Halloween costumes have changed a lot through the years, and you might be surprised what Halloween costumes looked like the year you were born.
From classic Halloween costumes to superheroes and politically charged masks, these Halloween costumes spoke to popular interests of the time.
Coming up with an original Halloween costume is hard, so why not take some inspiration from the past?
Every moment has its own Halloween trends: 2008 was the year of the Joker from "The Dark Knight" and the past couple of years had a lot of "Star Wars" and Donald Trump costumes.
But in general, you'll see the same types of things over and over again. Disney characters, the Wizard of Oz, and classic characters like Frankenstein's monster are constantly reappearing year after year.
Here are what Halloween costumes looked like every year you — or your kids — were born.
1976: Horror movies have long been an inspiration for costumes.
Bill Schuck's cape, ruffled shirt, and moustache could make him the villain of any movie with a spooky castle.
1977: Burlesque-like costumes are also nothing new.
Here are two revelers at New York's Studio 54.
1978: Pharaohs and bug-eyed aliens are Halloween perennials.
The annual Halloween party at Studio 54 was a major event.
1979: Halloween costumes can double as a wedding dress and tuxedo.
At a wedding in Grants Pass, Oregon, a couple got married in Halloween outfits. Their guests showed up in costumes, too. A Bride of Frankenstein dress is still a bridal dress, after all.
1980: The Groucho Marx glasses are always in vogue.
If you want to lighten the mood, Groucho glasses, eyebrows, and a mustache will do it.
1981: Everyone loves it when people swing a big ax.
Want to bring your haunted house up a notch? Have a woman pretend to be a psychopath and swing around a big ax. The image is a Halloween classic, especially after the release of "The Shining."
1982: "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" was all the rage.
Steven Spielberg's charming and creepy alien, introduced in his blockbuster the summer of that year, had a pop culture moment during Halloween.
1983: Clever costumes have always been important.
Making a witty costume has always been a fun part of Halloween. This Mona Lisa one at New York City's Halloween parade is one great example.
1984: Raunchy costumes are also a classic choice.
This group costume at New York's 11th annual Halloween parade seems to be a banana split, but it looks like the banana has something else going on.
1985: In space, it's hard to get the materials for an impressive costume.
Members of the Challenger crew did their best with the materials they had.
1986: Even professional baseball players dress up.
Putting on a mask that makes you look like an old man is sure to disarm any opponent on the field.
1987: The Wall Street crash didn't stop people from dressing up as bulls.
Wall Street "bulls" are optimistic and aggressive about a growing market.
1988: Every four years, people dress up as presidential candidates.
In an election year, Halloween takes place just a few days before Election Day. In 1988, eyes were on George Bush and Michael Dukakis.
1989: Realistic, scary masks inspired by horror movies were all the rage.
The Associated Press ran an item saying that "experts in child psychology say that parents should be careful in exposing small children to the more scary aspects of Halloween."
1990: The most important part of any convincing Halloween costume is the mask, like these here.
Whether for pop culture or politics, putting on a different face is the whole point of a good costume.
1991: Even with scary costumes, the details matter.
Want to make your mummy costume creepier? Add a rat crawling up your body.
1992: Comic book characters were popular costumes before they were big movies.
In 1992, Spider-Man was neither a big-screen hero nor the star of the popular animated TV show (that would be a couple of years later), but kids still dressed up as him and other superheroes because of the popular comics.
1993: Costumes that stereotypically depict a culture have always been around, but definitely shouldn't be anymore.
Definitely don't do this, but here's a trick-or-treater dressed up in a stereotypical Mexican outfit at Al Gore's house.
1994: The O.J. Simpson trial gripped the nation and inspired people's Halloween costumes.
Reporters outside of the Los Angeles courthouse wore Robert Shapiro masks as they waited for him to leave the building. People made custom-made, gruesome costumes of Simpson himself, like the one above, which cost $50.
1995: Disney couple's costumes are a firm staple of every Halloween.
The late 1980s and early 1990s marked the Disney Renaissance, with movies like "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast," introducing their iconic outfits to the world. Here's Al and Tipper Gore dressed as the characters from the latter movie.
1996: Dressing up your kids as peas in a pod is a fail-safe move.
Here's a group of quadruplets in Winnipeg.
