What do you suppose it is about these vintage costume pics that make us feel very disturbed? I think the movies "Trick R Treat" and "The Strangers" definitely gave me this feel.
This was back when kids could wear costumes to school and teachers would dress as witches and we would do every politically incorrect thing under the sun. My mother once even did a Halloween party for my older siblings at our estate. She put the children in black hooded cloaks, had them hold a dish with a candle and walk the long march under the dark wisteria arbor, down the gravel path to a part of the yard we called "The Pit." She had a stake in the ground with a witch effigy. The kids got to light the kindling and chant while it burned. She would so not be able to get away with that today.
It was always so blasted cold and we needed coats but refused to wear them. We carried pillowcases and knocked on doors until midnight, the official end of the door answering time. Yes, midnight! No parents, just lots of runs for miles around to every door we could race to. We never had our candy inspected. Somehow I survived, though I admit I never ate the candy cane from the drunk up on Sideburn Road. This man always had a party going on during Halloween and would open the door, staggering and say "Merry Christmas" and give us a candy cane. We weren't supposed to knock on his door (he was notorious) but we just had to see what the commotion inside was. Lots of martinis clinking in that house and drunken guests rushing the door to look at the "adoradabable" kiddies (hiccup).
I'm trying not to reveal my era too much, but I did Trick or Treat in a time when almost all costumes were handmade. I went most often as a gypsy, one time as a hobo and one time as Pocahontas. I still love the gypsy costume because I can have my curly hair natural and walk around barefoot while reading palms. People think it's part of being in character, but when I read them accurately, they kind of get spooked. That's what Halloween is about!
I'd like to collect these pics and more like them and make a huge wall arrangement in my writer's office. There is something eerie about creepy vintage dolls and vintage Halloween pics that will definitely incite me to write some true terror.
You might consider picking up some of the cues from these pictures for a Halloween costume that would disturb more than any Latex Pinhead mask. Sometimes, the rigged costume is the freaking creepiest. Just look at Michael Myers with mechanic's overalls and a William Shatner mask...
I remember as a kid spending weeks ahead considering the costume, beg, borrowing, rigging, sewing, gluing, and the day of Halloween, with the smell of chili cooking downstairs, the flickering Jack O'Lantern light casting shadows on my image in the mirror, I'd excitedly fix my makeup with my older sisters helping. It was the prom night for grade school!
A book you might want to consider as a coffee table piece if you like these vintage pics and costumes is Haunted Air which is a collection of these photos framed on each page. Beautiful one to flip through.