During my first Halloween on WordPress in 2013, I did a couple posts on inappropriate Halloween costumes (one for everyone and another one for children). This October I did a post on DIY Halloween costumes and runway fashions that are more appropriate for Halloween in my opinion. This time I’m going with vintage Halloween costumes or what kind of outfits your grandparents wore while they were trick or treating. Now Halloween isn’t a new holiday by any means. I mean it’s one that’s blended with customs pertaining to Celtic pagan and medieval Christian rituals. And people have been dressing up in costumes for parties and trick or treating for ages. Still, when you look at some of these old vintage photos, you get the impression of how bizarre and creepy many of these costumes were. I don’t know if it’s the black and white photography or how costumes were made back then. But the effect is pretty scary and terrifying. Other costumes are just plain weird and some aren’t nearly as wholesome as you’d expect at the time. So without further adieu, here are an assortment of vintage Halloween costumes that might scare the bejesus out of you that you might find a contemporary slasher horror movie less terrifying.
- In the olden days, it was suggest that you beware of ghosts within.
On second thought, I’ll take my chances with the ghosts. The rabbit in this picture is way more terrifying. Reminds me of those old scary Easter Bunnies I posted about.
2. Looks like this devil spawn wants some more cake.
Yes, I know that’s really a harmless little kid in a devil costume. But the fearsome makeup just makes me squirm.
3. When these kids show up at your doorstep for trick or treat, you better give them candy or else.
Let’s just say that five candy bars are a small price to pay to keep them from haunting your dreams. Not so scared of the witch as I am of the clowns and the ones with skull masks.
4. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce the Fly from the 19th century.
Now this is a costume from 1865. Or so I think. Still, it’s a bit too realistic for my taste. Well, except that he’s not wearing a mask.
5. This little ghost just wants some candy.
So give it out now or it will haunt your door step forever. And unlike what you see in Casper, this ghost does not look friendly at all.
6. It’s said that rabbits and hedgehogs had to be stylish gentlemen back then.
Now the suits are quite stylish. But the heads are quite freaky. Guess they had furries, too, back in the day.
7. You better not diss this witch.
You really don’t want to mess with Broomhilda. Yes, she not be pleasant. But you don’t want her to turn you into a newt. Or worse. So fork over the Crunch bar now.
8. Of course, not every dressed up as monsters, supernatural entities, clowns, or animals for Halloween. This person dressed up as a little girl with pigtails.
Now I know this isn’t a kid by any means. However, the toys and smile don’t make her less terrifying. Yeah, certainly scares the hell out of me.
9. Though women are said to be afraid of spiders, it’s not always the case.
You see, the sexy costume trend isn’t as recent as you think. Still, despite this image not being at least PG, spiderwebs are an appropriate Halloween motif.
10. Of course, Disney characters were very popular during your grandparents’ childhoods. And people did dress as them for Halloween, too.
Okay, I may not be a fan of Mickey and Minnie (nor Disney cartoons in general). But these two really give me the impression that the old Disneyland was way terrifying than I imagined.
11. Behold, the original Michelin Tire Man.
And he’s smoking a cigar, lovely. Now Michelin was founded in 1889 and the Michelin Man has been around since 1898. So it’s probably possible that such Michelin Man costume existed at the time.
12. I’d watch it with the skeleton if I were that clown.
Yeah, the skeleton looks pretty terrifying and seems to have something in his hand. Then again, the clown looks pretty freaky, too.
13. Of course, gnomes were a popular costume choice as well. And I’m sure as hell that they weren’t scary either.
I was wrong. These gnomes are terrifying. Why can’t they just look like chubby fat guys with Santa Claus beards? Seriously, it’s far less terrifying.
14. Like today, sometimes whole families would have their own costume theme.
And I suppose everyone here is dressed like ghosts in order to scar the neighbors. Then again, they were probably very easy to make. But they’re just as scary.
15. Of course, before there were cars, you couldn’t possibly go trick or treating without your horse. Well, if you had one.
And since they’re going as skeletons, the horses should follow suit as well. Still, I think it would be easier for the horses if one of them just went as the Headless Horseman.
16. Beware of the little devil in the babushka.
I would also be careful around the creepy clown, too. Not sure about the other kid in a mask.
