On November 5th, 1604, Guy Fawkes was arrested for his role in the Gunpowder Plot—an assassination attempt of King James I by means of explosives in order to restore a Catholic monarchy to England. Fawkes was found beneath the House of Lords guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder and armed with a match. He was arrested, tortured, tried, and hanged shortly thereafter.

Decades after the plot, November 5th became a day of commemoration and celebration in England. Known as Guy Fawkes Night (or Bonfire Night), the holiday is marked with fireworks and the occasional burnt effigy.

The below video, via British Pathé's terrific archives, shows a group of schoolchildren in Kingston preparing to burn a Guy Fawkes effigy (which they have dressed as Mars, the God of War—and denoted as such with a helpful sign) in 1938:


Did they used to make children a whole lot creepier back then? I mean, imagine going to the park to walk your dog and seeing these little weirdos in procession:

No thank you.