More Halloween History from JFK to Halloween Capital

Halloween History Across American

Halloween, as we know it today, was created by a blending of the world’s cultures and religions in America.  Various contributions to our modern tradition can be found in Roman, Irish, Celtic, English, Scottish, and Native American history.  I thought it might be fun to take a look at Halloween in America as we countdown on our fall things to do journey.

Video on Fun Things You Probably Did Not Know About Halloween

What has happened in history on Halloween October 31?
Over the years a lot of history has happened on October 31.  As day 304 you could expect that many people celebrate their own birthday on that date.  In 1864, Nevada was admitted to the union as the 36th state.  The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Doyle was first published.  The famous magician Harry Houdini died in 1926.  America enters the nuclear age when in 1952 the first thermonuclear bomb was detonated in the Marshall Islands.  In 1963, at a Holiday on Ice event, an explosion ripped through the Indiana State Fair Coliseum killing 74 people.  United Nations recognized the world population at 7 billion on October 31, 2011.

Presidents Celebrate Halloween At The White House
Halloween at the White House

I found a wonderful website called History By Zim.  I have put their article Halloween in the White House on our Funtober Favorite page.  You can find the above picture of President Kennedy and also pictures of Maime Eisenhower, Tricia Nixon, Betty Ford, Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton, George Bush (senior and junior), and President and Mrs. Obama all holding holiday events at the White House.  It is a wonderful and unique look at Halloween over the years since World War II.

Halloween Trick or Treat
It is hard to believe but the first instance of trick or treating was written about in 1934 in a rather obscure Portland, Oregon newspaper.  Since that time it has become an essential part of the Halloween tradition.  Of course over the ages the practice of offering something to the spirit world to avoid evil was a recognized practice in many cultures.  It just was not called trick or treat.  It stuck as an American custom in the 20th century.

What City is the Halloween Capital of the World?
Actually two American cities claim the distinction as the Halloween Capital of the World.  Salem, Massachusetts and their connection with the witch trials lays claim to the title.  Also Anoka, Minnesota claims the title because in 1920 it was the first city to officially hold a Halloween celebration.  Since, it has held a large celebration every year except for the war years.  Both cities go all out with official city Halloween events each year.

More Information on White House Halloweens
I found an interesting article by Tevi Troy in Politico.  The article Halloween at the White House talks about Jackie Kennedy dressed in costume trick or treating in Georgetown.  Lyndon Johnson wore a red and white costume emblazoned with the words “Super President”.  Gerald Ford’s political mishap dubbed Halloween Massacre.  Also the secret White House Alice in Wonderland costume party given by Johnny Depp and Tim Burton for the Obama family.  Read about these and more in Mr. Troy’s article.

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