17. When it comes to this couple, the female is deadlier than the male.
And I also get the impression that they went Dutch that year. Man went for the high class Dutch. Woman decided to be a Dutch homicidal housewife.
18. Of course, Halloween parties were quite popular. Hope none were incredibly horrifying.
On second thought, I’m kind of relieved that I wasn’t around to attend this party. This seems to be a rather terrifying photo op indeed. I guess the competition in the scary costume contest is brutal.
19. Group costumes were also popular as well. This one is of a bearkeeper, bear, and hunter.
Now we wouldn’t have a group costume like that today, just because we don’t chain up bears anymore. Still, the bear is quite terrifying and so is the kid.
20. I’d watch my step if I were that cat.
If it knows what evil that clown is capable of, it would know to keep away. Seriously, that clown gives the Joker a run for his money.
21. Costume Theme: Where the Wild Things Are as a horror movie.
Okay, these costumes are quite horrifying to say the least. Wouldn’t want to take a walk in that forest if you ask me.
22. Don’t want to know what this person has up their sleeve.
Let’s hope that this person doesn’t wear this costume when kids come over for trick or treating. Wait a minute, it was probably made just for the occasion.
23. Halloween parades were said to be quite popular and it was no exception in the olden days.
Strangely, the kid going as Peter Pan is the least terrifying thing in this picture. And he’s known for creeping into houses and kidnapping children. Yeah, I don’t see any appeal of that story.
24. For Halloween, this woman is going as a Sopwith Camel.
The Sopwith Camel was a British fighter plane during WWI. Don’t see any reason why it should be made into a sexy costume. That’s just crazy.
25. Say cheese, and don’t mind the black shadowy figure behind you.
After this picture was taken, the children in the foreground were never seen again. This was no surprise as you see how the Grim Reaper decided to pose with them for Halloween.
26. Guess C-3PO has seen better days.
Yeah, I know it’s supposed to be an alien and the picture was taken before Star Wars. But still, the person really looks like a ragged C-3PO.
27. Back in the day, nothing won a costume contest than dressing up as a pig’s insides.
This was for a fancy dress ball in London, which took place in April. But it would’ve been better if he wore it on Halloween. He even designed it himself. What a sick and demented man.
28. Of course, a spider web dress was seen as the height of 1920s Halloween fashion.
This is the 1920s silent film actress, Louise Brooks. She’s best known for playing Lulu in the 1929 Pandora’s Box. Her best known moves were heavily censored. She didn’t last in movies for long.
29. Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?
Somehow, I don’t feel that this dog is doomed for a bad end. I’m sure the wolf is bound to make it his dinner. Just have a feeling.
30. “For Christ’s sake, who are you calling chicken?”
Now that’s the most realistic rooster costume I’ve ever seen. Guess this was for a costume contest. Still, looks like someone you don’t want to mess with.
31. Of course, witches are known to show great hospitality to trick or treaters.
The fact some trick or treaters are never seen again has nothing to do with it. After all, why would an old lady like that would want to prey on children? You think she might put them in a cauldron or oven.
32. It’s said that some skeleton ladies were known to be quite stylish back in the turn of the century.
Of course, they intended to make a grand entrance to the Halloween party. Didn’t mean to terrify anyone in the process.
33. Let’s hope these adventurers don’t mind the dancing skeleton in the background.
I don’t know about you but that skeleton is very terrifying to say the least. Maybe it’s the photography but I’m not sure.
34. Seems like she has found herself between a goat man and a satyr.
Let’s just say, I’m not sure which guy is more terrifying. Also, that’s a very skimpy and unflattering satyr costume if you ask me.
35. When making Halloween costumes, sometimes you have to go with what you got.
Guess these two are either space aliens or inspectors at some nuclear power plant. Not sure which. Probably the former.
36. Sometimes wearing a mask can change your whole personality.
Strange that the least scary kid in this is the one with devil horns. The girl in the donkey head is particularly terrifying to say the least. The ones in masks aren’t much better.
37. Sometimes sibling Halloween pictures are adorable, especially when the kids are young. Not sure about this one.
Okay, seems like these two kids have succeeded in haunting my dreams. Seriously, what was it about the creepy masks?
38. Yes, a masked jester can be quite terrifying to say the least. Best keep the mask off.
On second thought, he might want to keep the mask on since he’s pretty terrifying without it. What was I thinking?
