Halloween card from the 1910s

Halloween 1910s Style

Today, Halloween is big business, but our Victorian and Edwardian ancestors also enjoyed this ancient holiday.

It was during this time, that it became a holiday for children.

There were a number of regional traditions. Some traditions, such as dances, haven’t survived the test of time.  Still, if you were to take a time machine back to the early 20th century, the holiday would be very similar to today.


Halloween costume ideas in a woman's magazine

Halloween costumes in the early 20th century were homemade

Children and young adults would play tricks on Oct. 30 to celebrate Mischief Night.  Communities became increasingly concerned about safety and held parties to prevent vandalism.  Churches, schools and civic organizations hosted the festivities.

Party games included blow out the candle and bobbing for apples.

Among the affluent, masquerade balls were the first social event after returning to the city from their summer homes.

Jack o’ lanterns were carved and lit with candles. Halloween was considered a rustic holiday, and other decorations were inspired by nature. Common decorations included leaves, cornstalks, tree branches and vegetables.

Some communities also hosted trick or treating.

Halloween Costumes

Costumes were homemade and worn by adults and children.  Patterns and costume ideas appeared in magazines.

Costumes generally followed standard conventions: ghosts, witches, fairies and the like. They also reflected a Victorian fascination with exotic and foreign cultures.

Here are some examples of revelers dressed up in their costumes.

Two girls and a boy pose in their Halloween costumes

Halloween costumes photographed by a professional

Women dressed as witches with a real cat as a prop

Two witches and their very real Halloween prop

Three teens in their Halloween costumes

The girl on the left is a gypsy, the one on the right a witch. It is unclear what the centre girl is.

A group of children in ghost masks

A group of children, perhaps at school, in goblin masks

Six children in Halloween costumes, five are clowns

Five of these six children decided to be clowns for Halloween

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The WWI Trilogy by Melina Druga: Angel of Mercy, Those Left Behind and Adjustment Year

This post is a companion piece to Melina Druga’s WWI Trilogy: Angel of Mercy, Those Left Behind and Adjustment Year.  The trilogy focuses on Hettie and her family as they navigate the challenges and heartbreak World War I brings.

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