Saturday, October 08, 2011

Anything Goes Saturday - Halloween 1952

Welcome to week 2 of a celebration of Halloween from days gone by! The photos are from a Sunday school party in 1952.

Editorial note - some of these costumes are rather grotesque racial stereotypes. They were considered "wholesome fun" 59 years ago, but are offensive, without question. While I have no wish to censor history, please be aware that I am in not condoning costumes like those.

Apparently these four kids were finalists in a "best costume" contest. The kid on the left has "blackface" makeup, an unfortunate choice. Instant fail. Kid #2 is a skeleton-faced clown (I guess). Kid #3 wore that same "mournful old man" mask the year before. You're not fooling me! Kid #4 is trying to look like a cosmopolitan socialite. I like her gypsy motif.

Try to ignore the regrettable mask to our left. Hobos costumes were popular back then (and still are). The clothesline belt is a nice touch. The couple on the right is interesting! The boy is dressed as a girl, his girlfriend is dressed like an older woman (or is that another boy?). I think I've seen a French movie about something like that.

The masked twins with the orange cloth topknots are probably my favorites of all these kids. Just the right amount of weirdness! Miss something-or-other is a bizarro-world beauty contestant. Our blue-masked girl in the middle looks surprisingly elegant. I can't quite place what the girl over her shoulder is supposed to be. And one last kid is lost in the darkness.

Well, I have more vintage Halloween photos, but I am tempted to edit them a bit more (I finally did remove one photo that just made me too darn uneasy), and hopefully keep the vulgar costumes to a minimum.


TokyoMagic! said...

Still enjoying these, Major....and still looking forward to more vintage Halloween!

Chiana_Chat said...

Striped shirt guy makes a pretty girl. ;)

My favs are also the off-beat orange cloth topknot twins.

Don't worry, I know sometimes one can't even show some things you didn't do nor condone without someone showing up and flying off the handle. But you provided context best you could. It's neat seeing "everyday anywhere" color photos from then - kinda like visiting your old Aunt and being regaled with photos, something you just don't appreciate until you're older and Auntie is gone, y'know?

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Some much creativity in these (grotesque racial stereotypes aside) none of these amazing costumes looks "store bought" like today's generic style-less costumes from those Halloween warehouses! The reverse gender costumes are interesting and would have a whole new meaning today.

Connie Moreno said...

I am totally digging this series. Brings back a lot of memories from my earliest Halloweens. Send me the photo that makes you uneasy. I'm dying of curiosity.

Anonymous said...

I am not offended by the racial stereotype type costumes shown so far. I find them an interesting window into the thinking of past generations. So far they have not been any thing to controversial. Pretty much what you would expect, but not condone from 60 years past. Of course, be selective of what you show,but so far no problem. Keep up the good work. Dennis, L.I.,N.Y.

Melissa said...

The boy fading into the darkness looks like a cowboy or Western character of some kind. If it were five or six years later, I'd say Bat Masterson or one of the Maverick brothers.

Nancy said...

yes, a pretty strange lot these costumes, and its a Sunday school?

i remember Rachel having friends who did not come to school on the Halloween party day b/c their religion did not believe in Halloween (celebrating evil, i guess)

i love Halloween, had our Zombie Walk yesterday (could not go b/c Rachel could not get!) my current costume is a girl pirate (store bought...i know) but i am working on a groovy 70s costume for one of these years lol!! who knows, i may get there yet.

JG said...

For my part, Major, there is nothing offensive about what happened in the past, that no one here could do anything about.

What would be offensive, would be posting these while advocating such costumes to be used today, or that there were no bad effects from the attitudes that allowed such costumes to be worn.

And, suggesting that simply posting photos of past events is somehow offensive, is offensive in itself. You can't change history, but you can learn from it. You can't learn from it if you don't learn about it.

Remember, the only person who can control how you feel about something is you, so how can you be in charge of how your audience feels about something you do?

One of the aspects of the new existential society that all the "free-thinkers" seem to forget, is that, there are no longer any rules, except those enforced by the "new intolerant".

More power to you.

Thanks for the pics of kids having fun.