39. “Hello, we want to play with you.”
I know the kids are real little in this. But still, their costumes are simply terrifying beyond all reason. Maybe it’s the masks. Maybe not.
40. May I present to you, Castle Tower Man.
Wonder if this was a rejected character from Beauty and the Beast. Sure seems like it. Then again, it’s a pretty crazy costume if you ask me.
41. Of course, you should know better than to cross the pig butcher.
Looks like this porker is through with bringing the bacon at the expense of his fellow swine. What I wonder is why this pig thought being a butcher was a good career path in the first place.
42. Is this kid supposed to be a hobo clown? Wait, I may not want to know.
Now that’s pretty terrifying to say the least. Makes me want to go pale and run away in fear.
43. “All hail the powerful Pumpkin king.”
I’m sure what they’re doing here is harmless and nothing to be afraid of. Honestly, I’m sure it’s not some type of evil spirit worship. Then again, you might want to run.
44. This clown really wants you to give him candy.
And no, you really don’t want to see him in the moonlight. As Lon Chaney says, “A clown is never funny in the moonlight.” He had a point.
45. Hey, look, a scarecrow family. Sure they’re just as rustic as all the scarecrows you see in fields.
Actually I was wrong. These scarecrows can really scare crows and other creatures. Hell, they can scare the hell out of people like me.
46. Now she’s just a little girl in the pumpkin patch. Hope there’s nothing scary to see here.
Okay, this little girl is creepy as hell. I mean just look at her face. Really something that gives people nightmares.
47. Didn’t know that the Prince of Darkness had his own office in Hell.
Then again, it seems likely that Satan is a top executive in some major hedge fund company on Wall Street. Not sure why. Then again, the place is filled with scum and villainy that never get prosecuted or put in jail.
48. Of course, in the olden days, we have to be aware that some people dressed up as racist caricatures.
Yes, many of these costumes are terrifying. But if you’re black and/or Native American, only the clown and witch won’t offend you. Also, I think the Indian princess might work for the Washington Redskins or Cleveland Indians.
49. Seems like we have a dangerous psycho killing horror villain on the loose.
Yes, he does kind of remind me of some slasher horror movie villain for some reason. Hope he just says out of my town. Guess there might be people in his neighborhood who won’t see the light of day when he’s through with them.
50. I see the skeleton preferred to come in a nightgown this time.
Talk about creepy as hell. Still, I’m sure the third one in this picture is bound to offend some people of color. Not sure what the other two women are, not that I want to know.
51. Nothing is more creepy on Halloween than seeing a little kid with a head like this.
Now that costume is bound to win the Scariest Costume Award at the Halloween kiddie party. Of course, it’s sure to scare the living shit out of everyone. I’m sure it this child will make playmates wet their pants or beds.
52. Sometimes a tune won’t let the old goat down.
Don’t usually think goats as scary. But this one looks horrifying enough to haunt my dreams. And no, I really don’t want to hear any tunes from that horn.
53. Remember that some ghouls might walk the street in quite stylish attire.
For some reason, this guy reminds me of Jim Carrey’s character from The Mask. Well, if he gained a few pounds anyway. Also bears some resemblance to a character from Ghostbusters.
54. Here we have a clown with a couple of dolls. Hope nothing goes wrong with that.
Is it just me or are these people seem like they can kill you in their sleep in the middle of the night? Just a thought.
55. Always remember to put on your best face this Halloween season.
Now I’ve seen people in sexy and scantily clad costumes before. But this is just ridiculous and terrifying at the same time. Seriously, this is something you’d see on a very bad acid trip.
56. For some reason, giant eyes scare me. Not sure why.
Okay, I can see why this time. Yeah, eye heads really can be terrifying. This is especially in black and white photography.
57. Oh, look, the astronaut kid wants you to hold his jack o’lantern.
On second thought, thanks but no thanks. Yeah, I know this isn’t supposed to be a scary costume. But the kid creeps me out just the same.
58. Don’t make the Devil get his pronged fork out. I’m just saying.
Now I know devil is a popular costume choice. But it seems that a lot of these vintage devils can sure scare the hell out of you.
59. Now this witch may fly with a broom but her preferred ground transport is bicycle.
Yeah, really don’t want to see her riding around during the night. Still, at least she can’t kidnap children with it. If she wanted to, she should’ve bought a windowless van.
