Children's Costumes


Figure 1.--All children loved to dress up in fancy costumes. Children from wealthy families can often endulge their fanatasies. The little girl here is one of the most famous people in the world--Britain's beloved Queen mum. Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (1900-2002), future Queen Elizabeth, consort of King George VI, wears a Renaissance fancy-dress costume with her brother, Lord David Bowes-Lyon at Glamis Castle, Angus, their Scottish home. The photograph was taken in 1909.

Children of all ages enjoy dressing up in costumes. This has been especially popular on Halloween which was initially a children's event. At least in America this has become increasingly popular with adults. Of course, younger children enjoy playing in costumes even when there is no special occassion involved. We have noted costume balls to be popular events for adults in the 18th century and probably earlier.

Hollidays

Some hollidays are notable for children dressing up in costumes. In America it is Halloeen that is most notable for costumes, with children putting on costumes for "trick or treat". Other countries have other hollidays where they dress up. Carnival is one such day, although in many countries it is the adults who dress up. In Greece the children dres up for Carnival, called Apokries.

Halloween

Children of all ages enjoy dressing up in costumes. This has been especially popular on Halloween which was initially a children's event. At least in America this has become increasingly popular with adults. Halloween is the evening of October 31 which is All Saints Day. In American Halloween came to be observed by children by dressing up in scarry or other costumes and play trick or treat. I am not sure about the origins of Haloween. The first references date to about 1550. It has apparently evolved from the feast of Allhallows or All Saints Day on November 1. This celebration dates from the 14th or 15th Centuries. Allhallows was a shortened form of Allhallowsmas.

Costume Play

Of course, younger children enjoy playing in costumes even when there is no special occassion involved. We noted that in the inter-war years (1920s-30s) that American mail order catalogs carried costumes for cowboys, Indians, soldiers, policemen, and others. Halloeen costumes were once home made. Inexpensive Halloween costumes ar carried seasonally by major retailers.

Fancy Dress

Fancy dress costumes were very popular in the late 19th and early 20 century. These might be extremely elaborate costumes. Of course it was only the well-to-do that could afford elaborate costumes. We note costumed parties. It was also popular to be photographed in fancy costumes. We have also noted post card companies coming out with series of costumes for well-known figures. We have nted similar trends in several different countries.

Country Trends

HBC has noted considerable difference in costume trends in different countries. This is in part due to the different holidays for which children wear costumes. In America the preminent holliday for which costumes are worn is Halloween trick or treating. This was, however, a destinctly American celebration, although in recent years it has begun to become popular in other countries. Many European countries have annual festivals foe which many, not just children, dress up in folk or historical costumes. Economic afluence is another factor as dressing up in costumes is most common in affluent countries and among children from middle and upper-clas families.

Costume Balls

We have noted costume balls to be popular events for adults in the 18th century and probably earlier.

Costume Makers

A number of costume makers specialize or have costumes based on historic and actual traditional clothing styles. We will list here some of the companies that offer such garments.

The Magic Wardrobe

The Magic Wardrobe is a maker of fantasy, exotic, sci-Fi, period and holiday costumes, gifts and accessories. Some of the costumes such as Gainsborough's Blue Boy show considrable attention to historical accuarcy.







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Created: April 3, 2002
Last updated: 3:37 AM 6/17/2005