November 3, 2013
Halloween, is about dressing up, and, as much as I delight in the abundance of creative costumes I see on this holiday, I cannot help but feel that many are missing the point.
Halloween is not about Micky Mouse, or Playboy Bunnies or…..Tinker Bell.
Rather, Halloween is about the dead.
Hence, costumes should be about ghosts and spirits, and scary creatures….
This includes a wide variety of revenants and the ‘dead’, ( Zombies, Vampires, ghouls, witches, the Headless Horseman, etc.).
In the most general of terms, Halloween can include the spirit of any character….Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, etc., etc.
Halloween is derived from the Christian Feast of All Souls and is connected to All Hallow’s Eve…this is when the dead come out of their graves for a short visit.
Halloween is about SCARY !
The following images are from my private collection of morbid inspiration:
VANITAS…..consider your mortality. This notion was popular during the 15th, 16th & 17th centuries and became a popular prop in portraiture.
A moratorium painting circa late 18th cent.
Napolean…..post mortem portrait….very soon after expiring, an artist was called in to quickly pencil his death visage.
Edgar Allen Poe’s child-bride….a post mortem painting.
Van Dyck painted this of Lady Digby on her deathbed.
A child’s tomb…..English…early…possibly 16th cent.
A child’s tomb…..late 19th c…..note the pillow that has ‘fallen’ off the bed. With the high rate of child mortality during the Victorian era, cemeteries
abound with these bitter-sweet tombs.
19th cent Victorian tear bottle…..made specifically to capture tears spent at a funeral.
The Victorians embraced death in a manner that made for the merchandising of accoutrements such a these which came in a wide variety and looked like beautiful Venetian glass.,
A ‘watch tower’…..to watch for grave-robbers, a healthy business in late Regency England .
The Paris morgue…a must-see for Viictorian tourism .
A mourner…mid-19th cent.
Mourning fashion….mid-19th cent. Dress made of bombazine, a fabric popular for Victorian mourning.
The famous doll company, Steiff, was commissioned to make a limited edition of these mourning teddy bears.