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October 15, 2022

Man Wearing a Grotesque Mask for Halloween, ca. 1930s

A photo of a man (or possibly a woman) wearing a grotesque mask, overalls, suit jacket, gloves, neckerchief, and straw hat. He’s carrying a cane in one hand and a package wrapped in newspapers in the other.

Could this be a Halloween costume? If so, is he dressed as a farmer? Or do the cane and package suggest a stick-type bindle characteristic of a hobo?

This is a real photo postcard with an AGFA-ANSCO stamp box on the other side, which indicates that it may date to the 1930s or 1940s.

A couple of other details point to a specific locale. First, under magnification, the heading on part of the bundled up newspapers says, “New Era,” so it’s possible that it was the Lancaster New Era, a paper published in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Secondly, a pouch of “Good Bite” chewing tobacco with a fish logo is sticking out of the breast pocket on the man’s suit jacket. The Good Bite brand of chewing tobacco originated in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

(Image © by Alan Mays)


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