Six years ago, I wrote about the website Take Back Halloween, which provided guides for making adult Halloween costumes for women (and occasionally couples) that depict interesting and inspiring women in various historical categories, or female deities. The resulting costumes then weren't quite recreationist in quality, but are levels above the standard cardboard-and-staples or variety store "sexy [witch, cat, devil, etc.]" fare.
This year, Take Back Halloween is upping its game. It is still having its annual Costume Contest (with Amazon gift certificates as prizes), but in addition to their regular categories they have added a "Masquerade" division with categories much friendlier to historical costume fans, as follows:
"Historical Recreation: This is for costumes that are based on an existing garment, statue, painting, description, or illustration. Examples might include: a replica of an archaeological find, such as the golden suit of Issyk; a dress based on a painting; a copy of a museum piece; or a costume inspired by an imaginative illustration, such as one of Mucha’s posters. The costume you’re copying or recreating should date from no later than 1950.
Period Costume: This is for costumes that look as if they date from a certain period of history (though it’s fine to use modern parts and techniques in construction). Tudor England, Heian period Japan, Mughal India, Viking Age Scandinavia, and the American Civil War are just a few examples of costume periods. This category is ideal for those of you who are focused on recreating a style of clothing rather than dressing up as a specific historical person.
Fictional Characters in Literature and Art: Yes, we’re actually dipping our toes into the water here with a category for fictional characters. But not modern movie characters. We’re talking about books, plays, and paintings. So, for example: Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter, Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina, Rosie the Riveter. You get the idea. (We generally prefer older things that are no longer under copyright, but we’re flexible. An Offred costume from The Handmaid’s Tale, for example, would be too cool not to include.)"If you already have a costume you really want to submit to TBH's page for this year, it's not too late! their deadline for submissions is Friday, November 3. Unfortunately, I have too much non-costuming stuff to do this week to think about entering (though submitting one of my Viking outfits is tempting). It will be fun, however, to check out the page after the post their winners, to admire the skill of their best costumes in these "Masquerade" categories. It will also be fun to think about possible entries for next year, assuming they get enough entries to keep the Masquerade categories for next year.