Why Outhouse Doors Have Crescent Moon Cutouts

Why Do Outhouses Have a Crescent Moon on the Door

In a lavatorial video essay, Today I Found Out, host Simon Whistler explains the long-running trope about the crescent moon cutouts that adorn every outhouse door depicted in cartoons and media, but were far less prevalent in reality. The truth is, the specific design has nebulous origins at best.

So who came up with the crescent moon trope and why? Well, this isn’t clear. …as for the first known actual instances of the crescent moon cutout on outhouses, as alluded to, these wouldn’t start showing up until around the mid-20th century, first in cartoons and comics.

Whistler goes onto explain his own theory about the crescent moon adornments and mooning. This then takes him into the story of the deadliest fart in history.

For that, let us offer our own little hypothesis. While nobody knows for sure because the crescent moon trope seems to have originated not on real outhouses, but rather in various comics and other humor based media around the mid-20th century in the United States, perhaps it may have been referencing the practice of dropping your drawers hanging your butt over something- aka mooning someone. …So, yes, the first known mooning in recorded history apparently not only included a fart in the general direction of someone but resulted in a riot and the death of reportedly over ten thousand people… From this fact, we’re going to go ahead and crown this the deadliest fart in history and we challenge everyone to come up with one to beat it…

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.