Central Park’s Halloween carnival, 1936

As advertised on this nifty poster, designed and printed by the Works Progress Administration. 

I couldn’t find anything on the skating carnival slated for October 31st. But a New York Times blurb that ran in the October 30th edition of the paper advertised a Halloween costume contest on the Mall, to be held that night.


“Prizes will be awarded for the funniest boy’s costume, prettiest girl’s costume, most unusual costumes and the most appropriate costumes,” the item reads.

Strange that they don’t mention scariest costume. Sounds like the city was trying to provide some wholesome fun for kids who would otherwise be tempted to pull the usual pranks and mischief that make Halloween such a thrilling holiday when you’re young.

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7 Responses to “Central Park’s Halloween carnival, 1936”

  1. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    I wonder what does “most appropriate costume” mean? Did they have risque dressers back then? And 1936 was pre-War with lots of floozies high-steppin’ it… The imagination boggles…

    • petey Says:

      “Did they have risque dressers back then?”
      i’ve seen movies from the 30s with women in basically transparent outfits for party wear. bit cold for that tho’ in october?

      great poster, quite modern looking.

  2. James Says:

    Great poster!

  3. wildnewyork Says:

    It is great, very 1930s. And strangely un-Halloween. It’s like the artist was told to stay away from anything orange and black.

    • PizzaBagel Says:

      Even the pumpkin-head — note the stem on top — is not orange but brown. And what’s with what I assume is a carrot nose? It’s as if the artist was looking forward to the next season and crossed the pumpkin man with a snowman. But I love it! Another neat find, Wildnewyork! Thanks!

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks Pizza. Those WPA artists were very subversive y’know!

  5. A Halloween carnival in Central Park in 1936 « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] it looks like the carnival is geared toward adults, this poster for the same Halloween event clearly has kids in mind. I’d love to know what the prizes […]

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