Vintage Homemade Halloween Horrors


It’s that time of year and I’ve been thinking about Halloween.

Halloween costumes have changed. Today, Trick-or-Treaters fill the streets dresses as commercially produced superheroes, ballerinas with perfectly puffy tutus, and lots of variations on the hockey goalie mask (which are, admittedly, pretty creepy).

The slow change over to purchased costumes, as opposed to handmade costumes, came about for a number of reasons. I think the two most prominent are 1) the appearance of television with its relentless advertising, and 2) mothers who need to work and have a lot less spare time on their hands.

And it seems there is  an increasingly firmly entrenched notion that a handmade costume is something between old-fashioned and downright embarrassing.

Oh, yeah?

The goal of dressing in costume for Halloween used to be very specific: scare the bejezus out of as many people as you could. Now it seems to be about emulating fantasy figures with elaborate costumes and showing how well you have/your mother has done it. And, of course, there is considerable social pressure not to scare the kiddies (“Hey, tone it down a bit OK? You’ll scare the kids half to death.”) which is interesting, because that used to be the goal.

Sure, there were sexy Halloween costumes:

And kitschy Halloween costumes:

And fun Halloween costumes:

Of course, we can’t forget the perpetually creepy clown costumes:

And just plain weird Halloween costumes:

But, in my humble opinion, by far and away the creepiest were the homemade melanges – many of which look downright disturbing today:

So, maybe an out-of-the-box superhero costume has its place after all. Happy Halloween Costuming!

Note: Edited on 10/14/2014 to remove Photoshopped images that fooled me. Sigh.


4 thoughts on “Vintage Homemade Halloween Horrors

  1. Don’t worry about the psychological effects of the skull “mask” on that last little girl. It’s a piece of Photoshop art (as is the pumpkin-headed pair above her on the right).
    I never dressed up “creepy” for Halloween (on purpose at least), but I do know that looking trough my childhood art and pictures, some of the faces I drew looked pretty weird, especially the teeth.There is one particularly terrifying paper plate mask I made in Kindergarten that would fit right in with these photos!

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