When the early settlers from European immigrated to America, they brought along their various Halloween customs and traditions. Halloween in colonial times was limited in the second half of the 19th Century. Some of the new immigrants coming to America included millions people from Ireland fleeing the devastating potato famine of 1846. These Irish immigrants helped popularize the celebration of Halloween. The early Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money. This practice we know today as “trick-or-treat”.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Halloween parties for children as well as adults became a common way to celebrate Halloween. Indicative of the Halloween parties was the celebration of the season with games, foods of the season, and many festive costumes. By the 1920’s and 1930’s, Halloween had become a secular, community-oriented holiday complete with parades, parties and entertainment.
By the 1950’s, Halloween had evolved primarily as a holiday for the young. The large number of baby boomers in the late 40’s and early 50’s caused a huge demand for Halloween parties to be held in the home, in schools and even the office place.
Today, it is estimated that Americans spend an over $6 billion dollars annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday in America.
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