This weekend you will probably go to a Halloween party and see sexy burgers, sexy grapes, people dressed as Ken Bone, and other kinds of tomfoolery. People will tell you that Halloween is supposed to be about having "fun." But fun can be had on any other holiday — St. Patrick's Day and Thanksgiving come to mind. Seventy years ago, Halloween was very different.
It was completely horrifying.
The costumes back then were nightmare-inducing, even when they when were completely innocent. Even kids dressing up for a "fun" night of trick-or-treating managed to look like soulless, mangled inhabitants of hell. Have a look:
This person is dressed up as a nightmare factory (1935):
These are allegedly three young girls "amusing" each other in the Cincinnati suburb of College Hill (1929):
The boy dressed up as Satan's bunny rabbit is totally bumming out the clown next to him:
And again, what is this even? (1905):
This one in the middle eats your dreams (1955):
There are actually so many old terrifying Halloween costumes that someone literally made a book of them. In 2011, Random House published a coffee table book of Halloweens from 1875 to 1955 called Haunted Air by Ossian Brown. It is known in some circles as the storage unit of nightmares because of images like this:
Everything in this picture is working together to maximize terror:
This photo looks like it inspired Hollywood's rash of serial killer movies, like The Strangers: