23 Nov History Trivia: When Thanksgiving was basically Halloween
To some of us, Halloween is that one scary night of 31st October when ghostly clowns roam around, making eerie sounds and scaring the heck out of those who dare to meet them. Masked superhero kids wander door-to-door asking for candies and adults dress up for carnival parties. Basically, it is a night never to forget and never complete without a proper mask, fancy dress, bling or a wizard hat!
But it is surprising that less than a century ago, Halloween was nothing like we know today. Forget about the spooky costumes, candies, and witch-inspired foods or even the Charlie Brown cartoon special. Back then, it was more Irish than St. Patrick’s Day and the Celts trusted the ghosts roamed the earth during the night of this holiday.
Halloween was Thanksgiving?
Bizarrely though, Halloween was Thanksgiving, and the detour emanated from New England when poor Massachusetts residents chose to turn the course of this (in)famous festival altogether. They would knock on doors on the eve of the holiday to beg for “Something” for Thanksgiving. Slowly, the trend gained traction and kids from well-to-do families started copying the norm as a lame joke and dressed in tatters, they would go around asking for the same.
Of course, everything changed when the costumes changed to reflect the tattered, scary pieces. Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a holiday and towns in Juneau, Alaska, and Tampa, Florida marked it with charade balls. Later, a Tombstone Prospector liked the 1890 costume prize winning gold mining-inspired gown.
With the trend spreading like a bush fire, New York started a regal annual parade to celebrate both the Thanksgiving and the British evacuating their city. Immigrants hoaxed the stuffy, uniformed military using their own procession. Soon, working-class masses joined in, blowing horns and beating drums.
Costumes, Props and decorations like those in Parties Online
Together, they called themselves Fantasticals, and with their garish, clowns-like outfit like those in our awesome range, they changed the way Thanksgiving would be celebrated henceforth. Businesses realized the new movement, and it marked the start of stores hawking nightmare-inducing paper-mâché costumes, masks and other paraphernalia.
Later, kids would throng the streets for Thanksgiving morning, with chimes and doorbells and ask for “Anything for Thanksgiving.” Of course, the trendy saggy, tattered clothes and darkened faces had taken root. And by the 1900s, it was known as the Ragamuffin Day.
Fantasticals were replaced by the “Thanksgiving maskers” in the 20th century, though no everyone delighted with it. After several complaints that include The New York Time in 1903 and Sons of Daniel Boone hand-book in 1909, the trend of dressing like a beggar and asking for a cent still prevailed. Not even the Sadistic New Yorkers with the stove-heated “red pennies” and sarcastic laughter could discourage the trend.
Then came the infamous Great Depression that emptied every wallet. With no pennies to spare, Thanksgiving finally reverted to somber, family-oriented holiday. The 1950s marked the start of trick-or-treating gimmicks, though in a less sacred way called Halloween.