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October 29, 2011

Twelve Fun Vintage Halloween Costume Ideas From Adorable To Hilarious

By RetroRuth

Have you decided on a Halloween costume yet?  I would like to say that Tom and I have absolutely perfect vintage Mad Men costumes that we are going to prance around and hand out candy to bewildered children in but, when you dress like it’s the 1960’s normally, it makes for a pretty boring Halloween costume. So, we have decided to catapult into the modern age and dress as Finn and Beemo from Adventure Time. Honestly, they aren’t fancy costumes. They are really just t-shirts that I bought from Threadless. But hey, what kind of holiday would Halloween be if you couldn’t dress up as your favorite cartoon character?

But if you DON’T have a costume yet, may I offer this humble selection of vintage Halloween costumes?  If you work really hard, you just might get them made in time for trick-or-treating.

Cowboy Costume

1. A cowboy riding a horse. Genius!

Car Costume

2. A Surrey With The Fringe On Top.


Birdcage Costume

3. A bird…who’s outgrown her cage.

A great costume for an overactive child you need to keep tabs on.

As another hilarious side note, the arrow you see points to a little “feed tray” that is supposed to be filled with jelly bean “bird seeds’.” The instructions state: If the bird can’t eat the seeds, the other guests at the party can and will enjoy them.

Which sounds vaguely threatening to me.

Check out the October 1957 issue of Popular Mechanics for instructions to build these costumes!

Or you could go an easier route, like these costumes from the October 1947 issue of The Rotarian. No instructions for these, but I think you guys are smart enough to wing it.

Rotarian Costumes 2

4. Hula girls and their servicemen.

Rotarian Costumes

Here is a mess of kids in costumes from a children’s party. My favorite are:

5. The Lone Ranger

6. A Garden Gnome

Rotarian Costumes 3

More costumes from an December 1946 issue of the Rotarian, including:

7. A Dutch Couple.

Back to Popular Mechanics, the November 1934 issue, for some more great costumes with instructions.

Tent and Robot

8. A Walking Tent (!)

9. A Robot.

Gladiator Costume

10. Alarm clock

11.  A Gladiator

Potato Sack

And a…12. A potato sack.


Remember: Walk by Keeping Feet Spread Apart. 

Otherwise, you are totally screwed.

Stay tuned for mid-century Halloween party planning tips on Monday AND a special early Mid-Century Menu with kids’ Halloween Party Food from Betty Crocker!

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4 Responses to Twelve Fun Vintage Halloween Costume Ideas From Adorable To Hilarious

  1. Sara in AZ Reply

    October 29, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Great post Ruth! These are hee-larious!!! That potato sack one is insane, I think whoever came up with that one had to have a death wish! That bird one kills me too. Yes, you are right “CAN and WILL enjoy them”, I picture her throwing them at the other guests. 🙂

  2. Andrea Reply

    October 29, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    OK, that picture with the various kids in costumes has some seriously creepy looking costumes! Especially the kid in the bottom right – I think he may haunt my nightmares for awhile! The bird in a cage costume is seriously cracking me up!

  3. DrJulieAnn aka The Modern Retro Woman Reply

    October 30, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I agree, Andrea, that kid on the right IS creepy. The kid’s name is probably Freddy Kruger.

  4. Miri Reply

    October 30, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I laughed so hard I cried! I want to be that walking tent-no worries about hair or wrinkles.

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