Contemporary Halloween celebrations offer an opportunity for young and old to dress in costume, but in the 19th and early 20th century, Halloween was primarily geared towards children. Adults who wanted to dress in costume attended or hosted fancy dress balls. Not connected to a specific holiday, fancy dress balls and parties took place throughout the year and could be small private events or large-scale public fundraisers. Some fancy dress balls were thematic and related to contemporary or historic events while others were more open, simply requiring attendees to come in costume. Unlike the macabre and/or sexy Halloween costumes of today, fancy dress costumes covered a much broader range of topics: historic figures, works of art, pieces of furniture, natural phenomena, animals and popular novels or plays. Suggested costumes were published in fashion periodicals and in descriptive manuals. A personal favorite is "Queen of the Oysters," a dress of white tulle embellished with seaweed, coral and oyster shells. The FIDM Museum fancy dress featured below represents an undetermined character, though we think it might be intended as gypsy dress.