Halloween didn't become the Big Event it is today until the 1950s, and only in the last 10 or 15 years has it become the all-out extravaganza it is, now, in the 2010s. But people in times past managed to figure out all kinds of excuses to raid the attic and play dressup ~ Denver Press Club parties, events hosted by the Kermis (a Catholic fund-raising group), Central City theater actors, and sometimes less amusing causes like a KKK rally or a Native American reduced to wearing an Uncle Sam outfit.
Amazing results were achieved with fabric, beads, and boot polish, and elaborate headgear always produced a great effect without too much effort. Professionals had more polished costumes, but often a man just showing up in his long underwear could pass for a footman - all he needed was a plywood halberd to put over his shoulder.
Women's bathing suits in the 20s and 30s were fanciful enough to pass as costumes just on a day at Lakeside, and there were plenty of men who seemed to delight in donning women's clothes at the drop of a hat, especially Harry Rhoads. In a pinch, almost anything could be made into a costume using fringe or fur, and countless gypsies, hobos, princes, or Little Bo Peeps were fashioned out of stuff found around the house.
The Colorado Springs Sunflower Carnival Parade was a great place for people to dress up, as was St. Patrick's day, a Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, a school play, or promotional Ground Hog day photoshoots.