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America Welcomes Halloween

Cătălina Cîrnațu, 10D


The roots of modern Halloween as we know it started to grow in North America. Colonial New England's strict Protestant religious beliefs severely restricted the Halloween festivities. In Maryland and the southern colonies, Halloween was considerably more common. A uniquely American interpretation of Halloween started to take shape when the beliefs and traditions of various European ethnic groups and American Indians converged. The first harvest festivities were "play parties," which were open-air gatherings. Neighbours would sing and dance while exchanging ghost stories and fortunes.



In the late 1800s, there was a movement in America to change Halloween from a celebration of ghosts, tricks, and witchcraft to one that was more about neighbourhood and community gatherings. Halloween parties for both kids and adults were the most popular way to commemorate the holiday at the turn of the century. Parties with games, seasonal delicacies, and festive attire were all included in the celebration.


Newspapers and local authorities were urged by parents to remove anything "scary" or "grotesque" from Halloween celebrations. By the start of the twentieth century, Halloween had mostly lost its superstitious and religious connotations as a result of these efforts.



Halloween Parties

By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had evolved into a secular but neighbourhood-focused celebration, with parades and Halloween parties serving as the main attractions. Vandalism started to affect some events in many areas at this time, despite the best efforts of many schools and towns to keep them under control.



By the 1950s, local officials had successfully reduced vandalism, and Halloween had changed into a celebration mostly for kids. The birth boom of the 1950s produced a large number of small children, thus celebrations migrated from town municipal buildings to classrooms and homes where they could be accommodated more readily.


Trick-or-treating, a centuries-old custom, was also revived between 1920 and 1950. Trick-or-treating was a relatively cheap way for an entire neighbourhood to participate in the Halloween holiday. Families theoretically stop tricks from being played on them by giving the neighbourhood kids little presents.


A fresh American custom was therefore established, and it has since flourished. With an estimated $6 billion in annual spending, Halloween is now the second-largest commercial holiday in the United States, behind Christmas.



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