Homemade Halloween

Mickey Mouse costume made by Myrtle Woodward of Columbus.

Mickey Mouse costume made by Myrtle Woodward of Columbus.


The Ohio Historical Society collects objects related to holiday celebrations in Ohio, including my favorite holiday, Halloween. Long before Disneyland was created, this Mickey Mouse costume (catalog number H 60985) was created by Myrtle Woodward, a Columbus woman, for her grandson Tom. Tom wanted to be Mickey for Halloween, but a store bought costume of Mickey was not possible. Made with sateen and cheesecloth, this costume, consisting of a shirt, pants, Mickey Mouse head, and tail, was carefully sewn by Woodward. The head was constructed using wire, cheesecloth, fabric, and a marker; the costume took days to make because of the intricate details. Tom attended Miss Simon’s dancing school every Friday with his sister at the YWCA; he wore this costume to the school’s annual Halloween Party in 1936.

Hand made Mickey Mouse mask constructed of cheese cloth, fabric and marker.

Hand made Mickey Mouse mask constructed of wire, cheese cloth, fabric and marker.


Halloween gained popularity as a public celebration in the United States in the early 1900s. The first recorded instance of Trick or Treating occurred in Chicago in 1920. It was during the 1930s that the first mass produced Halloween costumes started appearing on department store shelves. These mass produced costumes originally included traditional Halloween figures such as witches, ghosts, and goblins, but soon branched into popular children’s icons. By the 1950s, Mickey Mouse was once again gaining in popularity, thanks to the Mickey Mouse Club television program, and became a popular mass produced Halloween costume. Mickey continues to be a popular costume choice today.

Did you or a family member ever make a Halloween costume? Did you ever dress as Mickey Mouse?

Photograph of children in a variety of Halloween costumes in the 1940s, including a Mickey Mouse. Photograph is from the Ohio Guide Collection, State Archives Series 1039 AV.

Photograph of children in a variety of Halloween costumes in the 1940s, including a Mickey Mouse. Photograph is from the Ohio Guide Collection, State Archives Series 1039 AV.

Emily Lang, History Curator

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