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.