Strange & Dark Fantasy Since 1923...

Halloween was so much WEIRDer back then: Creepy and disturbing vintage Halloween photos


A lot of people this week are probably still trying to decide on what they want to wear for next week for Halloween. Lord knows that we are suffering from a plague of plenty these days. All you have to do is go look on-line or visit your local seasonal Halloween Store.


     Years and years ago people didn’t have this problem. They had to come up with their own costumes. From the look of the old pictures below it seems that all they needed was some old clothes, an adequate supply of Paper Mache´ and a little bit of imagination. Even if the results weren’t very refined, they do have a strong air of primitive weirdness that is enhanced even more by the black and white photography.


So to quote the man in the black suit and smoking a cigarette…


Presented for your approval……..
































































And here’s a whole book full of such photos…… HAUNTED AIR



  1. John Gonzalez
    John Gonzalez10-26-2013

    That’s how u do it

    • david

      that’s the way I remember it, even in the 60′s….more spooky and with imagenation…..too many super heros, and alike these days… more fun back then.

  2. Kelly

    WOW! Such great photos and costumes. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Doug Draa
      Doug Draa10-28-2013

      You are welcome Kelly!

  3. joanna

    Wonderful imaginative shivers down the spine – and so artistic . Shame , children just buy stuff now
    Thank you for sharing these amazing photos

    • Dagmara

      it’s not the kids buying costumes, it’s the lazy parents!

      • Janet

        It could just be the parents are working so hard that they don’t have time to craft a costume from scratch.

        • fredsavage

          Sure. Because back in the 50s and 60s nobody worked hard at factory jobs. They worked and came home and cooked and sewed. Didnt sit in front of the tv for 5 hrs a night

          • erin

            You know, much more of the workforce then was in manufacturing and many of those factories were unionized. Today, many jobs require more than a typical 40-hour workweek, and more families can’t afford to have one parent stay home. Also, in real dollars, the average American today makes less than they did in the 50s and 60s.

          • tanya

            These costumes are darling. I have always worked and do get time off after my 10 hour shift. I used to sew and craft costumes for my kids and once they reach a certain age…in order to ease socially in with the others….its just not cool to have mom make your stuff anymore. They want to keep up with their friends. Some of the specialized stuff they let me do, but it just isn’t as socially accepting. Some kids can be brutal about anything that just doesn’t follow the norm.

  4. Tana

    These are fabulous! Fantastically demented and disturbing. Love it!

  5. Curtis

    These are freaking awesome. I’m going to show these to my kids.

  6. Jackie

    Brilliant pics, thanks for sharing!

  7. Hugh Mooney
    Hugh Mooney10-28-2013

    The way Halloween should look. None of these stupid superheroes, angels and fairies.

    • Valerie

      …except that there WERE superheroes…

  8. Josh Feit
    Josh Feit10-28-2013

    Dates? Places?

  9. Becky Fields
    Becky Fields10-28-2013

    Wow! What great old photos!! They inspire me to get out the paints and paper mâché’ and make some real scary masks!!!

  10. Martin

    These aren’t actually costumes. It’s just the way people used to look back then.

  11. Agnieszka H.
    Agnieszka H.10-29-2013

    Charming! Some of these costumes look downright scary.

  12. Mark hooper
    Mark hooper10-29-2013

    I love these pics. The one pic of the little kid in the Mickey Mouse bib with a skeleton mask…that is cracking me up!!!

    • Jayson W
      Jayson W11-01-2013

      Standing with “Bacardi Girl”?

  13. Camilla R
    Camilla R10-29-2013

    These images will haunt me in my dreams, my bad dreams.
    Disturbing.I would be scared shitless if any of them came knocking on my door.
    The Halloween masks/costumes they make today are more advanced, yes.
    Yet are these “simple” masks and outfits leagues over when it comes to be scary.
    I’m intrigued..

  14. allen

    Its only creepy/weird because the photos are black and white.

  15. neil

    Number 7 looks like a Tierney Gearon photo.

  16. Elias

    I wish I could see those times with my very own eyes, Like being in the time of my grand grandfathers.
    The style had to be simple, but scary.
    And maybe they would not be scared with the costumes nowadays.

  17. ian

    Now THAT is Halloween. Not like current kind of Halloween where it’s an excuse to dress extra slutty.

    • stacy

      Amen, Ian!

    • Erica

      I concur. I sew and craft my children’s costumes every year because I refuse to dress her like a grown sorority girl. My daughter wanted to be Little Red Riding Hood this year, so instead of buying a dress that was overpriced and too short, I made a dress, cape, and apron for her that was more Little Red Riding Hood and less “Barbie-inspired fashion.” Wish more Moms and Dads had the time and energy to try. :/

    • Rain

      That’s not really our fault though. The only reason all of those costumes look all “slutty” is because of the people of who make and sell them. So blame them instead. The media is constantly trying to tell women how we are “suppose” to look, and of course that’s incredibly unfair.

      • Doug Draa
        Doug Draa11-04-2013

        Hi Rain,
        I have to agree with you on that. i should have worded it better.

  18. Ashley

    There costumes were amazing compared to ours nowadays… way more spooky for not having much to use but there imagination I think the are awesome!!

  19. Ashley

    There costumes are amazing… They are way more spooky then what we have nowadays…. and for having so little to work w/ besides there imagination.. absolutely amazing!!!!

  20. Shim

    Hey! Where are these pics from? Would love to have have a print quality copy of some of them to put on my wall :)

    • Doug Draa
      Doug Draa10-30-2013

      They’re just a google away. There’s hundreds and hundreds of them out there.

    • rd

      haunted air

  21. Bat

    Some great stuff there. By, golly!

