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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

Halloween Hobo: 1957

Halloween Hobo: 1957

Baltimore, Oct. 31, 1957. "Carol Lee, Ray Steward, Howard H." A seasonal scene from the Janet & Kermy Kodachromes. Happy Halloween! View full size.

Burnt Cork Or An Old Mop

As OTY mentioned there was a time when the costume was a lot cheaper than the amount of goodies collected.

My older sister was in charge of my get up each year and it was always either a hobo or a girl.

Some burnt cork rubbed on the face plus an old flannel shirt, holey jeans, a railroad engineer's cap and a bandana filled with newspaper tied to a stick would suffice for the hobo.

The hobo would only take a few minutes to put together but when I was to be a girl and she a hobo there was much more time involved and I learned at a very early age why girls take longer to get dressed than guys. She would painstakingly paint my face with rouge, lipstick, eyebrow liner and mascara. Next she would go through her old clothes to find a training bra plus skirt and blouse that would complete the picture. With a clean dry mop plopped on my head or a silk kerchief tied under my chin I would sally forth to see what I could gather

Back then guys who dressed as girls were not subjected to homophobic slurs and the parents would not fret that this would change the gender identification of their sons dressed as their daughters.

I grew up a heterosexual male with fond memories of my sister and those magical Halloween nights of the 50's

Howard H.

Has the hands of a working man, including part of his middle finger missing on the right hand.

I remember

Those kraft paper trick-or-treat bags. Drag it on the ground like that, kid, & your Halloween will be a disaster.

Hobos, bums and runaways

As a kid, this is the type of stuff we would assemble to wear on Halloween night, mostly from the castoffs of our dads and grandfathers (which doesn't say much for their taste in clothing) and the three occupations listed in my comment title were the most common getups for most middle-class, small-town youngsters out trick or treating. In fact, we often would wait until "after supper" to even decide what we were going to wear and then just go with it. We'd wear masks that obscured our vision so we couldn't see well and giant grandpa shoes that were falling off our feet, making us trip, and yes, we usually did hurt ourselves falling off a curb or coming down porch steps in the dark.

Currently my grandkids have planned for weeks exactly how they will dress and Mom ordered elaborate "theater quality" costumes for them that would be suitable for use in stage productions. Standards have changed over the generations, but I believe we had just as much fun, or even more, than the lavishly attired, pre-planned extravaganzas seen today which are very imaginative and clever, but ours were free. Happy Halloween to all.

 
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