Long before it was possible to use Amazon Prime for your mass-manufactured Halloween costume, people put serious effort into making them.
Without a fast-churning popular culture abetted by the internet, the costumes reflected much of the holiday's original intent: to disguise yourself from vengeful spirits, and in some cases, be scary enough to ward them off entirely.
In Haunted Air, English musician and artist Ossian Brown collects a series of anonymous photographs that show how Americans, circa 1875-1955, dressed up for Halloween. The book features a foreword by famous surrealist and horror veteran David Lynch — a sure sign you're in for a twisted read.
The photo collection features candid shots of Americans in old Halloween garb, in all their imperfections and unique grotesqueness. Read on to see how people dressed for the year's spookiest holiday, decades before it became commercialized.
All the photos feature candid shots of family members, friends, and children in Halloween garb in the US. Here, a man with a handmade cowboy mask holds a young girl.
"These are pictures of the dead," author Geoff Cox wrote in Haunted Air. "Torn from album pages, sold piecemeal for pennies and scattered, abandoned to melancholy chance and the hands of strangers."
As you can see, masks were prevalent in earlier costumes.
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