Hope you survived the visits from the ghouls, goblins, cowboys and princesses! With Halloween this week I started wondering about when/if celebrating Halloween was anything that our ancestors did? This week let’s look at the holiday and think about ways to incorporate this holiday into your stories.
It finally occurred to me to ask my family if they celebrated Halloween when they were little—the costumes, candies and trick or treating. And the answer was “no”. They didn’t remember doing anything like that or having trick or treaters come to their farmhouse. Did it make a difference that they were in the country? Did town dwellers trick or treat? My relatives did remember plenty of tricks being played in the neighborhood…outhouses tipped over, machinery moved, or other likeminded pranks. They didn’t fess up if they were responsible for any of the tricks. <grin>
Growing up I remember my parents driving me to the grandparents and a few relatives with my stylish ghost (old sheet with eyes holes) costume. And returning home with a full bag of candy. How about you? Have you asked your Aunts, Uncles, cousins about their Halloween? What about those pioneers? I’m not sure that our pioneer ancestors celebrated Halloween but there is documentation that celebrating Halloween was celebrated in the 1800s in some areas of the United States. I think that Halloween gained traction in the Midwest in the mid-1900s based on family tales.
Here are some interesting articles about the history of this holiday.
The History Channel has an article about all things Halloween.
Encyclopaedia Britannica editors have provided a thorough history of Halloween and its origins.
Here is American Heritage’s article on Halloween.
Even the Pioneer Woman site has a list of interesting facts about Halloween.
Whether or not your family participates in holidays like Halloween, you might want to talk with your family about the holidays that you do enjoy together. What traditions and special foods do you or older family members remember? All these little details will help you add interest and layers to your family story. Perhaps you want to write down memories to share with your children and grandchildren about this holiday? Have Spooktacular day!
“A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween.”
– Erma Bombeck
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.