When the leaves start to turn and a chill enters the air, many of us immediately think of one thing and one thing only: Halloween. The holiday is practically inextricable from autumn, and over the years, it’s developed into something both magical and monstrous, inspiring countless films, decor, and unique aesthetics that capture different aspects of the spooky occasion.
Even so, Halloween has managed to retain some of its ancient roots. While the holiday’s exact origins aren’t precisely known, it can be traced back to the pagan festival of Samhain, which was a celebration of the season’s final harvest, per History. The Celts also believed that Samhain was the day when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was the thinnest, meaning ghosts could reenter the earthly plane. To honor the occasion, the Druids, Celts, and other pagan communities would light bonfires and don masks and costumes in order to scare away evil spirits, which they feared could come during the cold winter months.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated Nov. 1 as All Saints’ Day, and the night before became known as All Hallows’ Eve. While many pagan traditions had been all but snuffed out at that point, others refused to die, and some Samhain traditions soon became attached to All Hallows’ Eve. Since then, the festival has continued to morph and grow, acquiring its own array of specific and recognizable traditions. From placing pumpkins on doorsteps to bobbing for apples and going trick-or-treating, Halloween has ballooned into a massive industry. Still, each year, many of us put on our masks and costumes on Oct. 31, just like the pagans did so many years ago.
Halloween has become an increasingly elaborate affair in modern times, and because of that, a variety of different and highly specific Halloween aesthetics have emerged, spanning everything from decor to music and fashion. TikTok, in particular, has nurtured these various Halloween aesthetics, and you’ll find many a video showcasing their nuances in detail on that platform.
Ultimately, the aesthetic you choose completely depends on your personality — what kind of energy do you want to embody during this season? Some people prefer a super-low-key Halloween style, while others enjoy a maximalist aesthetic complete with neon lights, fog machines, and screaming blow-up monsters. Still others want to lean into the coziness or nostalgia of the season, while some prefer to play up its spooky or genuinely scary aspects. Of course, many of these aesthetics overlap, and it’s possible to mix and match all of them depending on your preferences.
Ahead, check out five of the main Halloween aesthetics.