Earlier this year, on my 31st birthday to be exact, I shared a handful of early childhood photos of myself with all you in a post called When I Wore a Younger Woman's Clothes. Though I had occasionally included a picture of that nature in other posts here over the years, that was the first time I rounded up several that pertained to the same theme (in that case, my birthday) in one entry.
The response to that post was truly lovely and very heartwarming, with numerous readers expressing interest in seeing more photos from when I was a youngster (which was really touching to me), so I thought that I'd do just that today in the spirit of my favourite holiday.
I'm fortunate that my mom absolutely adores Halloween, too, and was always keen to dress us children up in festive attire from our first All Hallows' Eves onward. This means that, while I don't have photos from each and every one of my childhood Halloweens, I do have them from a fair number and enjoyed such a great trip down memory lane as I poured through my files gathering up the following selection of Halloween photos of myself from the ages of 1 - 12 years old.
Nearly all of the childhood pictures that I have are scans from old, completely non-archivally safe albums, which accounts for their less than stellar image quality in many cases - still, the fact that I have them at all is wonderful, please don't get me wrong.
Most of these costumes were handmade (by my mom) or pieced together from items we had to hand already (the pirate outfit, for example), which was still completely commonplace when I was little. Of course scores of people still do the same these days, but it's safe to say that the pre-made costume industry has really exploded in the last couple of decades.
There's nothing wrong with this of course, and I avail of it frequently these days myself, but's there's something very sweet and endearingly special about knowing that a lot of the Halloween costumes here were indeed handmade.
I was hooked instantly on Halloween and though I don't have any memories of wearing this adorable handmade kitty outfit when I was just a little over a year old, I'm sure that I enjoyed it and that it helped to set the stage of a lifetime passion for Halloween costumes.
We experienced many an icy cold - and at least a couple of snowy – Halloweens when I was a child (this is Canada after all! :)), so I'm not surprised to see a bulky white sweater nestled under the uber cute ghost costume that I wore for my second Halloween celebration. Love the teased 80s hair that my beautiful mom is rocking in the photo of the two of us together. She made this ghost costume, which my little sister would go on to sport herself several years later as a small child.
My third Halloween and the first that I have a few vague actual memories of , including the crinkly sound that my orange cape – ingeniously made from a plastic trash bag - created as I walked through the nippy autumn air that exceedingly fun evening.
I think this these two photos are from my 5th Halloween. I remember that pretty pink princess costume so well, because it was my first store bought one - and by pure coincidence, it was purchased on the same day that I went to an Ikea store for the first time (the things we remember, eh!). We often hosted Halloween parties at our house, which is where the second photo comes from. I scarcely recall the names of any of the kids in this photo, but the general scene itself is still surprisingly fresh in my mind over 25 years later.
Does that witch costume look familiar? If so, that's because it's the very same one that I wore when I was just three years old. It still fit, though it was of course shorter on me then, so it made a second appearance and was every bit as fun the second time around. How adorable does my little sister look in her pumpkin costume here? She was only two weeks old, when this image was taken. Awww!!!!!
My seventh Halloween, for which I sported my cute handmade pink and white gingham poodle skirt (I was already wildly obsessed with all things vintage back then and this was a way for me to dress in the spirit of the mid-twentieth century). I love these photos so much because, especially because of how young my little sister was (she's just a year old here).
Shiver me timbers, it's Halloween number eight! Those rainbow rubber boots might not have been historically accurate, but they were a must for the epic amount of rain our town had that particular October 31st.
This was either my 10th or 11th Halloween, I'm leaning towards 11th based on how old my sister looks here - decked out in that familiar witches costume that I'd worn myself for two previous Halloween. For much of my childhood, I wanted to be a nurse or a doctor when I grew up and had a particular passion for Florence Nightingale, so this handmade costume was a node to the older styles of nurse's uniforms. If memory serves me right, I was intentionally trying to make a "scary face" in the first photo - I was not possessed, as my wide-eyed expression might otherwise convey! :D Plus, just look at us with our Unicef donation boxes. They were an integral part of my childhood Halloweens and I would always put some coins into mine from my own piggy bank to help raise even more for that important charity.
Halloween aged 12 and the last of my childhood All Hallows' Eves that I believe I have photos from. I was rocking a witch costume with a handmade skirt (I may have made it myself actually, but don't quote me there) and my little sister is decked out in my old princess costume, while my brother looks frighteningly festive part as a vampire.
Note the pillow case in my hand - that was the usual method for bringing home our sweet loot as I got older and could easily handle the weight of something heavier than a plastic jack-o-lantern container. If you look closely at this photo, you can see some of the Halloween decorations that my family had at the time lined up on the roll top desk behind us. I'm very fortunate to now have a few of those very items in my own personal collection and delight in putting them out each and every year. They're priceless to me, much like the very memories that all of these old Halloween photos house.
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What was your favourite Halloween costume when you were a child? I love, and can vividly remember wearing, so many of the ones highlighted here that it's honestly hard for me to pick. Perhaps because it foreshadowed the fact that I would go on to wear mid-century clothes on the daily as an adult, the pink gingham poodle skirt ensemble does have an especially dear place in my heart (as discussed in this post last year).
Truth be told, for an array of different reasons (including my camera shyness and self-consciousness alike), I don't have many photos of myself as as a teenager or young adult, and have shared most of those that I do have from recent Halloweens in posts here over the years. Thankfully, since reaching a point where I was more comfortable in front of the lens in my late 20s, most of my Halloween ensembles of late have been, and will continue to be, posted about – this year's very much included!
I'm not spilling the beans as to what I'll be wearing in just eight days time, but I can assure you that it is thoroughly festive and that my younger self would have swooned up a storm at the mere idea of this eerily fun costume!
In terms of themed posts of childhood photos, there aren't many occasions that I have multiple images from different years for beyond two topics that I’ve covered this year (Christmas would be an exception to that statement). You just never when a theme might form organically though and in general, I will certainly continue to look for apt occasions for which to hop in the ol' time machine via the wonder that is photography and share these kinds of charming photos from my childhood with all of you here.
Then, as now, nothing, and I really do mean nothing, gets me more excited on the holiday front like Halloween and even at the age of 31, I know that I'll have a challenging time falling asleep the night before October 31st.
Years may pass, costumes might change, and we certainly grow up, but for those who adore Halloween, the spirit of youthful fun that it is embedded within will always reside in our hearts no matter how old we get. Three giant cheers for that fact!!!