Royston Leonard /

By Ben Wheeler

VINTAGE photographs depicting how people celebrated Halloween in days gone by have been brought back to life in colour.

Among the images, which are also from some of the most iconic Halloween films, are a creepy candle-lit ritual scene in which someone dressed as a mythical beast holds a skull in one hand and a new born baby in the other surrounded by a cult-like hooded audience.

Royston Leonard /


Others show a naked woman laid face down surrounded by spooky trinkets whilst being grabbed by a demonic pair of hands.

The images were brought into the 21st century by British electrician, Royston Leonard (55), from Cardiff, South Wales.

“The pictures are a fun look at Halloween from over the last 100-years with a mix of more modern as well as old photos showing the lighter and darker sides of the day,” he said.

Royston Leonard /


“They show that Halloween is not just a modern-day fad and that for years people have enjoyed and celebrated it.

“For most it’s just a bit of fun but for others it is like their New Year’s Eve and very important part of their religion.

“It originates from the Gaelic festival of Samhain which is a very important date in the Pagan calendar as it marks the feast of the dead and many pagans celebrate it as the old Celtic new year.”

Royston Leonard /


Halloween, which is a contraction of All Hallows’ Eve, is now celebrated in numerous countries the world over on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day.

Contrary to popular belief the day’s origins are actually from the United Kingdom and was not popularised in North America until the mass transatlantic immigration of the 19th century.

However, it is the commercial elements that originated in 20th century Canada and USA that have had a significant impact and influence on how the event is now observed across the globe.

Royston Leonard /


Striking images like these are featured in British author Michael D. Carroll’s new book on the colourisation of historical images. For more information visit: