Halloween Costumes Help Take Destruction Out of Halloween
Despite the efforts of places like Anoka and others who tried to reclaim Halloween from the vandals, the pranks continued. By the mid-1940s, the holiday was synonymous with destruction and vandalism, all under the cover of costumes. Though the wholesome, fun party atmosphere was still in full swing, the property destruction took some glimmer from the celebrations. To combat the rise of Halloween as a night of destruction and expensive property damage, officials and concerned citizens took control of the narrative. They presented Halloween as a costume holiday mainly for children, sanitizing the “scary” out of the festivities. In the 1930s, Trick-or-treating replaced Halloween pranks, shifting the fun of guising from Thanksgiving. Costumes, too, were declared the realm of children; adults, who had enjoyed a dressed-up romp, were no longer encouraged to participate. In the 1930s and 40s, costumes not only became more child-focused, but they became a marketer’s dream.