Studio Witch, ca. 1915
The above Halloween photo is a “Real Photo Postcard” taken by a professional photographer, with props and a backdrops. It is a “postcard” only because the back is divided, arranged for an address and a message, with a square for the stamp; and it has the statement “Copies of this photo may be had by quoting number on the front” printed on it. (Actually, the number “638” is not on the front, but on the back). But photographers could buy photo-developing paper with this postcard information pre-printed on it, so the fact that the photo has a postcard backing doesn’t mean it was ever a real postcard which was sold commercially. In fact, it is far more likely that this was the only copy ever printed, just like any other photo.
As for the date, it must be after 1908, when divided postcards became common, and before ca. 1920, when commercial costumes became so common and cheap that few people would get a professional photo taken in a hat or dress they made themselves. The fact that the hat and dress is clearly homemade, that the subject of the photo is in their own costume, suggests that the photo was taken on Halloween, on the day, or in the evening, when the subject was dressed up to go trick-or-treating, or to go to a party, etc. This would also explain the combination of home-made elements and profession props, the photographer was well-prepared for the 31st! (Another possibility is that the photo is of a character in an amateur theatre production, but the hat appears to be just a little bit too festive and amateur for the theatre.)
As for the bewitching individual in the photo, all I can say is that her delightful figure suggests that she is a fit subject for this blog: a sexy witch indeed! (She is also mistress of snakes. And that hand-signal shows that she is the devil’s minion, although she is using the wrong hand. What can I say, but “Be still my beating Heart“!)