(CNN) -- A black-and-white photo from the early 1900s shows a woman in rural America, her face covered with a sinister white mask. In another, from 1930, a tall figure stands in a field tightly wrapped in what looks like a white sheet and black tape, while a 1938 image shows three people driving to a party in hair-raising skull masks.
Halloween costumes from the first half of the 20th century were terrifying. Drawing on the holiday's pagan and Christian roots -- as a night to ward off evil spirits or reconcile with death, respectively -- people often opted for more morbid, serious costumes than the pop culture-inspired ones of today, according to Lesley Bannatyne, an author who has written extensively about the history of Halloween.
"Before it evolved into the family-friendly, party occasion we know it as, October 31 was deeply linked to ghosts and superstitions," she said in a phone interview. "It was seen as a day 'outside of normal,' when you act outside of society's norms.
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