Vintage: Halloween in the 1930s-1960s

Vintage: Halloween in the 1930s-1960s


By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague Halloween celebrations in many communities during this time. By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday.

07 Oct 1930, Golf, Illinois, USA — Little Alice and Dorothy Horitz believe in selecting their pumpkins for Halloween, they are here out in the corn field carving their pumpkins. — Image by © Underwood & Underwood/CORBIS

A group of children wearing Halloween costumes wait in a trick-or-treat line to receive apples from an officer at a police precinct, circa 1960. (American Stock / Getty Images)

A group of children wearing Halloween costumes wait in a trick-or-treat line to receive apples from an officer at a police precinct, circa 1960. (American Stock / Getty Images)

Elementary school children at the Halloween festival in Anaheim, Calif., in October 1962. (AP)

Elementary school children at the Halloween festival in Anaheim, Calif., in October 1962. (AP)

Pictured here is the Halloween festival in Anaheim, Calif., Oct. 20, 1962. Nearly everyone turns out to watch the parade, and thousands are on hand to watch the show that launches it at the Palma Stadium. Another 7,000 or more school children take part in a youngsters’ parade and there is breakfast for 2,000 costumed citizens. (AP Photo)

Youngsters parade through Central Park in New York dressed in their Halloween costumers when the city arranged a party for the kids Oct. 30, 1966. Some 20,000 kids attended the party in the Park. (AP Photo/Jacob Harris)

A group of children in Halloween outfits, Milwaukee, Wisc., circa 1930s. (Everett Collection)

A group of children in Halloween outfits, Milwaukee, Wisc., circa 1930s. (Everett Collection)

A young boy and girl crouch and bob for apples on Halloween, with an illuminated Jack-O-Lantern behind them, circa 1935. (Photo by Lionel Green/Getty Images)

circa 1940: From left to right, Elizabeth Bianco, Barbara Lee, Anthony Dimino and Theresa Imbronone join in the fun at a Halloween party in New York City. The party was organised for members of Tots’ Town, a day care facility at the Children’s Aid Society’s James Center. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Boy Wearing Knight Costume — Image by © Michael Martin/Corbis


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