Criteria such as creativity, quality of costume and the degree to which the costume is either funny or scary should all be considered when judging costumes. It is important to consider more than one factor because even a unique idea for a costume could be poorly executed, while a standard pirate or witch costume can still be very impressive if the props, makeup and clothing are of good quality. A combination of winning factors can usually help tip the scales in favor of one winner.
Often, it is helpful to separate contestants into different categories such as scary, funny, and couples or team costumes. Then, the winners of each category can then compete against each other for the overall winner.
Costume contests are held near the end of October, as part of celebrating Halloween. Halloween is a holiday that has its roots in the British and Ireland area, from a people called the Celts. They would celebrate the end of their harvest year and believed this time of transition, called the Samhain, into the cold months ahead increased their druids' powers. The druids would dress in animal skins, which was the start of the Halloween tradition of dressing in costumes today.