Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Haunted Book Review Thursday

Dressed For Thrills: 100 Years of Halloween Costumes & Masquerade

Phyllis Galembo, author

If you read on the right side of my blog some of the things that I remember about Hallowe'en, you would notice that I mentioned picking out Collegeville and Ben Cooper costumes at the dime store. Of course, things have changed, I usually start constructing my costume around July and it's usually a unique creation. But I still remember those boxes stacked up high in the store and making the impossible decision of what to be for that one night. The polyester or nylon jumpsuit with the thin plastic masks with the tiny rubber band stapled to each side that usually came off would transform you to anything you could ask for for that one magic night.

What Ms. Galembo has done is beautifully document commercial Halloween costumes from the last 100 years. The photography is misty, highlighting the pieces in a sort of dreamlike state that emphasizes the mystery of the masks, jumpsuits and accessories. A few pieces are from an era where racism was acceptable and those pieces are presented with dignity and sensitivity.

Overall the only complaint that I would have is that there isn't another edition of this book, it leaves you wanting more, at least it did for me. It's fascinating reading and the documentation of the interpretation of fictional characters into wearable costume is truly delightful. Some are whimsical, some are beautiful, some are primitive, some are scary but all are a work of art. It's a beautiful coffee table book, full of glorious photography bordering on artwork.

Don't sell the kids to buy this book if you don't have to, but maybe a little indentured servitude wouldn't be too bad.


halloween spirit said...

This is a book I have to track down. Sounds wonderful. I have so many great memories involving those plastic and vinyl costumes :)

The Captain said...

I love looking at old costumes online, so this sounds right up my alley.

The Frog Queen said...

Oh, what I lovely book. Sits on our coffee table. We love it and the cats think it is a pretty comfy place to sleep!


Thanks for sharing. As always, great, thoughtful reviews.


The Captain said...

Unrelated: I got it! Thank you so much! I wrote you an email with the story of our wacky adventure. Thank you again

Belle Dee said...

I love this book. Some of the home-made costumes in it are creee-py!
I agree that I wish there was another book, or that there were more photos in the this one. I want more! But it is a beautiful book with some fantastic photographs!