Ahoy Matey’s! Pirates are Perennial Halloween Favorites

Even before Captain Jack Sparrow came on the scene dressing up as a pirate for Halloween has been popular. Halloween is all about dressing up as someone else for a night, getting to be the kind of person you’d want to be if things like era, education, money and so on weren’t factors. It’s a night of fantasy. People fantasize about being pirates because of the romantic image that has evolved of pirates. Wearing ruffled shirts and long swash bucking coats, breeches,  or denim sailor pants and buckled shoes and riding the open waves  seems like a wonderful carefree existence to many people.
This romantic image of pirates  has been around for centuries. Back in 1684 a book called The Buccaneers of America laid the groundwork for the image of pirates that still exists today. This best selling book portrayed pirates as daring rebels, fierce fighters, and underdogs. They were considered to be a type of Robin Hood of the sea, taking from the rich in order to ensure their own survival. The so-called Golden Age of pirates was between 1690 and the early 1700s and people today still read about the exploits of pirates who were active during that period with keen interest. Blackbeard, one of the most famous pirates of all time, has been the prototype for pirates in books, TV shows and movie throughout history. It could be argued that Geoffrey’s Rush Captain Barbossa character in the Pirates of the Caribbean films is based on Blackbeard too.

The wildly successful Pirates of the Caribbean films made modern audiences fall in love with the pirate aesthetic all over again and Captain Jack Sparrow costumes, William Turner costumes and Elizabeth Turner costumes are all popular Halloween costumes. The matted, snarled, dreadlocked wig of Captain Jack and his trademark kohl eyeliner ringed eyes have given the pirate costume a modern neo-tribal twist that people love. But there are other interpretations of pirate costumes  as well. Skull and crossbone flags, tri-corner hats, white poet shirts, eye patches and bandanas are all popular pirate costume accessories. For women who want to dress as pirates an off the shoulder peasant blouse and peasant skirt or pantaloons and knee high boots are essential pirate wear, along with lots of gold coin jewelry.  For real pirates gold and gold coin jewelry wasn’t just a fashion statement, it was a way for them to protect their stolen treasure. Wearing it was the only way they had to make sure that someone didn’t steal their stolen treasure from them.

Why are pirates so consistently popular? It’s because they represent the best parts of Halloween and the yearning that everyone has for freedom from society’s rules. On some level everyone dreams of cutting loose from society, doing exactly what they want and not caring at all what other people think and say. Pirates live by their own rules, rebel against society, and do exactly what makes them happy. That’s why pirates will always be popular pirate costumes.


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