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Photos: Classic Halloween costumes from 1865 to today

How have Halloween costumes changed since 1865? Not too much.
Some costumes never go out of style.

Halloween 2022 is starting to look a little more like it did in previous years. 

To celebrate the tradition of dressing up for Halloween, Stacker scoured the archives to find 50 photos of Halloween costumes from 1865 to today. The usual suspects pop up throughout the centuries—cats, witches, ghosts, and ghouls—but pop culture references also make an appearance, from Darth Vader to Ronald Reagan.


London Stereoscopic Company // Getty Images

Halloween pumpkin mask

A figure wearing a white cape and a Halloween pumpkin mask takes a person by surprise in their kitchen, circa 1865.


Historic Photo Archive // Getty Images


A person wearing a ghost costume behind a table with Halloween decorations in a rural schoolhouse, circa 1905.


Kirn Vintage Stock // Getty Images

Early 20th-century group photo

Young men in costumes pose for a group photo at the beginning of the 20th century.


Transcendental Graphics // Getty Images

A coven of witches

A group of women costumed as a coven of witches pose for a Halloween photo, circa 1910, in the United States.


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Three young men are dressed up as a jail prisoner, Annie Oakley, and spade playing card.


Kirn Vintage Stock // Getty Images

Halloween elf

A young woman dressed as an elf for Halloween on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Kirn Vintage Stock // Getty Images

Little Bo Peep

A young woman dressed as Little Bo Peep poses for a Halloween photo on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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A mixed bag

A group of children wear costumes ranging from a skeleton ghost to an angry pirate in an undated photo.

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A trio of kids dressed up as ghosts are ready for trick-or-treating, circa 1925.

Underwood Archives // Getty Images


A young woman dressed as a witch holds a broom on Halloween in the late 1920s or early 1930s.

Bettmann // Getty Images

Good witch

A portrait of a young woman at a Halloween party dressed in a silk party dress and a pointed hat, circa 1940s.

Bettmann // Getty Images

Nurse and toy soldier

A group of young children dressed up for Halloween trick or treat in Jersey City, New Jersey, circa 1940s.

John Springer Collection // Getty Images


Louis Armstrong on stage is frightened by a skeleton during the song "Skeleton in the Closet," from the movie "Pennies from Heaven."

Kirn Vintage Stock // Getty Images


A man dressed as the devil and a woman dressed as an armless sculpture show off their costumes, circa 1940.

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A woman with a pig mask poses for a photo, circa 1940.

H. Armstrong Roberts // Getty Images


A woman wearing a pirate costume, circa 1940s.

H. Armstrong Roberts // Getty Images


A little girl poses in a fancy outfit holding a paper mache jack-o'-lantern, circa 1945.

Robert Abbott Sengstacke // Getty Images


American child—and future photojournalist—Robert Abbott Sengstacke (left) poses dressed as a cowboy with other children at a Halloween party, circa late 1940s.

De Carvalho Collection // Getty Images


American actress and model Dusty Anderson wearing a Halloween cat costume in the late '40s for a publicity shot.

Hulton Archive // Getty Images


Children in costumes arriving at a Halloween party, circa 1955. A sign on the door warns "BEWARE GHOSTS ARE WITHIN!"

Michael Ochs Archives // Getty Images

Sputnik and a Soviet officer

A couple dressed as Sputnik and a Soviet officer attend a party on Oct. 31, 1957, in Los Angeles.

Denver Post // Getty Images

Royalty, a clown, and a cheetah

Students (Michelle Gordon, Jimmy Dallarosa, and Wendy Meyer) at Secrest School Plans Carnival in 1969 trying on costumes.

American Stock // Getty Images

A knight and her friends

A group of children wearing Halloween costumes wait in a trick-or-treat line to receive apples from an officer at a police precinct, circa 1960.

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Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat

Kirk, 6, and Carey Tressman, 7, wear costumes with reflective tape to keep them safe while trick-or-treating in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1960.

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Boy from Mars

Four-year old William Caban, dressed as a boy from Mars, visits a Los Angeles police station on Oct. 31, 1961.

The Boston Globe // Getty Images

A scarecrow, jack-o'-lantern, and some friends

A group of children dressed for Halloween stand together on a porch at a house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Oct. 21, 1961.