  22. Mike G
    Mike G10-30-2013

    Interesting how we see the glimpses of the rituals that created this Halloween phenomenon we have today. The day of dead, celebration of lost souls etc, end of the harvest, plant life dying or going dormant all. Today is more about make believe than about ritual. [withholding typical consumerism rant here]

    • Jenn

      I say this to people all the time. It isn’t about “Let’s dress up as our favourite super hero or cartoon character and go get candy from people.” It is supposed to be a scary-ass night. I find it horrible how such an old custom has become so abused.

      • Ellie

        Just like Christmas?? Now there’s an abused/ commercialized/ everyone trying to change it, “old custom”, wouldn’t you agree?

  23. Liss


  24. Leticia Ramírez Mariscal
    Leticia Ramírez Mariscal10-30-2013

    Un encanto a la memoria con estas fotos, para los que ya pasamos del quinto piso…. llenitas de nostalgia.

  25. Smuzz / Sms
    Smuzz / Sms10-30-2013

    It’s not lack of time that makes people unable to create these things, it’s lack of contact with the real world. The world these kids lived in, plastics would have been a real novelty. In our world, plastic is just about the only material most kids meet. This has very real effects on their appreciation of the world – plastics are wonderful but lack a complexity or texture,. of sensation or of ‘history’. Plastics even lack value – it’s simultaneously disposable and valuable.
    The fabrics used for these things were old clothes from relatives, bits of sacking from farm or hardware, paper and cardboard from newspapers and specific boxes. Each thing had a ‘history’ and ‘spirit’ before it was magicked into being something ‘other’ (A spooky Halloween costume). This is a kind of witchcraft in itself and the act of imagining a thing into being gives it ‘spirit’ whilst each kids outfit is theirs alone. No other child could be their creation and, by definition, behind each mask was a unique child… but which one?
    Equally important – the places these kids ‘spooked’ were dimly lit, each place had a history, neighbours were known and each place had a purpose and a mythology – a garage run by old mister ?, the warehouse which weas where someone lost a dog, the garden owned by that quiet old lady, the wood where someone swears they saw a real Indian… These are not the odourless, meaningless adverts of a re-run DVD. These are the totems of a childs imagination – each mask and each tour of the night, an individual invention of an unconscious which will be someone else in the morning.
    We can do this again, if only we avoid the marketing.
    Reclaim Halloween. Reclaim childhood.
    Reclaim your humanity.

    • Doug Draa
      Doug Draa10-30-2013


    • Kim

      Wonderfully said!

    • suzette taylor
      suzette taylor10-30-2013

      Thank you for taking the time to give such a thoughtful response. You’re absolutely right; the connections to where the costume materials came from, and to the special places in the community, were what made the whole experience mean something. If you really know, really know your neighbourhood, you may be scared on Halloween, but you probably aren’t in danger. If you have no connection with your neighbours, well then, you have to go trick-or-treating at the mall.

    • Ben Wade
      Ben Wade10-31-2013

      Wow Smuzz, I’m speechless. You must be a true writer because your words came to life for me this Halloween Morning (1am). Thank you and may you have the happiest, scariest Halloween yet!

  26. poot

    The masks are by far the creepiest part

  27. Debbie Burgess
    Debbie Burgess10-30-2013

    These are great. They remind me when “scary” was still part of Halloween. Imagination was the order of the day,not picking up your costume at Party City, which I admit I did for my grand kids this year. It was fun to be a little scared.

  28. Dana Mathews
    Dana Mathews10-31-2013

    This was refreshing in the sea of no reality based web postings. Enjoyed all the great photographs and again reminded me we as a society are too spend oriented in solving problems. Thank you for posting.

    Dana mathews

  29. Silje Latoya
    Silje Latoya10-31-2013

    I LOVE THIS! Gonna share this on my blog!!

  30. francina levesque
    francina levesque10-31-2013

    Thank you for sharing….much more creepier then than now!

  31. Pat

    These are amazing! How creative!

  32. Judy

    Amazing captures of the life and times, and how creepy they look today. Wonderful that these photos are preserved.

  33. alta

    I realy enjoyed those get ups they look scarier then the ones we have today

  34. mckayla

    I love these!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Paul Burke - Journey Home
    Paul Burke - Journey Home10-31-2013


  36. Nanci hedgepeth
    Nanci hedgepeth10-31-2013

    Loved, loved this. Fascinating and I remember some of this stuff. Thank you!

  37. Michael Johnson
    Michael Johnson10-31-2013

    SUBMITTED. Submitted for your approval.

  38. murkle46

    If you saw children like this today,you’d shit yourself.

  39. Jenn-Dove

    Nightmarish with old world charm : P

  40. KaraRaoul

    That looks like Moxham Castle in the background of the second picture. Way too cool!!!

  41. Linda had a little Lamb
    Linda had a little Lamb11-01-2013

    These Halloween costumes are pretty darn creepy looking–far better than the Disney charcters, princess, and sexy costumes of today are . Love it!

  42. Bonnie S.
    Bonnie S.11-01-2013

    A trip back in time! I remember a lot of the “thinking” behind the creations. I laughed right out loud at Murkle46′s comment…”if you saw a kid like this today, you’d sh*t yourself!” It’s true! LOL

  43. jman

    Meh, If these photos were in color and weren’t grainy, they’d lose about 95 percent of their “creepiness.”

  44. Paullyn

    these are actually scary

  45. Dave

    Excellent. One of the coolest things I’ve seen online this year.

  46. Seth

    Masks are creepy. Gotta make one pronto.

  47. Masks Shop
    Masks Shop11-29-2013

    Glad it’s got less creepy in the twenty first century!!

  48. Greg Petliski
    Greg Petliski01-09-2014

    Hahah wow!!! These are amazing! I love em, Theyre quite beautiful in fact.

  49. Doug Draa
    Doug Draa11-06-2013


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