Halloween in Missouri has a rather unique history. Archived newspapers from post-Civil War Missouri say it began originally with ties to the Christian observations of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
Sean Rost, Assistant Director of Research at the State Historical Society of Missouri.
“The connection of Halloween, not so much as a day that kind of looks at elements of ghosts and ghouls and demons and witches and things like that, but more so in the sense of the fact that, especially All Souls’ Day was a day to remember the souls of departed ancestors and departed loved ones,” Rost said.
He told Missourinet that trick-or-treating and dressing up in costumes didn’t come around until the early-to-mid 20th century with “how to” ideas found in newspaper clippings.
“You see kind of early iterations of costumes,” Rost said. “Starting with one I saw from the early 1900s, which was a party that required all attendants to put a, basically a pillow sheet or a blanket over them and arrive at the party. Once they arrived, they had to tell a ghost story.”
Rost added that there was one big concern Missourians had in the early 20th century.
“Interestingly enough…(it) was not so much the treat aspect of it, which is, you know, finding candy and other items to give to individuals who visit their door, but more so the trick element, or the pranking,” he said. “Some people called it devil’s night.”
Or, more specifically, what Rost called acts of ‘small’ vandalism, such as toilet papering, (or TP-ing), or throwing eggs at a house.
Copyright 2023, Missourinet.