Tag Archives: costumes

Costumes and Masks

There is nothing that gives more assurance than a mask.  ~ Colette

Jack was back! Our neighborhood Halloween party was early this year, on Friday night prior to Halloween. As we left for work that morning, we happened to see the infamous Jack and ask if he would be attending that evening’s festivities. He wasn’t sure. But lo and behold that evening, Jack appeared, this time decked out in all his flight-gear glory – including his cigar. Too bad he only took third place!

As I thought about his costume later over the weekend, it seemed the perfect image – how he used his everyday “costume” along with a pumpkin mask to hide his real identity for the evening. And I got to thinking about how often people do this – put on a public face that hides the person inside – although typically with less dramatic impact that what appears on Halloween.

I know I do. The moments when the last thing I want to do is answer the phone, but on goes the smile, up goes the voice, and my phone persona has nary a care in the world. That comes from years of customer service experience. Other times when I would rather be doing a million other things that what I have to do at that moment, but it is that one thing (instead of the million) that has to take priority. Or evenings when all I want is to curl up with a book and a cup of coffee, when my inner hermit is screaming for her cave, but other things, other needs prevail.

The costumes and masks we wear on a daily basis are part of living, this I know. But I guess sometimes I forget how to take them off, how to just “be” without having to “be” something or some way.

Or conversely, how interesting might it be if we could own those masks, like we do on Halloween, and make them visible as well as real. To put our daily masks and costumes out there, in all their scary, wicked, and/or fun reality. What if we put on our everyday masks with the same thoughtfulness and public declaration of what we “are” each day. Like we do for Halloween.

What if every day was like Halloween – what costumes and masks would we choose to wear if everyone could see them?

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Monday Moments: Ghosts of My Friends

What we remember from childhood we remember forever – permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen. ~ Cynthia Ozick

Directions: Sign your name along the fold of the paper with a full pen of ink, and then double the page over without using blotting paper.

So opens the book The Ghosts Of My Friends. Arranged by Cecil Henland and published out of London by Dow and Lester Forester’s Hall Place, E.C., this book is a charming collection of autographs, with a “ghostly” twist. When the instructions are followed, the resulting image oftentimes produces a ghost-like image, built around the lines of the original signature. Sometimes, if the ink is too dry, the image is just a reflected signature. Other times, the images look like insects. Sometimes they don’t look like anything at all.

But with Halloween approaching, take a look at a few samples from a copy of The Ghosts of My Friends that we have in the archives where I work. See what images you can see in them! And did you notice that some of the signatures were collected while sailing on the Lusitania?

If you’d like to see it in the Archives, the book is part of our MS-383, Local History Ephemera collection, which has a number of interesting and unusual items relating to the history of the area. And if that isn’t enough “boo” in your Halloween festivities this weekend, be sure to check out some vintage Halloween photographs from our Dayton Daily News Archive on our DDN blog!

And I would be remiss if I didn’t share a picture of one of the scariest costumes at our local Halloween party. This guy was good…. He dressed in a suit, complete with tight-fitting black silk gloves, just like you see in all the great serial killer movies or television shows. He never spoke. Not a single word. Nor did he eat or drink. And, in case you are wondering, that is a real pumpkin. A very large one, that he carved out and wore. I think it is now my new favorite costume that I’ve ever seen.

What is your favorite Halloween memory? A favorite costume or treat? A scary moment?

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