60. This Halloween, this group decided to go as a Texas couple with two oil derricks.
Is it just me or do I find the idea of oil derrick costumes a bit too strange? Then again, it must be the arms sticking out of the derricks that’s disturbing.
61. Now I’m sure this circus clown is up to no good.
After all, what circus clown doesn’t have the face of Rip Taylor? Like all of them.
62. Sure this bug can fly but he would rather ride his bike in the countryside.
Now this would be the beginning of a terrific horror movie. I’m sure this guy would be the one who kills most of the characters.
63. Sure a bunny can be a popular but not scary costume for kids this Halloween.
On second thought, I was wrong. In fact, those rabbit ears look suspiciously like devil horns. Looks like this is a job for the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. But since you must likely don’t have it, run away. Run away!
64. Clowns are also popular kid costumes as well. Little kids always look so cute in ruffles and a pointy clown hat.
Sorry, but I think your granma’s creepy old dolls have just come back to life. You might want to evacuate the premises for your own good. Yeah, you’ll have nightmares but nothing you can do about that.
65. “Okay, folks, seems like the gang’s all here.”
“Now let us all just take one picture of ourselves before we go out sucking the souls out of people. We want to remember this occasion, don’t we?”
66. Hey, did I just see a ghost?
Yeah, sometimes the heavy urban pollution can make some people look scarier than they appear. The kid in a ghost costume is one of them.
67. Of course, when it comes to scaring the crap out of people, always start them while they’re young.
From Huffington Post: “What if we told you this wasn’t a costume? And that this baby is in your house? And you’re in a Spanish horror film?”
68. Say hello to the pumpkinhead girl and her friend.
Actually I really don’t. Now I don’t find jack o’lanterns particularly scary. But this one is utterly terrifying for some reason.
69. A Japanese scarecrow? Never seen that before.
Man, didn’t know that could actually scare crows, critters, and people. Certainly don’t want to see that wandering the streets at night.
70. Didn’t know that anteaters could be so romantic.
Okay, this picture sure won’t make me look at anteaters the same way again. Are you sure these guys eat ants? Because these two are certainly bound to scare me to death.
71. Of course, fairies are a popular Halloween costume that’s not scary. At least I hope so.
Now I really don’t want to mess with these two. Yeah, the masks really makes them seem quite menacing and real terrors in their own right.
72. “I told you we should’ve done Alice in Wonderland this year.”
Now that gnome is as creepy as hell. The women dressed as mushrooms is just freaky. Sure this wasn’t a hallucinogenic drug trip? Because it sure looks like it.
73. Seems like this little pumpkin is excited to go trick or treating.
Now this is freaky if you ask me and sure to scare the hell out of me. Then again, this might be just the black and white photography here.
74. Of course, sometimes it pays to be original in regards to Halloween costumes.
Now this woman is supposed to be lettuce. Yes, lettuce. However, she more or less looks like you’d expect to marry the Jolly Green Giant. Then again, I’m not sure if he’d approve of that outfit.
75. “Let’s be phones for Halloween by taking a couple old ones and putting it on our heads.”
Don’t pictures like these make you glad that we have cell phones today. Because these look quite freaky. Yeah, that can’t be good.
76. Didn’t know a long shawl can make a great ghost costume.
Seems quite simple and scary but it works. Let’s hope she can see through it though. And that she doesn’t spill anything.
77. Looks like this boy’s parents are going out for a party.
And I’m sure this photo will make him always remember what to tell his therapist some years down the line. Yeah, that kid is certainly screwed up for life.
78. Guess all horror movie villains always have to start small.
And I’m sure this little boy will grow up killing and scaring a lot of teenagers some day. Yeah, just you wait until he becomes a holy terror.
79. “Come along here, little children. Come get some candy. I won’t bite.”
Okay, kids, you might want to stay the hell away from this person. You don’t want to be put in a brew, oven, fireplace, windowless van, or worse.
80. These people prefer to haunt more high class Halloween parties.
Now the guy certainly has a real vibe I’d identify with the Joker. However, I think the woman is more likely to scare the living hell out of me. Must be the menacing mask.
Why are these costumes so creepy? Maybe they would less freaky looking if they were in color. None of these costumes were cute!
It is so great to find these hidden gems of history.
28. Is a modern costume!