Retro Halloween: Classic Costume Ideas Still Tops

Retro Staff Comments

Groucho Marx GlassesRemember the time when you could just borrow dad’s suit and don a pair of Groucho glasses, and that was your Halloween costume? Perhaps place a pocket protector in one of dad’s work shirts and sport broken eye wear, going as a geek?

It’s amazing how elaborate we’ve gotten with high-dollar Halloween costumes. When I was a kid, we made ghost costumes out of old bed sheets, and original costumes were made out of things around the house, like cardboard and other scraps.

This year, it’s expected Americans will spend more than $2.5 billion dressing up for Halloween. Granted, that includes transforming our pets into creepy creatures and superheroes.

While we’re spending more, though, it’s interesting that our “characters” of choice are rather classic. The most popular costume for kids are still princesses, ghosts, zombies, vampires, pirates, superheroes, Disney characters and witches. Adults still prefer going out as witches, ghosts, zombies and superheroes (prominently as Batman).

Halloween Costume: Vintage Film Star

Silent Film Stars!

As for pets—notably dogs—pumpkins, devils and hot dogs are tops. Though, in all my years trick-or-treating in the ’70s and ’80s, I never saw one dog decked out for Halloween. You?

Today there are tons of do-it-yourself sites to make classic costumes, leaving you to buy just one accessory, like a hat or a pair of glasses. I especially like the inspiration I found at The Glamorous Housewife, which includes an awesome “Silent Film Star” one, complete with black board.

But there’s something to be said—and appreciated—for the times when we used shortening to “grease” our hair, mom’s lipstick for “blood”, and a modified pillowcase as a cape. I think in all my years dressing up for Halloween, I wore but one store-bought mask. Nowadays, whenever I see a kid wearing something made at home, especially when it’s a simple, classic costume, I have to take a moment and say, “Ahh, that’s what it’s all about…”



Last updated: Oct 10, 2013
Filed under: Retro Fashion Tagged with: costumes, eyewear, halloween