Classification Essay Sample on Halloween Costumes

Posted on February 20, 2019

A classification essay is not the most popular type of academic paper which students are required to write during their studying process. However, most of the academic subjects imply the demonstration of critical thinking, which means that at least once in their lifetime, all students will be supposed to create a classification essay sample. Therefore, being familiar with the steps of writing on the classification essay topics is necessary whether in humanitarian or technical disciplines.

First of all, the core element of the classification essay is a category, namely a group of objects united by similar characteristics of the specific criteria. Hence, the second necessary element of the categorization process is the classification criteria according to which objects or their characteristics will be categorized.

For instance, while writing about the literature genres, one may choose a “fiction/non-fiction” system of categorization, which means the division of literature genres in two categories: “fiction” and “non-fiction,” depending on the following categorization criteria that are the verity of the events. If the events stem from the author’s imagination with no relation to real experiences, the genre refers to the fiction literature. The opposite category to the fiction is non-fiction, which means that any story of non-fiction genres is based on real-life experiences. For instance, Alice in Wonderland is an example of fiction literature, while Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, written as a memoir, is an accurate example of the non-fiction.

‘Halloween Costumes: Hold Your Heroes to High Standards’ Essay Sample

There are two types of people: those who prepare for a holiday in advance that can take an entire year, and those who do their preparations at the last moment. It is not difficult for one to define themselves according to the classification above. However, when a person faces another classification, which is a classification of holiday costumes, namely the Halloween ones, the impediments of choice occur due to the variety of categories according to which the Halloween costumes can be categorized as following: metaphorical or real objects, real people or fictional characters, hand-made or bought, simple or complex, traditional or innovative. Each category is based on a specific criterion that defines the division of the groups: meaning, the truthfulness of the character, the way of creating the costume, the complexity of the latter, and time.

All Halloween costumes can be divided into those based on metaphor, namely pun-based costumes, and those based on the meaning of real objects. A costume of a cat that includes ears, a tail, mustache, and black jeans reminds the viewer of a common cat anyone can meet in the street. However, if the costume has such details as the mask of Zorro and a bag with the sign of money, the viewer thinks of a “cat burglar” which changes the meaning of the entire costume from the direct to a metaphorical one. Another example is a costume of a sheep, where white color reminds the viewer of a farm animal, but when the color changes into the black, the whole costume obtains a different meaning, which is “black sheep” – an extraordinary person, who does not suit into the crowd. Therefore, being based on the “meaning” criteria, the category discussed above is vast due to the variety of puns occurring each year in the spoken language.

The second category of Halloween costumes unites the groups of “fictional” and “non-fictional” costumes. Here, the main criterion is the realness of the character. One can draw a parallel between the literary genres when differentiation is based on the real-life experiences or pure imagination of the author. The significant part of the Halloween costumes belongs to the fictional characters: Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace from the iconic Pulp Fiction, Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians, and others. The list of fictional characters may endlessly continue due to the variety of the latter having been created for centuries. The group of non-fictional characters encompasses fewer characters than that of the fictional. Nowadays, the holiday participants prefer fictional characters due to the variety as well as the outer vividness and instant recognition in the crowd they possess.

If one chooses the costume of a non-fictional character, then he or she may find some of them entertaining and meaningful enough for the fact that modern popular stars have turned their life into a life-lasting narration with an extraordinary image of themselves. While the costume of Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson is quite traditional and one-dimensional, the costumes of the modern stars may be challenging to compose. For instance, if one decides to dress like Lady Gaga or Beyonce, they will have to make reference in their attire to a specific music video that would make the costume recognizable for everyone. Therefore, both non-fictional and fictional characters may be a source of inspiration if one uses their imagination.

The third category of costumes based on the criteria of item-making divides Halloween costumes into handcrafted or ready-made. Hand-made clothing is a costume manually created, commonly by a holiday participant, while ready-made costumes are available in any clothes stores and vary in price. Here, opinions about the advantages and disadvantages regarding both groups differ: while hand-made costumes are considered cheap because they do not require much time or financial resources, the ready-made costumes are expensive and unoriginal. However, the need for handcrafted or ready-made costumes depends on the simplicity and the required details. For instance, a plain white T-shirt, baggy jeans and a cap are enough to create an image of Eminem. Meanwhile, the creation of a Wonder Woman image will require the exact tiara, metallic bracelets and the entire outfit that the character wears in the same-called comics and the movie.

