Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ghosts of Halloween Past

Halloween, London 2007
It is yet again time for me to pull Shattered Silk up by the corset laces, and post more frequently. There has been no lack of topic ideas in my corner, so the only thing keeping me from the task has been time. Yawn.

However, since I am on a brief hiatus from some of my other work activities, and since I have not actually posted since Halloween, I thought to pick up where I left off, and offer up a photo essay of a life spent dressing up.

A few months ago, someone marveled at my saying I had dressed up for Halloween every year of my life, some years with two different costumes. I then wondered if I had mis-spoke, and challenged myself to remember my Halloween costumes from every year to date.

Turns out there are possibly two years when I did not dress up for Halloween. Tellingly those were in my early teens, when mischief of other sorts took precedence over trick or treating.  Yet, I have been able to collect photos of nearly every Halloween costume I have worn.

While this blog does not set out to be a personal portrait, I offer this post as a case study of costume and ritual. Hopefully this might inspire you to remember your own Halloween costumes and what they meant to you then and now, and how they were manifestations of your aspirations at particular moments in time.

Enjoy, and do get in touch with comments, memories or photos of your own.

I add a brief reading list on Halloween costumes and customs.

Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween
by David J. Skal

Masked Culture: Greenwich Village Halloween Parade
by Jack Kugelmass

Treat or Trick: Halloween in a Globalising World
by Hugh O'Donnell and Malcolm Foley

Halloween: An American Holiday, An American History
by Leslie Pratt Bannatyne

Dressed for Thrills: 100 Years of Halloween Costumes and Masquerade
by Valerie Steele, Mark Alice Durant and Phyllis Galembo

October 1978, Minnie Mouse

October 1979, Witch

October 1980, Raggedy Ann

October 1981, Snoopy

October 1981, Snoopy (with mask on)

October 1982, Annie

October 1983, 1st Grade Class 

October 1983, Princess Leia and Ernie 

October 1985, Rainbow Brite and Superman

October 1987, Cleopatra

October 1992, Group photo, Cleopatra (again)

October 1993, Sally from Nightmare Before Xmas

October 1994, Death from the Neil Gaiman comics

October 1995, Aeon Flux and the Crow

October 1996, Sally from Nightmare Before Xmas (again)

October 1999, Bastet the Egyptian Cat Goddess and Satyr

October 2000, Medusa and the Devil

October 2000, Cruella de Ville

October 2002, Drowned Ophelia

October 2003, Skeleton Pirate

October 2004, Group Photo, NYC

October 2004, Bearded Lady and Circus Barker

October 2005, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride and Groom

October 2006, The Black Dahlia

October 2007 Spoiled Brat/Candy Doll

October 2008 Egyptian Bird Goddess, Bull and Invisible Woman

October 2009 Victorian Mourning and the Elephant Man

October 2010, Zombie Nurse and Otto the Zombie

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