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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Halloween: 1958

Halloween: 1958

Kodachrome taken by a school teacher of her class in Michigan 1958. Collection of Joe Geronimo. View full size.

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Dressing In Drag

As Solo said there were those who could flaunt it and those who could not.

I lived in the latter category. My older sister who took charge usually dressed me in one of her old dresses and applied makeup on me or burnt some cork and spread it in my face and with my uncle's old railroad cap and patched dungarees I made a passable hobo.

I put up with it because I always came home with a good haul but then I had to split with my sister.

Fortunately dressing in drag did not seem to damage my psyche or my standing with my buddies afterwards.

Oh, that smell

I remember the plastic smell of the mask as if I had one on right now! Living in eastern N.C., it always seemed to be so hot on Halloween. I wanted to wear my new winter clothes and my costume on top of it - with that mask (I favored Cinderella or Snow White, anyone with long beautiful hair), but the weather was always too warm.

Halloween in the the 70's

I remember my Star Wars Storm Trooper costume in the late 70's. The plastic mask was so hard to breathe in and the costume also tied in back. When I saw this Kodachrome on Ebay I knew I just had to have it. I just love the colors and the age of this timeless photograph. Glad you have enjoyed it!

Collegeville memories

Those Collegeville costumes were uncomfortable when worn over heavy outerwear, and the inside of the mask steamed up within minutes. Halloween wasn't fun in a cold climate.

Hope they all survived

What with wearing flammable costumes, and masks you couldn't see out of, and dodging three tons of rolling Steel with sharp fins sticking out all over.

Halloween was fun back then, and even in the mid 60's when I was this age.


Most of the costumes look like the typical Collegeville costumes I remember wearing back in the '60s. A synthetic costume that tied in the back, paired with a molded plastic mask that was held on with an elastic cord. I can still remember being able to hear my breath under the mask, since they usually had just two tiny holes to breathe through.

I'm not sure what the red car is, but it appears to be a GM car, possibly a '53 Chevy (I spy just a sliver of the front wheelcover, that looks like '53 Chevy). The blue car is a '58 Buick.

Also, Superman appears to be trying to escape. Can't he just fly?

Not Any More

With Halloween having taken on a sinister image in the eyes of some, I suspect that costume day in many schools is a much more problematic event than in those relatively innocent days depicted here. This diverse group (costume-wise, not ethnically) evinces at least one kid whose "costume" is essentially a mask and some ill-matched street clothes and one little girl whose parents found a way to stretch the utility of her First Communion dress. Like the exchange of Valentines, Halloween was a chance for those who had to flaunt, and those who had not to get used to it, I guess.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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