It was Halloween 2014, and Maryland man Ryan Bowen proudly unveiled a trick-or-treat costume for his six-month-old son, Geraint, which had been years in the making. Indeed, this was no mere shop-bought zombie one-piece or off-the-peg skeleton suit. No, Ryan had pulled out all the stops to create the ultimate robot getup so that his toddler could rock the spooky occasion in style and have himself a real blast.
Ever since ancient times, folk have enjoyed the act of dressing up for Halloween. It is thought by historians that pagan people wore costumes or disguises as they went house-to-house in their communities to celebrate the spiritual while commemorating the dead. Spirits and fairies, as well as the souls of the departed, were warded off every late October by the superstitious adopting their frightening appearance for the night.
Of course, these days you are as likely to see participants dressed up as a superhero, celebrity or fairy princess as something more ghoulish as our ancestors once did. And, since the first modern-day Halloween costumes came to the attention of the mass media in the 19th century, the custom has spread to scare up frightening amounts of money. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, some $2.6 billion was laid out in 2013 to buy Halloween disguises for young and old – and more than $300 million was spent on costumes for family pets.