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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.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 29th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
It sounds like a nifty book. When did trick-or-treating take hold in the U.S.?
Apr. 29th, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
Trick or treat is actually pretty recent - basically the 1940s, starting in the eastern part of the U.S. and then spreading across to the west coast in the early '50s. The first printed reference to it is in a 1939 magazine article, whereas one very popular Halloween book from 1945 makes no reference to it.

Strange, isn't it? It seems like one of those things that's been around forever!

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )