Hot! Reenactors & Halloween


After yesterday’s seriousness, I feel that there’s a need for some more lighthearted content on here.

In the days leading up to Halloween earlier this week, I saw several reenactors post Facebook statuses about how fun and/or awkward it can be to be a reenactor on Halloween. On the plus side, we have closets full of some of the best “costumes” that money can buy. On the other hand, most of us are friends with other reenactors, and it’s generally a faux pas to wear one of your impressions as an easy Halloween costume.

So I ask you: what do you think?  Do you make use of your reenacting gear for Halloween or do you generally frown upon that sort of thing?


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  1. I would not use my kit in its usual context. But my sailor’s gear is a good start at a Johnny Depp pirate outfit. I used my Hessian uniform to be a headless horseman.

  2. A number of my reenacting friends were headed in to Old Town Alexandria for Hallowe’en parties, and what could be more appropriate to the venue than the ‘ghosts’ of the 18th century wandering about the town.

  3. I think iy depends on HOW you use your reenacting gear: As an 18th century reenactor, (primarily French and Indian War) it’s very easy for me to dress up as a pirate for Halloween, and I would consider that a cop-out, unless I could enhance it in some way that would allow the interpretive gear to be the background, with orher elements that made it unique. Maybe it’s part of a pun, involving pirated music or movies,aube I turn a WWII paratrooper impression into an ” airborne pathogen” costume, Just so long as I’m mot simply putting on my usual reenacting gear, and thinking I ‘m done. Use some of your WWII infantry gear to do a Wartime Captain America? Sure! Combine your Federal Infantry uniform with furry sideburns and claws to be Wolverine in the Civil War? Why not? Waistcoat and breeches, with a flint rifle, musket, fowler, fusil, hand mortar, three pistols, a sanre, a hanger, tomahawk, and a little cannon towed behind to be the hero of a modetn Hollywood Rev War hero? Just make sure your remember the black leather coat! Wear dome of your cowboy gear to be a Big Damn Hero who aims to misbehave? Just remember your “cunning” cap and your tightpants! in other words, use it to fo something that ISN’T your usual impression.

  4. Hey, on a cold drizzly night, (like we had here) and your following your kid around for three or four hours while they are on their quest to collect as much candy as they could possibly carry; nothing is going to be quite as effective at keeping you warm as a wool uniform!

    Personally, I don’t know any reenactors in my area and so all the people I encountered (we were in my sister’s neighborhood) had no idea what I was wearing was a reenactment uniform, unless I told them. They just thought it was a really awesome Halloween costume. Another plus is, I got quite a bit of candy too! LOL. People apparently felt obligated to give me something because I was dressed.

    It was pretty hysterical though because my son got people guessing what I was and of about 20 to 30 guesses that night, only about 6 maybe 7 people got it right and most of those were kids. (We find out who knows their history.) Most guesses said “pirate” (King George’s men were in Pirates of the Caribbean though so – give them that). One said “patriot” (right war at least). One girl said Ben Franklin (but she was 5 so – at least she got the right era). I got several “Napoleon” (the French wouldn’t be happy – LOL). One said “Christopher Columbus” and another “confederate soldier” (and they were both adults! Dang – a couple of someone’s certainly didn’t pay attention in school!)

    My son on the other hand was dressed as “the disco zombie” from Plantz Vs. Zombies and almost everyone got his era right.

    My sister and I went to a Karoake costume contest event (She was dressed as Puss in Boots) and I got first place. I used portions of my character persona and the bar patrons got a real kick out of me. (Many many hours of watching BBC documentaries, I can now fake a pretty decent British accent.) Talked to one woman for quite some time who started asking me questions because she’s was also a seamstress. She was most fascinated by the fact that the regimental lace (little green leaves) was actually a real historical regimental lace pattern. She found that so interesting because she considered the pattern to be so feminine. It was a different era though where definitions of what was feminine and masculine were much broader and crossed more lines. There was a lot of beauty in 18th century European influenced clothing, including army uniforms and that’s one of the things I personally find fascinating about that era. The seamstress and I had a good conversation about all this stuff.

    So yeah, “Faux Pas” or not, I like wearing “historically accurate costumes” on Halloween!

  5. A lot of us can be conflicted about this. I, for one, rarely do anything on Halloween but hide in the attic with the lights off, but having said that, one year, while at work at a local game company, we were all asked to come to work that day in “comstume,” as children of employees would be visiting and hoping for candy.

    I am a Federal reenactor; my cubicle mate at the time generally went out in gray, so we both wore our uniforms, put our muskets by the entrance,and put out a big bowl of candy mixed with hardtack.

    The way I see it, though some people think our uniforms, are sacrosanct, if i am in wool and somebody starts asking me questions about the Civil War (as they always do, even if it is questions such as, “So who fought here – at Gettysburg, in that case -, the French or the British?”), I am helping to teach a little bit about what I consider the most important four years in ou history.

  6. I wore my Continental blues with red facings and the rest of my kit, but for a hat I decided to go with a snappy new officer quality Burgoyne campaign cap hat with horsetail that I scored at a recent blanket sale from Eric Schnitzer. People thought I was Napoleon…

  7. I attended a Halloween party and then participated in a trick-or-treat thing in our neighborhood (I’m living in Germany, but in an American-heavy area). I used my Civil War gear for both occasions, going once as Federal and once as Confederate. There actually is at least one other reenacting type here, but no one who would be offended or upset by my decision to wear my reenacting uniforms. Honestly, I was more concerned about offending someone by wearing a Confederate uniform and having them think it was some kind of weird racial thing or something.

    If I were attending a party thrown by my reenacting pards or something like that, then I’d wear something that wasn’t reenacting-related. But with non-reenactors? Eh, go for it. You spend all that money on reenacting stuff, you may as well wear it, and it can lead to some great conversations.

  8. I’ve done zombie pirate. Used my medieval dress and a cloak for a Game of Thrones character.

    Most likely when I acquire more clothing from eras I will get a Buffy the Vampire Slayer prosthetic and be a vampire.