If you are headed out to a bar on Halloween, the owner will surely appreciate it if you show up in a saloon girl costume. Bars and saloon girls have had a long history together. In early America, wives and daughters of bar owners often worked as waitresses or barmaids. But in the anything goes atmosphere of the Wild West, saloons employed saloon girls to dance, sing, and entertain the lonely men in the evening. In return for providing this companionship in predominately male areas, they earned a wage and were paid a commission on drinks sold.
Similarly, some women worked as dance hall girls, charging men for 15 minute dances and splitting the process with the saloon owner. Others worked as part of more professional entertainment performances, dancing on stage nightly.
Saloon girl costumes are designed based on the clothing worn by these entertainers – a bright ruffled skirt over a petticoat with low cut bodice. Don’t forget the important details in your costume, though. Many saloon girls carried a hidden pistol or dagger in case of trouble.