The first tales of humans being transformed into wolves and back to human form occur in Greek mythology. The historian Herodotus wrote of a tribe he called the Neuri, who were all transformed into wolves each year for a period of several days, then returned to their human form. Other tales tell of humans changed into wolves by Zeus as punishment for various offenses. Still others tell of humans who could transform themselves to wolves and back to human form at will.
Belief in werewolves didn't make it to Europe until the Middle Ages. The first known written use of the word "werwolf" is in an 11th century German manuscript. In Norse legend, great warriors dressed in wolf skins and were thought to thereby take on characteristics of the wolf such as bravery and ferocity. Later, werewolves came to be associated with vampires in eastern Europe and with witches in western Europe. By the Renaissance, Christian heretics were accused of being, among other things, werewolves. Modern scholars have attempted to explain werewolves as misinterpretations of medical conditions such as porphyria or hypertrichosis. There is a very rare psychiatric condition called lycanthropy, in which the affected individual has a fixed delusion that s/he is a wolf.
The ideas about becoming a werewolf as the result of being bitten by one and transforming when the moon is full, as well as those of werewolves being resistant to any injury except one caused by a weapon made of silver, are a 20th century invention. They first appear in a 1935 novel and in Lon Chaney's classic character in the 1941 movie The Wolf Man. More recent portrayals have included 1981's An American Werewolf in London and Professor Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter books and movies.
If you want to become a werewolf, choose one of our classic costumes and start practicing your howl. We have costumes for both kids and adults, which will strike fear into the neighbors, medieval village dwellers, and teenage vampires, too. You can use makeup to transform your face, or wear one of our masks. You can choose the look you want, and go howling around the kitchen door.