Monday, February 1, 2010

Hallowe'en 1941

If you like looking at old photographs, regardless of theme, subject or composition, I imagine by now you've discovered that the photo archives of LIFE Magazine have been available, searchable, via Google Images since last year.

Who hasn't looked for these yet? Well... I hadn't.

William C. Shrout took these (and numerous others found here) in 1941.

Yeah, they're mostly posed, and almost too perfect.

But it's Hallowe'en in 1941... when I doubt any of these kids had to worry about razors, violence, or cowardly fundie neighbors griping about devils, witches, skeletons and this "evil" night.

Carefree, that is, only for another month or so -- on December 7th of that year, they will learn how terrifying the real world can truly be.

But for now, it's Hallowe'en 1941, and they are carefree and happy.

Such amazing imagery. The costumes, their shoes and hats, the decorations... *sigh*.

It's not nostalgia, really; I didn't show up screaming until 27 years later.

It's just Americana. Pure Americana.

Sure, there are giant lights placed just so among tree and tombstone, but those kids still must have felt pretty spooky walking through that cemetery at night. What an image. Click it, see it larger. Go on.

I want to be there. So deeply do I long to be there, just once, just for one real 'way back when' Hallowe'en.

Bradbury had a story along those lines... must go dig it up.

Some folks are unsure about Hallowe'en in this day and age. We Autumn People know that this year, and every year we are around, we'll make sure that something wicked does our way come.

Looking at these images, everyone can know that in 1940's America, something wicked that way went.



  1. Staged for LIFE or no, they are a slice of Americana. The costumes and settings are great. I especially like the graveyard scene.

    It is kind of sad to note that less than two months after this issue came out the whole world changed.

  2. Staged or not, those are great vintage photos. I often think Halloween costumes look creepier in black-and-white <:O