Friday the 13th has enough scary stuff, so here are some cute photos of kids celebrating Halloween festivities!
This whole post was inspired by this one photo, from the Upshur County Historical Society in Buckhannon, West Virginia. In a collection of thousands of glass plate negatives, this gem appeared. The photographer Fred Brooks was a naturalist working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, so many of the photos in the collection are of diseased trees or insects. But since he had the camera, he also took photos of his children (like this one) and the travels he took around the United States. (I'm pretty sure this is his daughter Dorothy and the photo is from 1920-22.)
"[Halloween] Being the vigil or eve of All Hallow Day, an occasion observed by the Catholic church... Ringing of bells was one of the modes of celebrating Hollow-mas in England in times past.... Nuts, besides being used for divination, are cracked and eaten, and hence, in the north of England All Hallow Eve is often called Nut Crack Night. In this country, especially in the rural districts, the Eve is perverted by the young to mischief-making, such as pulling cabbage heads and pounding them against the dwelling doors of their owners...and indulging in other liberties not actually hurting or wicked." - The Baltimore Sun, November 1, 1861
"Tomorrow night will be Hallowe'en .... It is the night set apart for a universal walking abroad of spirits. Divination is then believed to attain its highest power and the gift of calling spirits 'from the vasty deep' becomes available to all." -The Baltimore Sun, October 30, 1896.
Even in the era of seances and divination, boys were more interested in mischief than magic:
"Small boys in large cities are unimaginative in these days and to them Halloween appeals not by its spells and spirits, but its association with mischievous pranks, such as ringing door-bells, putting 'tick-tacks' upon front windows and indulging in other tricks of like torment."
Apparently the trickery got out of hand in some places:
"Costume parades and bonfires will dot the northwest side Thursday evening as Halloween festivities are held at 22 parks. Civic and service clubs thruout the city have cooperated with the park district in organizing programs at 90 city parts in order to decrease the amount of vandalism and mischief in the various communities."
Come in, the stacks are open.
Away from prying eyes, damaging light, and pilfering hands, the most special collections are kept in closed stacks. You need an appointment to view the objects, letters, and books that open a door to the past.