Halloween greetings from an older New York City

“The desire of young people to avail themselves of the Halloween idea with its funny and weird traditions has found many methods of expression in this city,” wrote the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1894.

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That year, Halloween parties were held in private homes, then dutifully written up, guest lists and all, in the Eagle.

SadiesmithhalloweenpartySocials featuring dancing and apple-diving, singing, and midnight flute-playing were organized, according to the Eagle.

Halloween fever had swept the city and become a commercialized venture, the holiday’s religious undertones long gone, this 1908 Eagle Halloween ad from Brooklyn department store Loeser’s makes clear—with masks, lanterns, candy, and nuts all on sale.

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Trick or treating and the annual Halloween parade in the Village hadn’t yet become a tradition, of course. But sending Halloween greeting cards seems to have been super popular by the turn of the century.

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These sweetly spooky early 1900s Halloween cards come from the New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery. More cards can be found here.

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6 Responses to “Halloween greetings from an older New York City”

  1. Harriet Says:

    Loved seeing the old Halloween decorations and facts on how it was celebrated way back when. Thanks so much, enjoy getting your emails.

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thank you! There’s so much more, Halloween has an interesting history in NYC.

  3. John Lynch Says:

    Wouldn’t it be a “younger” NYC? Thanks for the psots, keep them coming, I love reading them.

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