The following category is based on the complexity of the Halloween costume according to which one can easily guess whether the person did the last minute or the whole-year preparations. Simple costumes are not complicated for anyone to create due to the clothes and details anyone can find at their home. For instance, the costumes of the Breakfast Club characters will require the vintage clothes everyone can find in their parents’ old wardrobe from the 1980s or 1990s. Further, the creation of a hippie image is also a simple task, as it will need grandmother’s clothes from the sixties. Meanwhile, if one’s grandmother was not a hippie but a common young woman and had pink clothes, then the creation of the Marvellous Mrs. Maisel’ character can be quickly planned.

Meanwhile, the complex-made costumes require specific details that one has to buy at online costume shops or fan sites. For instance, the creation of the Harry Potter characters will require special robes, scarfs, and magic wands from the stores devoted to the Harry Potter books and films. The same refers to the construction of the Deadpool or Spiderman costume.
The last category of the Halloween costumes encompasses two groups, which are traditional or innovative costumes, depending on whether the idea is new or old. As time passes, people innovate their old ideas about traditional costumes or create new images. However, innovations always coexist along with the traditions, which means that by innovating the traditional image, the latter acquires a new meaning. For instance, the notorious image of a witch from the folklore has been renovated in the 1990s by the iconic Halloween movie Hocus Pocus, a film telling a story of the three witches. Winifred Sanderson costume, one of the sisters, is the most popular among the Halloween fans famous for its “googly-one-eyed spell book, followed closely only by Winifred’s lust for eternal youth” (Horvat para. 4). Until then, people keep dressing in the costumes of such traditional creatures as ghouls, werewolves, cats, and ghosts that besides considered old-fashioned, can be still “terrifying or outright incomprehensible” (Edwards para.1). Without additional meaning, traditional costumes are considered unoriginal, and that is why, as it has been mentioned, the Halloween participants create innovative ideas that are mostly based on puns or the impersonations of characters from the late movies and series. Among the latter, the most popular Halloween costumes are an image of a prisoner from Orange is the New Black, a handmaid from The Handmaid’s Tale, as well as Daenerys Targaryen or Jon Snow from The Game of Thrones (Teather para. 16). Though the boundary between the traditional and innovative Halloween costumes is blurred, the definition of the costume’s traditionalism or innovativeness depends on the meaning of the image.

Conclusively, Halloween costumes fall in different categories depending on the judging criteria. According to the meaning, the costumes are divided into metaphorical or real objects. According to the fictional or non-fictional experiences of the impersonated character, the costumes are the ones of real people or fictional characters, while according to the way the costume has been created, the Halloween attire can be hand-made or bought. As for the complexity, the costumes are simple or complex, and as for the time of creation, the Halloween wardrobe is traditional or innovative. However, all characteristics above can be changed by the addition or elimination of a certain meaning as it has been discussed in the examples of the Hocus Pocus witches or the costumes of modern celebrities.

Concluding Remarks

In brief, the classification essay divides objects into categories according to specific characteristics. The essay above demonstrates that the author has divided the Halloween costumes into categories, opposite to each other. For instance, the category of meaning encompasses two opposite groups of metaphorical and real-objects costumes. In the Introduction, the author summarizes the issue and the general categories with their determining criteria. Further, each paragraph of the Body explains the strengths and weaknesses of the category’s groups. For each category, the author has provided examples. The Conclusion paragraph summarizes the categories and restates the thesis statement. We hope that the example of the classification essay above not only helped you find an appropriate Halloween costume but also served as an accurate explanation for writing the classification essay.

Works Cited

Edwards, Wyatt. “Old-Fashioned Halloween Costumes.” Halloween Costumes, 12 Jan. 2018,
Horvat, Kate. “DIY Hocus Pocus Costumes.” Halloween Costumes, 3 Oct. 2014,
Teather, Charlie. “Netflix-Inspired Halloween Costumes That Will Have People Saying ‘I Wish I’d Thought of That!” Glamour: Netflix, 18 Oct. 2018,

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