Dressed for Thrills: 100 Years of Halloween Costume and Masquerade


SKU: 1790 Category:


A Whimsical array of ghosts and goblins, spooks and skeletons, animals and nursery-room characters parade through this unparalleled collection of more than one hundred years of American Halloween costumes and masquerade. Photographer Phyllis Galembo approaches her subjects with the delight and wonder of one who has discovered an entire cast of characters backstage in an abandoned theater. Through her lens, the costumes rise from the dead to once again dance, play, and amuse. Ranging from handmade to store-bought, satin to polyester, the masks, wigs, and costumes, whether recognizable figures or obscure, pique our childhood memories. In her celebration of Halloween revelry, Galembo never settles for the ordinary; instead she creates evocative scenes of dressed-to-scare young trick-or-treaters “modeling” their disguises and of undead spirits haunting their surroundings. The costumes, which span over a century, take on magical qualities through fanciful sets and specialized lighting effects. Accompanying the costumes is a history of this always-popular holiday and essays discussing Galembo’s inspirations and techniques. Through her art, Galembo allows us to act out our youthful fantasies of transformation — to become, or at least observe, what we most want to be: free of inhibitions, of fixed notions of identity. Her images make us laugh and dream and maybe even believe in ghosts.


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