Mystery Children in a Tintype Photo – Unusual Clothing, Too!

I’ve been in the mood lately to take new looks at the unidentified people in some of the vintage photos which I’ve inherited. This, I have to say, is one of the most unusual looking photos that I have. It’s a tintype that has no casing.

I would love some help here. I know very young boys used to wear dressed, but this little guy looks a bit old to be in a dress. Plus, the boy next to him is in a top hat. My first (21st century) impression is that they were dressed in costume for Halloween, but that may not be so.

The boys’ cheeks are both lightly colorized with red that doesn’t show up very well in the scan. They look to be perhaps five to seven years old, but I have no idea when this picture was taken since tintypes were actually made for several decades.

Readers – I really, really would love suggestions.

1. What is your best estimate of when this tintype photo was taken?
2. Why are the children dressed as they are?

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