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Halloween 100 Years Ago

Are you excited for Halloween? Halloween is that great time of the year where children and adults put on their best or scariest costumes and indulge in an abundance of sweet treats. Homes are decorated in faux cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns are carved, and apples are ready to be bobbed. Halloween parties are held all around filled with fun and games throughout the night, while other folks are up to some playful mischief with Halloween pranks or “tricks.”

Do you know how your ancestors’ celebrated Halloween? Newspapers are a great source to get a better understanding of life in the past. Here’s a look back at how Halloween was celebrated 100 years ago:

Stocked stores:

Stores were stocked with all the Halloween supplies needed for a fun home celebration. Below is an ad for Paul Grocery Company with all the essentials you need for Halloween treats: Duffs’ Molasses, Karo Syrup, English Walnut Meats and more. And don’t forget about their fresh canned pumpkins for Halloween pumpkin pies and a limited supply of pumpkins to make Halloween Faces.

Halloween 100 Years Ago

The Washington Reporter, October 29, 1918 / MyHeritage SuperSearch

While over at Kaufmann’s, known as the “The Big Store,” shoppers will find a large assortment of Halloween decorations, candies, costumes, and party favors throughout several floors of the store.

Halloween 100 Years Ago

The Gazette Times, October 10, 1918 / MyHeritage SuperSearch


In addition to traditional pumpkin pies and molasses cookies, a suggested dish to serve at Halloween parties was a Halloween salad. The “salad” is made up of red apples, celery bits, white grapes, pineapple, chopped nut-meats, and marshmallows all covered with a mayonnaise dressing.

Halloween 100 Years Ago

The Toledo News-Bee, October 15, 1918 / MyHeritage SuperSearch

Halloween parties with dancing and Halloween games were enjoyed by many. Some announcements even included a list of guests in attendance!

Halloween 100 Years Ago

The Sunday Morning Star, October 27, 1918 / MyHeritage SuperSearch

Halloween pranks:

Witches and goblins, devils and mischief making youthsters paraded the streets, rang door bells, unhung gates, hung tick-tacks, and peaked into windows with faces distorted with charcoal.

Halloween 100 Years Ago

Evening Tribune, November 1, 1918 / MyHeritage SuperSearch

Parade canceled:

Meanwhile, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the decision was made to cancel the annual Halloween parade to prevent the spread of disease. Although the influenza outbreak was abating in the area, the organizer of the parade decided to forgo the celebration because of the danger of children gathering in crowds.

Halloween 100 Years Ago

Gettysburg Times, October 28, 1918 / MyHeritage SuperSearch

In general, Halloween celebrations in 1918 were more subdued in some areas than previous years due to the 1918 influenza pandemic that swept through the nation.

Halloween 100 Years Ago

Evening Tribune, November 1, 1918 / MyHeritage SuperSearch

How did you celebrate Halloween growing up?


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