1997: Also, dressing up your dog.
This golden retriever doesn't really have three heads.
1998: The sexy feline costume is yet another classic look.
Here's Jamie Lee Curtis dressed up as a leopard for a benefit event.
1999: The campy costumes of "The Wizard of Oz" are another perennial favorite.
Even in the movie, they look like they're in Halloween costumes.
2000: The Lewinsky Scandal was the butt of every joke.
With Bill Clinton's presidency winding down, his affair with Monica Lewinsky was still on everyone's mind. It was reflected in the Halloween masks.
2001: Some people chose to reference 9/11 with patriotic costumes.
The mood was less revelrous.
2002: It's common for businesses to get in on it.
One supermarket in Bolivia had all of its employees dress up as grim reapers and witches, even while they helped customers.
2003: Harry Potter was everywhere this year.
With the release of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "Chamber of Secrets" in theaters, the boy wizard has thoroughly saturated pop culture. The three-headed dog "Fluffy" from the books even makes it perfect for dog parades.
2004: Presidential masks were back.
Buycostumes.com cited Halloween mask sales as a predictor for the election. Their sales, the company said, predicted the elections of President George W. Bush, Bill Clinton twice, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan twice.
2005: Theme parks paid more and more attention to Halloween.
Hong Kong's Ocean Park planned elaborate costumes for their employees to scare visitors. For Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, the company created an elaborate mythology of characters like "Terra Queen."
2006: Even before the movie came out, everyone knew who Borat was.
"Borat" was released a few days after Halloween, but the character was already well-known through the movie's marketing. And making a costume is pretty easy.
2007: Classic Halloween costumes like cowgirl and police officer have been popular for years.
Costumes like these practically never go out of style.
2008: Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker stuck in everyone's minds.
"The Dark Knight" was the biggest movie of the summer, and its villain was unforgettable.
2009: Including pets in costumes is an important tradition.
If you can be soy sauce then your dog can be sushi.
2010: Cheerleaders and band members often dress up.
Costumes become part of the fun of sports games, like this trombone-playing sumo wrestler at the University of Las Vegas.
2011: At the height of Occupy Wall Street, zombie bankers roamed the streets.
Costumes continued to be a potent visual way to make a political statement in 2011 as Occupy Wall Street protesters held a rally.
2012: Superhero costumes were all the rage.
The hit movie "The Avengers" resulted in a lot of superhero costumes that year — even if they weren't all part of the Marvel universe.
2013: Sports fans dress up in costume, too.
It's not just up to cheerleaders and band members to entertain the crowd between plays. Fans will dress up themselves.
2014: Rihanna's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume was better than the movie that came out that year.
The 2014 "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" came and went without making a mark on pop culture, but Rih's big shell is forever.
2015: After El Chapo's second escape, his face was on every Halloween mask.
The drug lord was a bonafide folk legend in Mexico. He was eventually captured again after meeting with Sean Penn in 2016.
2016: The return of "Star Wars" inspired costumes this year.
With 2015's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the franchise was back for another generation, introducing new characters along with it. "Rogue One" in 2016 kept it up. The movies led to a resurgence of "Star Wars"-themed costumes.
2017: Disco icons like Cher were a major inspiration this year.
Kim Kardashian and best friend Jonathan Cheban wowed at a Halloween party wearing costumes inspired by Sonny and Cher. Kaia Gerber and Cindy Crawford were also spotted that year wearing disco-inspired looks.
2018: Costumes inspired by the video game phenomenon Fortnite were all the rage in 2018.
In 2018 alone, the game made $2.5 billion. So, it probably comes as no surprise that the hugely popular game inspired people's Halloween costumes. According to Google and Time, Fortnite was actually the most-searched category for Halloween costumes that year.
2019: Many chose costumes based on major pop culture moments.
From the Met Gala to iconic 2000s fashion moments, celebrities seemed to be the go-to costume for 2019.
2020: This year's costumes will be basically any costume with a mask — or one you can just wear at home.
Halloween in 2020 is expected to be very different from year's past. Major costume retailers like Yandy have released everything from "bedroom costumes" intended to be worn at home to a sexy hand sanitizer costume.
However, the most popular — and important — Halloween accessory in 2020 is undoubtedly a face mask.
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