Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Hodgepodge

By Susan J Berger

October 28th calls for a Halloween post. I thought I would start with a little history.

 I Googled History: when did dressing in costume to trick or treat begin?  I got a number of vague and confusing answers. I left Wikipedia for last and I like it best. At least Wikipedia had footnotes. Although there are mentions of Halloween trick or treating and costumes as early as 1906, our modern trick or treating began after sugar rationing ended in World War II. This next bit is straight from Wikipedia

Early national attention to trick-or-treating was given in October 1947 issues of the children's magazines Jack and Jill and Children's Activities, and by Halloween episodes of the network radio programs The Baby Snooks Show in 1946 and The Jack Benny Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948.[23] Trick-or-treating was depicted in the Peanuts comic strip in 1951.[24] The custom had become firmly established in popular culture by 1952, when Walt Disney portrayed it in the cartoon Trick or Treat, and Ozzie and Harriet were besieged by trick-or-treaters on an episode of their television show.[25] In 1953 UNICEF first conducted a national campaign for children to raise funds for the charity while trick-or-treating.[26]
Susan as Witch for the 4th time 1953
I know my brother and I were trick or treating in the early 1950's. He got to be Superman. I mostly remember being a witch and dreaming of being Cinderella. But I had been a witch in several school plays and no one spent a lot of money on costumes in my neighborhood. My Cinderella dreams remain just that. When I moved to Connecticut in 1956, my neighbors mom sewed awesome costumes. Simplicity or McCall's had lots of costume patterns ad she was a wonderful seamstress. I, however was still a witch. So here's my two year old son James' first costume.                                                                                           
James Barry Corbin Age 2

Later on I got more creative.
James and Christopher 1985

Costumes for sale have become more and more elaborate. There are whole stores devoted to costumes and decorations. I have to say that, as a child I would have sold my brother for the kind of princess costumes that are available now.  
Halloween has gone big time. Not just here in Hollywood, but everywhere.
I spotted this decoration in the window of a Halloween store in New York.

Yes, Zombies are big time. My neighborhood sports several ghoulish graveyards. 

My next internet stop was Amazon for Halloween books for kids. I thought I would do a simple "best of" list. Amazon lists 6,346 results. I linked you so you could look for yourself.

I reworded to Best Kids Halloween Books. That cut the list to 517. I know I have not read them all.

I scrolled through the list and realized Amazon included in the list many non Halloween books.

I hope you scroll through the lists and find a few you like. I found these.

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds

In the Haunted House by Eve Bunting

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Do you have a favorite Halloween book, or costume?
Sorry about the weird spacing, but my computer is haunted. 
Happy Halloween.


  1. So interesting how Halloween started. I had no idea about that.

  2. Me neither, Natalie. I got curious and looked it up.

  3. Very interesting. I don't remember celebrating Halloween in Wales and now it's one of my favorite celebrations.

    1. I know they didn't celebrate it when I lived in England. Only Guy Fawkes Day

  4. In 1946 my mother made me a Little Bo Peep costume, which I used for trick or treating that year and the following one. I guess you can tell I'm old.

    1. How coll that your mom sewed. I wish mine had. I bet you looked adorable.

  5. Hi Sue, I was a witch, too (& an Indian, gypsy, black cat, clown, hick) . My favorite costume was Glinda the Good Witch to my daughter's Dorothy! She's also been a diva, 50's pink poodle skirt girl, princess, ladybug, dalmation, Daisy Duke, Hobo, and Hermine, One of my favorite Halloween books is "Shake Dem Halloween Bones" by W. Nikola-Lisa and Mike Reed.

    1. Glinda the Good Witch.! Love it/ Wish I thought of that. I will have to try Shake Dem Bones

  6. I grew up in South Africa, where we didn't do it. I remember watching American TV and being so jealous. When we first moved to Canada, I went all out. Luckily I could use the excuse of my girls. I'm still using it

    1. When I lived in Capetown, there was no TV to watch (1954-1956). Also No Halloween. But so many other good things.

  7. My mom was pretty good at making costumes. I was a red crayon one year and a spider another year (there were three dangling arms beneath each of my arms that werebattached by fishing wire so they moved with my arms). I was also a candy saver. My halloween candy would last almost to the next Halloween : )
    Kids Math Teacher

    1. I love your mom's ideas. My candy nevered made it more than a week.


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