The Boston Globe // Getty Images

A record player and a ghost

Five-year-old Stephen Knapp, dressed as a record player, and 7-year-old John McNichol, dressed as ghost, ask for contributions to UNICEF along Newbury Street in Boston on Oct. 31, 1974.

Images Of Our Lives // Getty Images

A gypsy, Groucho Marx, and a witch

Four children in Halloween costumes get ready to trick or treat, circa 1975.

H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock // Getty Images

Mary Had a Little Lamb

A girl dressed as Mary from "Mary had a Little Lamb" for Halloween, circa 1970s.

The Boston Globe // Getty Images

C-3P0 and Darth Vader

Louis Seltvitella as C-3P0 and Jim Webb as Darth Vader walk downstairs at Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Oct. 31, 1977.

Harvey L. Silver // Getty Images

Paul Stanley from Kiss

An 11-year-old Kiss fan poses in his Paul Stanley makeup on Halloween 1971.

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Francois LE DIASCORN // Getty Images

A chef and Uncle Fester with Thing

A chef with a knife in his head stands near Uncle Fester and Thing from "The Addams Family," circa 1980s.

Francois LE DIASCORN // Getty Images


A young child trick-or-treating in a Spider-Man costume in Suncook, New Hampshire, circa 1980s.

Francois LE DIASCORN // Getty Images


Ghostly phantoms on Halloween Eve, circa 1980, in Salem, Massachusetts.

Bettmann // Getty Images

Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan

Two kids wearing masks of President Jimmy Carter and GOP presidential hopeful Ronald Reagan go trick-or-treating on Oct. 31, 1980.

ullstein bild // Getty Images

Various children's costumes

Children and adults dressed up for Halloween 1985.

Joe Sohm/Visions of America // Getty Images

Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup, Snow White, a ballerina, and a football player

An adult and children dressed in Halloween costumes, Webster Groves, Missouri, circa 1990.

Photofusion // Getty Images

A cat and some ghouls

Children trick-or-treating wearing ghoulish costumes on Halloween in the U.K., circa 1990.

Joe Sohm/Visions of America // Getty Images

A witch, ghoul, ninja, and pirate

Children dressed in Halloween costumes in Oak View, California, 1996.

Los Angeles Times // Getty Images

Where's Waldo

Terry Hartshorn and Sharon Hartshorn pose for a caricature artist in "Where's Waldo" costumes during the Halloween bash to benefit theater company Stopgap in 1996.

The Boston Globe // Getty Images


Aliyha Alleyne, 3, left, and Kadeem Dixon, 5, dressed as lions from "The Lion King" pose during a costume contest at the Franklin Park Zoo's annual Zoo Howl in Boston on Oct. 31, 1998.

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Uncle Sam and Statue of Liberty

Heidi Miller, an officer with the Bloomington, Minnesota, Police Department passes out candy to trick-or-treaters on Oct. 31, 2001, at the Mall of America.

Mario Tama // Getty Images

Dr. Evil

A person dressed up as "Austin Powers'" character Dr. Evil for the Halloween Parade in Manhattan.

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Donald Trump

Katie Couric dresses up as Donald Trump on the Halloween episode of "The Today Show" at NBC Studios in New York City on Oct. 29, 2004.

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Scream and monster

Children in costume look in through a window in Peebles, Scottish Borders, in the U.K. on Oct. 31, 2005.

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A young boy poses in a "Scream" mask with an axe on Halloween in North Bondi, Sydney, Australia, on Oct. 31, 2008.

TIMOTHY A. CLARY // Getty Images

An iPad

Oscar the Bichon Frise dressed as an iPad during the Tompkins Square Park 20th Annual Halloween Dog Parade, Oct. 23, 2010, in New York City.


Gareth Cattermole // Getty Images

Post Malone

Rita Ora dresses as Post Malone for the KISS Haunted House Party at the SSE Arena in London on Oct. 26, 2018.

Chelsea Guglielmino // Getty Images

Captain America and Wonder Woman

Participants dressed as Captain America and Wonder Woman—and baby Wonder Woman—are seen at the Haute Dog Howl'oween Parade at Marina Vista Park in Long Beach, California, on Oct. 27, 2019.