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It’s time to get ready for Halloween! We’ve brought together a “mood board” of seasonally appropriate costume images (including a selection from one of JSTOR’s Open Community Collections) to offer inspiration for October 31st (or whenever the festivities are happening in our COVID-19 times). Whether you’re going for something classically creepy, something Shakespearean, or just something whimsical and fun, these costume ideas will help you celebrate the spirit of All Hallows’ Eve! 🎃

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Classic plague doctor vibes. A physician wearing a seventeenth century plague preventive costume.



You could say Death Becomes Her! This figure of a woman is divided in two parts: half skeleton, half lady of fashion, standing next to a obelisk inscribed with biblical quotations. 1700s.


A young boy and his cat are on a pirate ship
Dressing as a pirate (with cat) never goes out of style!


Behold Ophelia, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. A costume design by John Seymour Lucas (1849-1923).


We adore the studied simplicity of this baker from Great Britain. From The Costume of Great Britain by W.H. Pyne, 1805.


What could be more fun than a fruit basket (or the Fruit of the Loom)! From a faculty and staff Halloween party at Santa Rosa Junior College, 1982. (Open Community Collections.)


This doctors’ protective costume for pneumonic plague is COVID-19 appropriate and weird-monster adaptable. (O.K., so we really like the plague doctor thing.) From an outbreak of pneumonic plague, Manchuria, 1910-1911.


A woman dancing the tarantella!


The three witches, from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, stand in profile, 1791.


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