Halloween Through the Decades


Image Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Jillian DeMaio, Staff Writer

For many, Halloween night is a night to dress up with friends or family and trick or treat around town; however, have you ever wondered what Halloween costumes looked like when your parents were young or even when you were a baby? Most likely they were similar to the costumes we have today, inspired by the new video game or the most popular celebrity at the time.

To start, in 1980 one of the most popular Halloween costumes was Pac-man, now the main character of a vintage game, but then it was the newest and most popular video game available. Pac-man was first released on May 22, 1980, and in those few months took the country by storm. Children throughout the country replicated Pac-man’s timeless look any way they could that night, some bought masks while others painted their faces yellow but they all shared a love for the new game despite their different ways of showing it. 

In 1985, among the most popular costumes was Hulk Hogan. Terry Eugene Bollea, more commonly known as the retired wrestler Hulk Hogan, competed in his last wrestling match in 2006 and since then he has been a well-known figure in America; however, in 1985, he was at the height of his career. Many people in 1985, wrestling fans or not, had taken it upon themselves to resemble the famous wrestler for Halloween. Even today, the costume is recognizable and a young child is capable of understanding the concept of the costume.

In 1990, the most replicated Halloween costume of the year was teenage mutant ninja turtles. The show was first released in March of 1990 and automatically had children hooked! When it was originally released, it automatically had children both young and old ready to find the costume in stores.  Similar phenomena can be seen around Halloween today when a new show comes out only months before the big holiday.

In 1995 one of the most popular Halloween costumes included characters from Startrek. To elaborate, in 1966 the original Startrek television show was created and released to the public. Since the original show’s release,  three live-action spin-offs and other spin-off-like shows can be found from a number of years, dating back to 1993.  Although the show only lasted three seasons, it left an impression on the public. This can be seen with how popular the famous costumes were on Halloween twenty-nine years after the original release. 

In Halloween of 2000, one of the most desired Halloween costumes was Austin Powers, the main character of a movie that came out three years prior. Austin Powers is a three-movie comedy series following a spy, Austin Powers, who survives through time and is on a mission to defeat a villain. The spy from the sixties was a velvet-suited man that had the new millennium transfixed enough to send their Halloween in his suits. 

In 2005 the most popular Halloween costume was Star Wars characters. The release of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith prompted a whole new generation of children and sci-fi lovers to fall in love with the widely known characters we know today. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Dark Vader, Padme, Yoda, and C-3PO were among the most popular and loved among the fandom and the new movies allowed a younger group to get into the universe just as others had done before them. 

Furthermore, in 2010 the most popular costume was Lady Gaga. The same year that she rocked her meat dress was the same year that many fans took up the challenge of recreating her iconic looks. Whichever way her fans decided to replicate her, anywhere from a lightning bolt eye to a hair bow made of hair, there was no shortage of Lady Gaga’s that Halloween night.

In 2015 Harley Quinn took the most popular costume of the year. The popular character was originally released in the DC comics; however, when these beloved stories were turned into movies, the audience for the character grew even more widespread. The costumes featured Quinn’s iconic red and blue pigtails and legendary matching makeup without changing much from the original. 

Finally, in 2020 Spiderman was among the top 8 costumes in the US. Due to COVID 19, costumes and trick or treating were limited but that didn’t stop Halloween lovers from dressing up – costumes with face coverings prevailed, resulting in Spiderman being among the most bought costumes of the year. 

Many people will return to traditional Halloween celebrations this year since COVID 19 restrictions have loosened. The most popular costume of this year is still being determined but with Halloween less than a few days away, most likely the majority of people have already secured their costumes! We have to wait and see which Halloween costume was our favorite this year!