Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween, 1955

Happy Halloween! 

I don't have anything Disneyland-ish to share for the occasion, but I figured that some vintage photos might do. These are from the year 1955.

I'll start with this one; those kids are cute as heck, and are thrilled with their cool bags full of candy. But their costumes, yeesh. It's like mom sewed old table cloths into some sort of smock/dress/tent garments. I appreciate the maker spirit, and I'm sure she loved her kids, but nobody on the block envied these boys that night.

The rest of these are from the same family, showing one of their annual Halloween costume spectacular! Even in the mid-50's, store-bought costumes seem to have been a rarity. That being said, I'm not sure why I bothered to scan this one, since there's not a costume in the whole photo. Just salt-of-the-earth folks having a good time.

These two are just odd. The rubber masks must have been a real extravagance. Pillows were an essential part of many costumes, because body dysmorphia is hilarious! 

Yeah, some of these were awfully dark. But I had to include them! Most of the outfits seem to be made up of odds and ends that were at mom and dad's house, with a simple plastic mask thrown in for mystery. But Woody Woodpecker (nobody's favorite cartoon character) is there in what is an early, elaborate drugstore costume.

Those bloody floating heads look like they should be from a scary Kurosawa movie. Considering that this was a churchy family, some of the tableaus were pretty freaky. And that figure of death to the left would give me a heart attack if it jumped out at me on a dark night.

And lastly, here's another nutty lineup of costumes. Farmer Clem, Poodle Girl, Rich Society Lady, and... Ghost Alien? The Ghost Alien is my favorite! I would dress like that every day if I could.

May your trick-or-treating bring you many large-sized candy bars!


Nanook said...

My oh my-

All the costumes pictured may be tacky, especially when compared to today's easily-obtainable numbers, but there's something simply wonderful about them - with the possible exception of the 'homemade jobs', in Picture 1. Although the older lad's frock is sporting the phallic anthurium flower. Mom scores extra points for that move.

Happy Halloween.

K. Martinez said...

The last photo with Poodle Girl and the alien from Planet Triple-K is bizarre. I love it.

Happy Halloween everyone!

TokyoMagic! said...

It appears that Mom liked wild prints on her table linens and her wallpaper. And Grandma apparently likes to sing Karaoke out on the patio at these parties (photos #3 & 6).

TokyoMagic! said...

After spending more time looking at these pics, I realized that the owl mask in the second pic looks a bit like the accordion-necked owl from Disney's Alice in Wonderland.

Nancy said...

wonder if the floating heads lineup was for a game like pie throwing or water balloons? pretty scary stuff here for sure!

Happy Halloween to all! I will be eating a Mallo Cup in honor of each of us over the next few days :-)

JG said...

Wonderful photos, not an identifiable media character anywhere to be seen. Just folks having fun. Reminds us of what we have lost.

I remember having a plastic mask with a rubber band to hold it on, and wearing old clothes and shoes.

None of those "costumes" was a superhero or media character. Just random ugliness. Much like me today.


Melissa said...

Have I told you how much I love Halloween? Especially Halloween past. They didn't have as much cool prefab merch in the stores, so we made do, and we liked it, dammit! It falls right between my birthday and my sister's, so we always had one big party then instead of two smaller birthday parties.

1. "Your mission, whether or not you decide to accept it, is to visit every house in town until you find one whose wallpaper you blend in with. Then, stay there. They're your real parents. Now, no complaining. I wouldn't have had to cut those sheets up for costumes if you hadn't wet them."

2. "OK, OK, quiet on stage! Let's get this dress rehearsal over with; I got a date with a hot blonde and a cold bottle! Mr. and Mrs. Cratchit stage right for the 'We could always eat Tiny Tim' gag; the Mikado chorus stage left, ready for the Japanese fan dance at the end of Act One; and the plus-size drag queens front and center for 'It's Raining Men.' Owl Man? Where the hell is Owl Man? He's on first... Jeez, don't sneak up on me like that!"

3. "You know that old joke about your eyes being bigger than your stomach? I thought if we took about six bottles of those dilating drops from the eye doctors', it'd have a slimming effect. Anyway, here comes the waitress with our check."

4. I got nothin'. Sometimes, the best homemade Halloween costumes were the ones where you just grabbed a bunch of weird shit and threw it on together. We always got to have three costumes a year (School party, home party, and trick-or-treat), so one of them was usually the random ensemble.

Navy blue wool cape? Check. Aladdin slippers? Check. Wicker briefcase? Check. Frosted wig? Check. Anything else I need? I'd better have this fake cigar, and some makeup here, here, and here... couple scarves, picture hat... Oops, almost forgot that skirt made out of old neckties! Hey Sis, aren't you ready yet?!?

5. Bluebeard's Wives was a popular subject for Victorian tableaux.

6. The Ghost Aliens make me thenk of the Antedeans from the "Manhunt" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I would dress like that every day if I could.

Halloween absolutely needs to come twice a year, at least.

Nanook said...

I just noticed that in the 3rd & 6th images, the woman standing on the right edge the frame is: holding a list-? and a microphone in pic 3, and just the microphone in pic 6. Some sort of contest - perhaps at grammar school-? And could that be the same woman in the 2nd picture, but wearing a different dress-? Maybe one of the dresses is supposed to be her costume...

I'm with Melissa on this one = MORE Halloween-!

Snow White Archive said...

Not one superhero among them...I like Halloween of old. And they sure do seem to be having a whole lotta fun.

As usual, great pics!

Melissa said...

I love browsing the Halloween costumes section of the Vintage Sewing Pattern Wiki.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, yeah, those first costumes are incredibly lame. The others at least show a spirit of fun and creativity!

K. Martinez, "planet triple-K", you are so right!

TokyoMagic!, that wallpaper is a bit much! I think grandma must have been the emcee of a costume contest. And you're right, that does look like the "Alice" owl!

Nancy, I have successfully avoided all Halloween candy this year, a first.

JG, "random ugliness" does seem to apply, although I'm not sure that was always the point (like for Society Lady")!

Melissa, I do love Halloween, but now that it stretches out to late August in some cases (I went into a Halloween shop in late August), I admit that it is getting almost like "Christmas Overload" for me. Thanks for the link to the Bluebeard's Wives photo, very neat! I think the Ghost Alien actually looks scarier than the Antedeans.

Nanook, I am almost sure that some sort of contest was going on, and apparently this household held bit Halloween parties for many years in a row (see October posts from last year).

Snow White Archive, they DO look ilke they are having fun. I kind of think the mom (or grandma?) might have been a teacher of some kind.

Melissa, those are some awesome vintage costume patterns! It would be fun to make one just for the hell of it - these have so much charm compared to the elaborate store-bought/rental costumes.

Kevin Kidney said...

These are just great!