The yearly tradition of celebrating All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween as we know it today, is thought to’ve begun in the 19th century when Scottish and Irish immigrants brought the holiday with them to North America.
Today it’s more than just a harvest themed holiday, it’s a day of wearing costumes, getting your neighbors to give you candy and decorating your house to show you’re the spookiest person on the block. Let’s take a look back and see how Halloween became the holiday we know and love today.
Let's start things off with a Halloween themed publicity still from the 1970 television series Nanny and the Professor. Not sure if the kids were intentionally trying to look creepy, but if so then they've succeeded!
Photo: Johnny Cupcakes
What a cute bunch of bunnies! Or are they bats? Naw, they're cute little bunnies, you can tell by their fluffy little tails. How…adorable?!
Imagine trick-or-treating in 1957 and being greeted at the door by this terrifying goofball...does this count as a trick or a treat?
A whole bunch of folks from the High Point Housing Project in Seattle, Washington celebrated Halloween, 1943 in the community hall. Where are all the men? Possibly off fighting overseas, as this picture was taken in the era of World War II.
“No Hallowe'en Without Jack-o'-Lantern” is the title of this photo from The Book Of Hallowe'en, circa 1919. These guys are so proud of their handiwork that they’re setting their pumpkins on the roof for everyone to see.
Photo: WPA/Wikimedia Commons
The recreation division of the WPA held a Halloween party for pre-schoolers in New Orleans, 1941. Looks like the kid without a hat is the only one not joining in on a rousing game of Raise Your Hand, he’s too busy staring at the camera!
A bunch of kids from Brooklyn all dressed up for a night of costumed fun, with the older kids looking out for their younger siblings. If that little witch on the right doesn’t keep her hands off the adorable little devil in the middle she’s sure to find more than candy in her goodie bag.
Stars of the 1969 television series The Ghost & Mrs. Muir practice their scare tactics on the set. Is the crew prepared to deal with two young monsters-in-training out on a candy fueled rampage?
Trick-or-treaters prepare to scare up some candy on the streets of Denmark, circa 1930. Halloween masks sure looked creepy back then...
Recognize this spooky family? That's right, they're the Munsters, and this 1964 publicity photo showed the whole world that family can be terrifying to behold but still have good times together.
Thankfully this isn't a photo showing a KKK meeting in progress, it’s actually a bunch of people dressed as ghosts attending a fortune-telling/seance party. From The Book Of Hallowe'en, 1919.
Photo: Jordan Smith/Flickr
This snazzy family is getting ready to attend a Halloween party in Central City, Colorado, but where is the party being thrown? And why are they all hanging out in a dirt lot if the party’s in one of those houses visible far behind them? Sinister mysteries abound in the suburbs…
As you can tell by the (lack of) clarity this is one extremely old pic of a decorative Halloween display that appears to double as a way to scare off crows. Maybe they’ve laid this spread out as an offering to the children of the corn?
Photo: Library of Congress/Flickr
Halloween themed cover of the New York Tribune from 1904 which shows a young boy in Alpine (yodeler) costume stealing a kiss from a young prairie girl behind a haystack. Curiously subtitled “When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder in the shock.”
This picture is from a time when Halloween was more for adults than children, around the turn of the 20th century. One thing’s for certain-the guy in the front is having waaaay too much fun!
President Kennedy played host to some cute little trick-or-treaters in the Oval Office on Halloween in 1963. Mr. Kennedy looks like he’s having fun with the youngsters, but does he know that the witch on the left has smuggled in her own black cat?
Young fellers carved up their own jack-o-lanterns way back in 1917. Those little ruffians had better watch their fingers! Remember kiddies-never cut towards yourself…
Little Uncle Sam was in attendance at this epic Victorian era Halloween bash, and the crowd is all smiles…well, maybe they’re waiting for the fun to start?
Photo: Allison Marchant/Flickr
A delightfully cute table full of treats decorated with those Halloween trademarks a jack-o-lantern and black kitty. 1946 was clearly a delicious year to be a Halloweenie!
Here's a bizarre Halloween postcard entitled "Is There A Heaven For Pumpkinheads?" Good thing this postcard came out in 1901, as opposed to after the movie Pumpkinhead came out, or else it would have taken on a much more sinister meaning...
Students from a Seattle elementary school were (treated?) to a visit from firefighter G.F. Sevilles, who shared some lessons on jack-o-lantern fire safety with the kids around Halloween, 1966. I don’t think those kids are very entertained by his safety tips…
An old fashioned hoedown took place to celebrate Halloween 1940. The only problem is-where are all the dancers? They must be outside bobbing for apples.
These silly kiddos are all dressed up for a performance of “The Kitchen Clock”, which was as good the as children’s theater got back in 1918. Sure the floors look clean, but some of those kids look like they could have really use a shower!
An underwater witch wowed the crowds of 1950 at Rainbow Springs, Florida, putting on a Halloween performance they’d never forget. She must have cast a Breathe Underwater spell on herself!
Four devilish fellows sat on the wall, waiting for some Halloween mischief to come their way. Better steer clear of this quartet…
Here's a proper young lady from Fort Lauderdale, Florida who knew how to carve up a jack-o-lantern without making a big ol' mess. Note the fab headband and collared sweater look, which were all the rage back in 1967.
Have you ever laid eyes on a crazier bunch of Halloweenies? These guys are definitely up to no good, I hope the neighborhood is prepared for the storm of tricks coming their way!
Popeye hammed it up for the camera at a Halloween parade in San Francisco’s East Bay Area circa 1969. It must have been mighty hard to keep all those sugar spun little Halloweenies in line!
Photo: Allison Marchant/Flickr
Many smiling grown-ups, and a handful of costumed kids, were in attendance at this Halloween party which took place a long, long time ago. The kids look tired of the whole affair, they’d probably rather be out trick-or-treating!
Photo: Devlin Thompson/Flickr
This disco party sure looks creepy, and thanks to the guy trying to sink his hooks into that poor black cat, and the creepy masked weirdo lurking behind, disco is now dead. The swinging 70s were a real trip, man…
Here’s how the kids at the Los Angeles Orphans’ Home celebrated Halloween in 1937-with a great big ol’ meal and some costumed fun! It kinda looks like the three on the back right are about to put on a show for the hungry guests. Will there be a floor show?
The crowd wore creepy masks, opened their parasols indoors (which is totally bad luck), and patiently posed so the photographer could record the overall creepiness of the affair. No word on whether these (un)lucky travelers were ever seen again…
Photo: Huffington Post
A spooky faced little sister sat guarding the pumpkin patch, with a little help from her friend Jack. Perhaps she’s waiting for a visit from the Great Pumpkin?
It hardly seems proper for a young lady to bob for apples in such an unseemly manner, but according to tradition the first unmarried girl to bite into an apple would be the next to get married. Party games sure were strange back in 1948, and why are so few of the gals in attendance wearing costumes?
Photo: The Scottish Sun
We conclude our trip down memory lane with a Halloween joke- a clown, a gypsy and a wrinkled old Shriner walked into a bar playground. The groundskeeper says “What is this, some kind of joke?” Sometimes the oldies are still the goodies…Happy old fashioned Halloween!
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