Years and years ago, people didn’t have the luxury of hopping over to the mall to pick up a costume for Halloween. People actually had to make their own Halloween costumes, and as you might expect they were more unnerving than anything you’ll find at stores today. As it turns out, the recipe for a perfect costume was a lot of papier mâché and a just a pinch of pure, unadulterated evil.
In case the aforementioned masks haven’t provided your subconscious with enough nightmare fodder already, here’s a picture of a spooky shaman. Featured in this shot is a Qagyuhl tribe shaman sporting a ceremonial mask of the Nuhlihahla, a forest spirit known for impersonating fools and its devotion to filth and disorder. This photo was taken in 1914 during a winter dance ceremony of the tribe in North West Coast, British Columbia. Edward S. Curtis, photographer, 1868-1952.
Looking for an innocuous way to introduce your children to the horrors of war? Why not via a beloved cartoon mouse icon? These gas masks were invented in 1942 so kids wouldn’t feel left out in the event of a good ole wartime gassing. Thank all your lucky stars that these terrible things never had to be put to use, and in a somewhat less offensive move, that they were simply handed out as mementos to older folk when the war was over.
It’s an image that many recognize but few know much about. With its long, curved beak and soulless eyes, the plague mask can be seen in many a costume shop, but its origins are much darker. There are accounts of a similar mask being used in during the 14th century plague, but the full getup (including a protective head to toe garment, gloves, boots, and hat) is credited to Charles De Lorme, who brought the whole thing together in the 17th century. The purpose of the beak-like mask was to keep bad smells at bay by packing the tip with flowers or herbs. At the time, doctors studying the plague employed the miasma theory- that disease was spread by smell, not germs.