“October, the golden month, when Nature having reaped a wonder harvest of beauty, wastes it like a spendthrift for our joy! What hostess can fail of success in entertaining this month when there are autumn leaves, flowers, ‘golden glorious,’ and vines flushing with crimson, to bedeck the table?”
—The Housekeeper, October 1910
For late-October revelers, Halloween has traditionally been filled with surprise. Contemporary readers, though, might be amazed to discover how vastly different this popular holiday was celebrated in America during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Halloween observances staged during the years between late 1870 and early 1930—a period often referred to the holiday’s “Golden Age”—routinely boasted decorations gleaned from nature, clever home-made party favors, winsome (not gruesome) masquerade attire, and intriguing old, old-fashioned games that were often designed to divine the identity of one’s future mate.
Halloween Merrymaking: An Illustrated Celebration of Fun, Food, and Frolics from Halloweens Past offers a fascinating glimpse at material from a vast assortment of the vintage party guides and larger-than-the-size magazines that guided intrepid hostesses in their quests to stage parties worthy of the holiday’s reputation for mystery and fun. Filled with illustrations of vintage photographs and mementos, this book pays splendid tribute to the imaginative festivities of yesteryear.