On his song “Diamond Dogs,” from the 1974 album of the same name, David Bowie croons, “That Halloween Jack is a very fantastic cat and he lives on top of Manhattan Chase.” Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke were two of Bowie’s most well-known alter egos, but Halloween Jack also made an appearance during the promotion for “Diamond Dogs,” which is a lesser-known alter personality.
A striking eyepatch that, when combined with the rest of the outfit, gave Bowie’s character a space-age pirate atmosphere that fit well with the musical themes he was exploring at the time was part of the character’s outfit, which preserved some stylistic features of Ziggy. Since he was a young boy, he had been infatuated with the dystopian masterwork “1984” by George Orwell, the post-apocalyptic novel “The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead” (1971) by William Burroughs, in which street gangs reign, and the movie “A Clockwork Orange” by Stanley Kubrick.
According to the book “David Bowie: The Complete Guide” David Bowie had been writing songs for a 1973 theatrical version of “1984,” but the author’s widow, Sonia Orwell, had refused to give Bowie the rights. With no other place to put the work he’d started on the 1984-themed tracks, they found a home in what became the concept album “Diamond Dogs,” which also included themes borrowed from William Burroughs and “A Clockwork Orange.” Bowie later recalled, “They were both strong pieces of work, notably the marauding kid gangs of Burroughs’ Wild Boys with their Bowie knives.
All of this culminated in the creation of the “Diamond Dogs” universe, in which Halloween Jack is the leader of the Diamond Dogs, a teenage gang in Hunger City, a post-apocalyptic setting, according to Nicholas Pegg’s “The Complete David Bowie.” Halloween Jack was Bowie’s alter ego, and his trademark costume emphasized his piratical side.
The Halloween persona of David Bowie Jack didn’t last long, but the character was memorable thanks to his bright red hair, shaved eyebrows, geometric-patterned blouse, cropped wide-legged jeans, platform boots, long scarf tied around his neck, and eyepatch. On February 13, 1974, David Bowie debuted Halloween Jack on the Dutch television program “Top Pop,” singing the album’s lead song, “Rebel Rebel” (per the book “David Bowie All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track”).
The attire for the alter identity was made by Bowie’s friend and former member of one of his early backing bands, Freddie Burretti, but the eye patch wasn’t initially a design feature, according to Fashion United. Vice said it was medically required. Bowie had conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, which can have a number of reasons, including a virus. Symptoms of the infection include a buildup of mucus and an enlargement and reddening of the eye’s white. After his eye recovered, Bowie ditched the eyepatch and Halloween Jack to become the Thin White Duke of the “Young Americans” era, one of several personas he adopted before passing away from cancer at age 69 in 2016 at the age of 69.