Have you ever looked at old magazines or cookbooks from the 1940s-1970s and thought, oh my god, this is the most unappetizing, weird-looking glop I have ever seen? Like scary fluorescent Jello molds or Spam loaf with marshmallows and pineapple or casseroles that look like some hellish combo of crushed canned tomatoes, creamed corn, macaroni noodles, and beaver meat? Well, it wasn't just food that was bizarre...ever wonder about mid-20th-Century crafting? Wonder no more, for I bring you some of the insane-looking awesomeness that was 1959's "Alcoa's Book Of Decorations." Yes, that's Alcoa aluminum foil, people, in case you have a roll of foil (or hundreds of rolls of foil) and some time to kill. You may click on the photos to view them in larger glory.

Crafter and time-killer Conny von Hagen, seen below, designed and made everything in this book. What a job she had with Alcoa! "Conny travels the country showing children and grown-ups how to make gay, lovely things of foil." Indeed.

Christmastime seems natural for foil crafting, all shiny and stuff, right? Why do Conny's Santa and Three Wise Men look so evil and/or hipster-ish? Why is one of the Wise Men a woman, or a camel? Why is one of them blind? WHY?

Other common celebrations are also rife for foil exploitation, apparently. I can tell you that if this has been MY wedding reception centerpiece, I either would have been thrilled or wept in the bathroom. That the bride has no face and is jammed in a trash bucket is not lost on me.

This mermaid, said the book, was a decoration for an "Under-The Sea" Ball in New Orleans. To me, she looks like a tragic burn victim, but hey.

These are "Conny's Zoo" animals. I can tell you with pretty much certainty that these creations would have given me nightmares as a child. Long-lasting, terrifying nightmares. The elephants in particular look like they are ready to go on a zoo patron rage-stomp.

To conclude, what I feel are Conny's masterpieces: her Alcoa Halloween costumes. The giant foil heads are grotesquely grand and disturbing, but the boy in the Pippi Longstocking foil wig is just the best. Thank you, Conny, wherever you are now, and I hope you didn't get too many foil box cuts.