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First Halloween Costumes: Skins, Skulls, and Skirts

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Lydia King
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« on: October 31, 2009, 04:10:12 am »

Animal Spirits Inspired Ancient "Halloween Costumes"

Ancient Roman writers recorded that tribes in what is now Germany and France held riotous ceremonies where they donned the heads and skins of wild mammals as costumes to connect with animal spirits.

The custom of wearing animal hides at bonfire-lighted Celtic feast ceremonies survived until recent times, Nilsen notes.

"This was certainly done at Martinmas [the November 11 Christian feast of St. Martin] in Ireland and Scotland, which, in the old calendar, would be Halloween," he said.

"There might have been an excess of livestock, so it would make sense to slaughter an animal," Nilsen said.
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