15 Vintage Halloween Costumes That Could Still Be Worn Today
Hello, nostalgia! These cute Halloween costume pics might make you long for the past.
Bride and groom (1950)
“In 1950, when I was three years old, I was the bride and my sister Earleen, 6, was the groom in this Halloween photo taken in Redmond, Oregon,” writes Linda Arensmeier Rud of Juneau, Alaska. “We won first place in a local costume contest. My mother, Tonie Arensmeier, made the outfits, and we played with them until they were in shreds.”
Hopping back to Halloween 1950, here’s a photo of a vintage Halloween costume—an adorable bunny—from Dolores Sabia of Carlstadt, New Jersey. “My dad worked for the Passaic Rubber Co. and made the carrot by dyeing and shaping some rubber,” she writes. If bunnies aren’t your thing, try one of these punny Halloween costumes guaranteed to make everyone chuckle in amusement.
“In 1954, we lived on 42nd Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My mother must have had some old sheets to spare, as she made me and my older brother, Ken, ghost costumes for Halloween,” writes Patricia Kasbohm Sohley of Fishers, Indiana. “All went well until my brother donned his costume—I hadn’t seen him put the costume on, so I refused to pose next to him for a photograph until I made sure that it was really him under that sheet. After taking a peek under it, I was satisfied and posed alongside him. Let the trick-or-treating begin!”
A bandit, a ghoul, and a cowpoke (1956)
A seafaring bandit, a bloodsucking ghoul and a cowpoke were ready to head out in search of Halloween loot in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1956. “I’m the vampire in the middle, my brother Terry is the pirate, and our cousin Jeff Alexander is the cowboy,” says Ron Holley of Chandler, Arizona. “We were sometimes disappointed we couldn’t wear more than the masks when the weather got too cold.” Don’t miss the best group Halloween costumes every family must try at least once!
Two-year-old Steve was a straight shooter in this vintage Halloween photo from 1957, courtesy of Olga Wolfe of Albany, Wisconsin. Back then, many little buckaroos dreamed of being just like Roy Rogers.
Roman centurion (1960)
“My brother is six years younger than I am and has always enjoyed dressing up. I was his costume designer when we were young,” writes Heather Anderson of Buffalo, New York. “In 1960, at age eight, my brother was a Roman centurion. We made the kilt and cape from an old red tablecloth and the helmet from gold-painted papier-mâché. The dagger was real, but my father would let him hold it only while we took the photos.” Don’t miss these other fun Halloween costumes any adult can make themselves on a dime!
In 1962, when Heather Anderson’s brother was 10, he dressed as a pharaoh. A T-shirt, a couple of dish towels, miscellaneous bits of jewelry, and some creative bending of metal rods created the vintage Halloween look.
Two sophisticated ladies (1965)
Courtesy Dara Gunnell/Reminisce
Nothing is more hysterical than spotting two little girls dressed up as grown-up ladies. As you can see, all it takes are a set of pearls, a silk blouse, and a wig to throw the look together! You can tell the girls are really getting into character with their demure smirks. Try these 8 easy Halloween face paint ideas that your kids will absolutely love.
A queen, a ghost, and a doll (1966)
Courtesy Karen Withers/Reminisce
You can tell that these three siblings loved trick-or-treating on Halloween! Karen dressed up like royalty for the night; her little brother, Evart, was a scary ghost; and her sister Janice dressed up as a doll.
An astronaut, a princess, and a ghostly baseball player (1969)
“We wore winter clothing to go trick-or-treating in Milwaukee on this cold October afternoon in 1969,” says Reminisce art director Cheryl Michalek. “My brother Chris’ snowsuit doubled as a space suit after my mom, Judy, put a NASA sticker on it. One of Mom’s nighties served as a princess dress for me, and our friend Bruce Alberts layered up as a ghoulish ballplayer. I remember how those masks mashed our noses, and the eyeholes never seemed to line up right!” Plus, don’t forget to dress up your pet for Halloween in one of these hilarious dog costumes.
Milk carton (late 1970s)
“Being a single mom, and raising my daughter, Erin, on a very tight budget, I needed to be creative with her Halloween costumes,” writes Lisa O’Brien of Campbell Hall, New York. “Our town of Hicksville, New York, had a children’s Halloween party, and almost every year, Erin would win the prize for most original costume. It rained the year she dressed up as the milk container, but she stayed nice and dry inside her cardboard carton. I fashioned the costumes so that she could wear a coat underneath and stay warm while she collected her goodies trick-or-treating.“
A two-headed ghost
Courtesy Bill Herzog/Reminisce
Now this ghost is smart! He knew that scaring people with two heads was better than one. Bill Herzog’s son Don dressed up as a hilarious two-headed ghost one Halloween. Take a look at these adorable mommy-and-baby-themed Halloween costumes.
Flower power (late 1970s)
Another example of Lisa O’Brien’s creative, budget-friendly costumes for her daughter, Erin. The simplicity of a flower is a vintage Halloween costume that is both easy and simple! Here are some more cheap Halloween costumes for kids that anyone can DIY.
“These two happy clowns, who surprised me on Halloween 1979, are my grandsons Matthew and Eric Redden, ages 7 and 5, respectively,” says B.J. Redden of Holyoke, Massachusetts. “As you can see, Matt got into the Halloween spirit by losing a couple of teeth right before the holiday.”
Grim Reaper (mid-1980s)
Courtesy Lynn Anderson/Reminisce
Lynn Anderson’s teenage son needed a last-minute Halloween costume. Her solution: seven yards of black cotton cut and sewn into a hooded gown. “It was worn for several years by several different family members,” says Anderson. “Sometimes as a ghoul, a monk, or whatever the imagination designed it to be.” For more clever costume inspiration, check out these 17 genius Halloween costumes you can throw together at the last minute.