Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Fashion Icon

Halloween, 1962: What exactly are we looking at here? A phantom? The Grim Reaper? The Cuban Missile Crises had ended just a few days earlier, so maybe it's some kind of radiation suit, one that comes in basic black. Actually, it's none of those things. According to multiple sources, it's someone dressed as a...

 ...garment bag. You know what a garment bag is. It has a zipper and a hanger, and when you go traveling, it's what you might put a suit or nice dress in so it's less likely to get dirty or wrinkled. I don't know if it works all that well when there's a human being inside, but it's this particular individual's Halloween costume. If nothing else, it's original.

Or maybe not so original, because in this color picture, someone else decided to dress up as a garment bag, though this one was red. The two children in-between the garment bags have relatively more conventional Halloween costumes. The little boy appears to be a skeleton, and the little girl a witch. Anything else to say about this picture? Well, it's a very elegant-looking bedroom.

 Here they are again in the, room? Dining room, maybe? With all that fancy furniture, it's certainly not a rec room.

 Here they are walking down what appears to be a rather large hallway, or a humongous foyer. Look at those big windows. I bet it takes a lot of Windex keeping them clean.

OK, I've kept you in suspense long enough. Let me tell you who these folks are. I'll start with the red garment bag:

It's Jean Kennedy Smith, sister of...

...the then-President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. And the black garment bag? According to multiple sources (including the JFK Library) it's...

...none other than First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (I wonder if Oleg Cassini designed her costume.)

As for the two children, the little boy skeleton is Steve Smith Jr., Jean's son, and the little girl witch is Carolyn, the President's and First Lady's daughter. Carolyn's brother John-John may have been too young for Halloween at that point.

However, a year later (again, according to the JFK library), John-John did indeed get into the act (looks like some recycled costuming here.)

It's nice to know Jack and Jackie weren't above having a little fun during their short stay at the White House, but the joke may have been on them, because all these years later...

...they've become Halloween costumes themselves.


  1. Wow! I can’t believe I’d never seen these photos before. Garment bag may not be the most exciting of costumes, though.

    1. Mitchell, the best theory I've come across as to why Jackie Kennedy chose that for a costume is that she wanted to send up her reputation as one of the best-dressed women in America, and her sister-in-law went along with the joke.

      That JFK would have a wife with a sense of humor should come as no surprise to anyone's who ever seen a film clip of his press conferences.

  2. Hi, Kirk!

    I never would have guessed the identities of the people in those costumes. How do I know you aren't just making it up? :) Every time I see pictures of JFK and Jackie, especially with their young children, it makes me sad knowing what was soon to come, one of the many dark days in our nation's history. Unfortunately dark days are the new normal in today's America.

    Thanks, good buddy, and happy Halloween to you!

    1. Shady, were I to make it up, I would have had Jackie and Jean dress up like Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble.

      Seriously, though, would JFK had posed with two STRANGERS dressed as garment bags?

      As for the new normal, people with the last name Kennedy don't seem to run for office much anymore, so if we want someone to get us through these dark times, we'll have to look elsewhere. Just not reality TV.

    2. I wonder if Jeff Probst is a Democrat.

    3. Shady, I don't know if Probst is one or not, but his one-time producer Mark Burnett also created and produced The Apprentice starring you-know-who.

  3. How did you find this out. Do you live in the Library ?

    Happy Halloween.
    cheers, parsnip and badger

    1. parsnip, I just like to collect odd facts about famous people. I think it humanizes them.

  4. Replies
    1. Adam, I thought of that until I remembered they were Catholics.