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April 25th, 2007

Halloween in April

I just paid a small fortune to acquire a 1915 Halloween book.

I'm utterly thrilled by this find, because the 1910s and 1920s are something of a blank spot in the American history of Halloween, falling between the quaint Victorian parties of the late-19th century and the pranking and trick-or-treating of the mid-20th century. I was actually somewhat surprised to recently discover a reference to children parading about in Halloween costumes in a 1929 diary from Southern California (there was, of course, no suggestion of trick-or-treating). Postcards from the late '10s have led me to believe that Halloween costuming in America first took place in that decade, so we'll see if my new gem confirms my suspicion.

In another life I obviously have a master's degree in Folklore and am a stodgy old academic with grizzled silver hair and an office full of bulky folklore indices.