian Halloween costumes (And you should too)

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Victorian Halloween costumes are quite popular during Halloween. Most people think of Halloween as an American dress-up festival. But the origin of Halloween is much different than what most people think. The history of Halloween is related to the 2000 years old Celtic festival of Samhain.
Celtic people celebrated 1st November as Samhain. Samhain marked the end of the summer and the beginning of winter. The Celtic believed that the boundary between the world of the living and dead got thinner the day before Samhain. As a result, the deceased would revisit the mortal world during that time. So, they lit large bonfires in each village to ward off the evil spirits on 31st October.

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1900s Halloween party
Victorian Halloween party

Victorian Halloween

People think of the Victorian era as an uptight class-based society. So the thought of them celebrating Halloween is quite contradictory. But the Victorian people celebrated Halloween in some form. Their Halloween celebration is not much different than today’s world. People of all classes dressed up with creepy costumes. They organized Halloween parties with fortune-telling, ghost stories, and other games. The Victorian people were very interested in horror stories.
Unlike the Celtics, the Victorian people offered food to the poor instead of the dead. As some people suggest, Queen Victoria had no problem with people celebrating Halloween. Halloween celebrations became quite common during the latter half of the 19th century in Britain.

Victorian Halloween Costumes

Like modern times, the Victorian people also liked to dress up for Halloween. Their dressing was very creepy and disturbing. They went all-in for the spooky horror vibe. Some people wanted to wear the costume of supernatural beings and creatures from folklore. The popular costumes were vampire, bat, witch costumes.

Victorian Halloween bat costume
Image: Women wearing a bat costume

But most of the people wear some kind of mask with regular clothes. The mask design was alarming. Most of the masks looked like a ripped human face, oversized human, animal, or doll’s head. These costumes were way too creepy compared to today’s Halloween costumes.

Victorian Halloween dress
Image: Victorian people dressed up for Halloween

But not all people were into these creepy costumes. Some people tried to bring a cuter look to their Halloween costume. This trend was prevalent in little children. Some children wore cuter costumes over those creepy costumes.

Victorian children Halloween dress
Image: Children dressed up for Halloween

Unfortunately, Victorian Halloween history is not well documented. So, it is hard to point out the Halloween costume trend in every decade of that era. But a few available pictures like these sum up the Halloween costume choice of the Victorian people.

Victorian costumes guide for 21st Century Halloween

Unlike the Victorian era, people now have more costume choices for Halloween than ever. People now use Halloween as an excuse to wear some historical or fictional costume. Victorian-style dresses are very popular for Halloween. But nowadays, people do not imitate Victorian Halloween costumes. Instead, they prefer the day to day clothes of the Victorian People. It is still easy to find Victorian style costumes for men, women, and children.

Women

The dresses of the high-class Victorian women are quite popular for Halloween. Many women prefer to wear a Victorian style dress as a part of their Halloween costume. The Victorian women wore a tight corset over a bodice or chemisette on the upper body. For the lower body, they wore a crinoline or a bustle.

Victorian bustle
Image: Victorian women wearing a bustle

The design of their dress went through a lot of changes during the era. The significant changes occurred in their neckline, sleeves, and crinoline. Each decade had a different design for women’s dresses. So, it is possible to make a dress with a different design every year.
You can enhance your costumes with props like an umbrella, hat, gloves, pale face powder, and hair wigs. Victorian women used umbrellas and hats to protect themselves from the sun. Their hats were decorated with exotic plumes, silk flowers, and ribbons. Victorian women wanted to have pale flawless skin. So, if you want to go for full-blown Victorian women look, then you should remember these traits.

Victorian Hats
Image: Victorian style hat

But trying to get a perfect Victorian woman look is hard for many women. In that case, you may consider a Victorian-inspired dress from online shops. There are many cheap, suitable for looking at Victorian-inspired dresses available.

Victorian Dresses
Image: Victorian-style dresses from AliExpress

But if you are bored with Victorian dresses, you may consider Victorian maid outfits. Victorian maid outfits are not as popular as Victorian dresses. But it is an excellent alternative to the regular Victorian women’s dresses.

Victorian maid's dress
Image: Victorian maid Costume

Men

Victorian man’s dress choice changed from decade to decade. The fundamental part of their costume remained constant. They wore various types of coats during the Victorian era. They were frock coats, dark tailcoats, sack coats, and blazers. Under the coat, they wore a black vest. The shirt design also went through some changes. They used both low collar and turnover collar shirts. They used all sorts of necktie and bow ties. Victorian men liked to wear black trousers. Their clothes usually had tight-fitting.

Victorian men dress
Image: Illustration of Victorian men

But to have a perfect Victorian man look, you need more than the clothing. To complete your looks, you also need a top hat, a walking stick, and a good mustache. With these props, you will achieve a perfect Victorian-inspired costume for Halloween.

Children

For your children, you have a lot of freedom. You can use a Victorian-inspired children costume. Or, you can make a miniature version of the adult costume for them. You can even dress them like the Victorian people with ragged clothes and creepy masks.

Conclusion

The Victorian had a fascinating choice for their Halloween costume. Victorian Halloween costumes were scary and creepy. But that also showed how much they liked to dress up for Halloween. If you want a Victorian-inspired costume for Halloween, you have a lot of choices. You can make them yourself or buy them from a shop or online store.